George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General William Maxwell, 19 September 1778

From Brigadier General William Maxwell

Elizth Town [N.J.] 19th Sepr 1778


I have Your Excellencys Orders from Coll Harrison to try to inform you what the 29 Sail of Vessels were that Major Howell mentions1 I understood they were all Victualers or chiefly so as far as he knew that many of them was armed Victualers 6 or 7 of them was from Cork & the rest from England. The report of a party making ready to Imbarque still prevails some says they are going to Boston others says to the West Indias & some says to both. A Counsil of Genl Officers was holding Yesterday in New York—I hope to have some tolerable Accts from that quarter by to morrow Morning.

Coll Harrison Informs Me that Your Excellency has approved of the Proceedings of the Court Martial I sent You Concerning Capt. Burrows and Capt. Mitchel2 I should be glad to have the particulars of the approbation if they differ from the Court Martial and if they don’t I emajin I cannot send for any Intiligence that way in future. I am Your Excellencys Most Obedient Hum. Servant

Wm Maxwell

I find there is 300 Men stationed at Hackinsack or near it, that I know nothing of before, which makes things have a better face to me now than when I wrote to Your Excellency on that Head.3



1Robert Hanson Harrison wrote Maxwell on 17 Sept. from a location “2 Miles below Croton Bridge” that “His Excellency received this morning your favor of the 14th Instant. He wishes you had informed him with precision, Whether the 29 Sail mentioned to have arrived by Major Howell, were Ships of War & of what size. At present His Excellency is in some doubt what interpretation to give the passage, whether to consider the Ships as Vessels of War or Transports. It is a point so very interesting that he hopes you will inform him concerning the same as expeditiously as you can” (ADfS, DLC:GW).

2Harrison wrote in the second paragraph of his letter to Maxwell of 17 Sept.: “I have it also in charge to inform you, that His Excellency has approved the sentences of the Courts Martial in the cases of Captns Burrows & [ ], of your Brigade, tried for disobedience of Orders, and which you transmitted a few days ago to Head Qrs. The proceedings & the Orderly Book are with the Adjutt General, who is not with us, and I can not recollect both of the Captains names; and perhaps I may be mistaken in the One I have mentioned. However you will know who they are from the nature of the charges, especially when I add that they arose from the Stopping of Boats. The Officers are released from their Arrest and to join their Regiments” (ADfS, DLC:GW). For the courts-martial of these two officers, see Maxwell to GW, 12 Sept., and General Orders, 14 September.

3Maxwell is referring to his letter to GW of 17 September.

Index Entries