George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Charles Stewart, 28 September 1778

From Charles Stewart

King’s Ferry [N.Y.] 28 Sept. 1778 10 OClock a.m.


This moment, Judge Herring, whose residence is near Tappaan, came here, on his flight nortward, and says, that the principal part, of the Light Horse, under Col. Baylor, and The Militia, who were advanced, near Orange Town, have been surrounded, and cutt of[f] or taken; That a Body of the Enemy, Landed at Dobbs Ferry, last evening and that they, are beyond doubt, by this time, at Clarks Town. Coll Spencer, is now on his March, about a mile from hence, towards Kekeyate, and seems at a loss, how to advance, and at the same time, keep clear, of their Main Body, which may probably, be advanced, as far as Kakeyate meeting House, before he passes that place.1 The Stores at this place, will all be loaded, and sent up the River, this day. And I shall endeavour, by going back, along the road to Morris Town, as fast as I can ride, to prevent the Waggons, now on that way, from falling into their hands, and turn them through Smiths Clove, so as that the supplys may come on to the Army. If I hear at Kakeate, a more particular account, of the Movements of the enemy, I shall take the liberty, of transmitting it to Your Excellency. Mr Herring is a man, of reputed Veracity, and has formerly been, a Member of Congress, His fair character, induces Me, to give great Credit, to his report.2 I am with the greatest respect, Your Excellency’s most Obedient humble Servant

Chas Stewart C.G.Is.

p.s. I was yesterday at Newborough On my way to Camp3 & heard there a report of the Enemys being as far as the new Bridge I thought it prudent to come this far & have the stores on hand sent off directly and hope my going back as far as the Forks of the Roads leading to King’s Ferry & New Windser may answer a good purpose.

ALS, DLC:GW. Stewart wrote and signed the following note on the addressed cover: “The Q.M. at the Continental Village will please to furnish Edward Wills The express with a fresh Horse. Chas Stewart C.G.Is.”

1For other accounts of the devastating British attack on Col. George Baylor’s 3d Continental Light Dragoon Regiment earlier on this date near Old Tappan, N.J., see Israel Putnam to GW, this date, and note 1 to that document; Otho Holland Williams to GW, this date; and Baylor to GW, 19 Oct., and note 1 to that document. The Orange County, N.Y., militia under the command of Lt. Col. Gilbert Cooper in the vicinity of Tappan, N.Y., however, escaped with few losses after being warned of the approaching British columns by two British deserters (see Israel Putnam to GW, 29 Sept., and notes 1 and 2 to that document). The British detachment that had crossed the Hudson River from the Philipse house the previous night and had landed about two miles east of Tappan, N.Y., consisted of the 71st Regiment and the Queen’s Rangers and was commanded by Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell. That detachment, British officer Archibald Robertson says in his diary entry for this date, “were a little too late in Landing behind the Village [Tappan]. They return’d back to their Camp” (Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends , 183). However, British major John André says in his journal that after surprising Baylor’s regiment near Old Tappan, N.J., Gen. Charles Grey’s column “proceeded to the Cackiat [Kakiat] Road, where it turned to the right and crossing the Hackensack at Perry’s Mills, came to Tappan. The Light Infantry on approaching the village had been detached to the left, in order to surround any body of the Enemy which might be there. They had, however, to the number of 200, escaped an hour or two before and the Troops could only kill or secure a few fugitives of a Rear Guard” (André, Journal description begins John André. Major André’s Journal: Operations of the British Army under Lieutenant Generals Sir William Howe and Sir Henry Clinton, June 1777 to November 1778. 1930. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 98–99).

2John Haring (1739–1809), an attorney who practiced law in both Orange County, N.Y., and New York City, served as an Orange County judge 1774–75 and 1778–88, and as a New York delegate to the first Continental Congress in 1774 and the second Continental Congress 1785–87. He was also a member of the New York provincial convention in 1775, the four provincial congresses 1775–77, the state senate 1781–89, the state council of appointment 1781–82, the New York constitutional ratifying convention in 1788, and the state general assembly in 1806. Haring was president pro tem of the second and third New York provincial congresses. He voted against ratification of the Constitution in 1788.

3Stewart is referring to Newburgh, New York.

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