George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Charles Scott, 7 October 1778

From Brigadier General Charles Scott

Bedford [N.Y.] October 7th 1778


I am Sorry to have occasion to mention to Your Excellency a Second time the loss of a patroll—this morning About 8 oClock I was informd by a Country man that the Enemy Wear two miles above Claps tavern, and that the officer and party of horse on that Road had fallen into their hands I immediatly orderd a party down towards the enemy to make What Discoverys he Could, and give me the trooth of the Matter about ten he Sent a hors man up and informd me that the whole party was taken and that the enemy had returnd. However about 12 oClock the officer who Comanded the patroll with one man Came in. he is a french Genn and Speaks bad english that I cant very well understand Him. from the Best Account I can git from him, the hous (meaning Claps tavern) was Seroundid before he knew a Word of the Enemy. his party Consisted of one officer and Ten Privats nine of which with eleven horses Wear taken this misfortune has again Fallen on Colo. Sheldons Regiment1 I have Repietedly orderd that the patrolls Should never Stay Four hours at the Same place, but from the best Acct that I can git they, or at least Several of the officers take the Best Hous in the Neighbourhood of their duty, and there Stay untill they are Relieved. I shall order a Court of Inqueery upon this matter Tomorrow. I hope that togather With the Surprize will prevent any thing of the kind in Future. the enemy was out on Wards Road allso, this morning Both Horse and foot, up as fare as the white plains they Burnt Several houses on Both Roads, Claps Store among them with a Large Quantity of Rum & Sugar.

the man of war that went up the North River Yesterday Returnd this morning Since which a Flag went up and a Small Vessil about three Mile a Stern of her Crowded with men which I suppose might be Prisoners to exchange.2 the transports that I mentiond In my last3 Ly off Phillaps’s hous and very Close in Shore. we have a good View of them from a hite Just Above Tarry town, they are Very Busy taking Bagage on board all this day, we Can see them very Clearly with a Glass, Hoisting it in; I have made particular inqueery about the Disease Your Excellency Mentions and also about the Sending the troops from the City to the Narrows and the Sailing of the Ships of War,4 all of which I can Hear nothing of—Capt. Leavenworth who was expected on Sonday last, is not Yet Returnd.5 Nither have I been Able to hear any thing of him Since Satterday, I am Afraid he has fallen into the hands of the enemy.

Colo. Grayham will go down in the Morning if he Should not Return tonight who will indeavour to Supply His place. I am Your Excellencys Obt Servant

Chs Scott


1Hessian major Carl Leopold Baurmeister wrote in his dispatch of 21 Oct. 1778 that “On the 7th [of October] Colonel [John Graves] Simcoe patrolled with a strong force between White Plains and Horse Neck [Greenwich, Conn.]. He fell in with a dragoon post and captured six men and nine horses. The enemy officer hid in a magazine, which was set on fire; since no one knew that he was there, he lost his life in the flames. Two large smithies were also burned down” (Baurmeister, Revolution in America description begins Carl Leopold Baurmeister. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784, of Adjutant General Major Baurmeister of the Hessian Forces. Translated and annotated by Bernhard A. Uhlendorf. New Brunswick, N.J., 1957. description ends , 222; see also Scott to Horatio Gates, 8 Oct., quoted in Gates to GW, 9 Oct., n.2). The commander of the patrol, who was neither captured nor killed, apparently was Lt. John Simonet de Valcour, who had been appointed a cornet in Col. Elisha Sheldon’s 2d Continental Light Dragoon Regiment in April 1777 and had been promoted to lieutenant in January 1778. He was breveted captain in December 1778 and was allowed to retire from the army (see Henry Laurens to GW, 2 Dec. 1778, DNA:PCC, item 13, and JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 12:1179–80). For the earlier capture of a patrol from Sheldon’s regiment, see Scott to GW, 8 Sept., and note 1 to that document.

2For other accounts of this flag-of-truce vessel and the prisoner exchanges in which it was involved, see GW to George Clinton, 8 Oct., and notes 3 and 5 to that document.

4This intelligence had been conveyed in GW’s letter to Scott of 5 October.

5The previous Sunday was 4 October.

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