George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Charles Scott, 13 October 1778

From Brigadier General Charles Scott

Near Bedford [N.Y.] October 13th 1778. 5 oClock


I am informd by Capt. Virmiller a Very good Man who has been in New York in Quest of his Stock lately Taken by the enemy, that a considerable number of the Hessions have imbarked Since their Return from their Late position about Volentines Hill. and that they wear then whilest he was there imbarking Men, & Stors of all Sorts Such as hay large trunk and a Variety of things. he Says that he was told by an old fr[i]end of his that they wear Certainly going off and from every thing He was able to learn the whole Armey. but it would Be some time before they could git off having Large Quantitys of Stors to Ship, but he understood that those now imbarking would Sail immedeatly and from the Best Acct he could git they are about Seven Compleat Regiments.1

Colo. Gist who is Just arived from Philaps’s hous informs me that he Saw troops imbarking from Fort Washington this morning, and that all the Boats & Small Vessels Wear halled out of Speking Deavell Creek Before He left his post. I have heard nothing from Long Island nor Leavenworth Since Satterday2 but am In the greatest hops of Some important intellagence from thence every Hour. I have with the assistance of Genl Morrice3 Just Dispatched a Nother person to York for Intelligence who I am led to believe will be Faithfull and I know him to be intelligent. how he May turn out I cant Say, but I have great expectation from him, pardon me Sir for inclosing one of Colo. armands old letters in Stead of that of Yesterdays date, which You Now have inclosd.4 my long indisposition with the many Perplexitys I have, has almost Distracted me, being in hast and Several of Armands letters on the Table I chance to take the wrong. I am Your Excellencys Obt Servant

Chs Scott

p.s. the Capt. Virmiller farther adds that after he Past Fort Washington he never Saw five Soldiers and that he Saw the Hessions going on board with their Soop in the Camp kettles and the officers Hurrying them on board.


1Scott’s informant may have been Benjamin Vermilya (Vermilyea, Vermillia, Vermilier, Vermiller), who was elected in 1776 as captain of the East Philipsburg company in the 1st Westchester County Regiment of militia, or Isaac Vermilya (Vermilyea, Vermillia, Vermilier, Vermiller), who served as captain of the Lower Philipsburg company in that regiment.

2The previous Saturday was 10 October.

3Scott is referring to Lewis Morris, Sr., who was brigadier general of the Westchester County militia.

4For the undated letter from Armand that Scott accidentally enclosed in his first letter to GW of this date, see note 3 to that document. The letter that Scott enclosed in this second letter to GW of this date was the one that Armand had written to him at 9 p.m. on 12 October. It reads: “i have been to day with twenty dragons, near fort independant, where i have surprised the piquet of the hessians, i have take[n] three horses and cary two prisoners at my quarter. one was taken before we Came to the piquet, and the other in the midle of the piquet, with his arms. we take more than twelve, but as the reasort of the enemy did Come upon ou[r] right and left, and had great many horses, and we were ready engadge’d with the second post, we could not cary thoses men, till a place of security without the gretiest danger for our retraite. we took only their arms and give’d to them with the sword. one of the horses which i have tak[en] did belongs formerly to one toris which Caried him to the cam[p] of the enemy, the two others are dragons germains horses. one has bredle and sedle the other, has only his bridle. if had not been a deep wather wich i did not know, i had took many officers, and specially the cnl [colonel] who has the Comand of that post. i must tell you how glad i am to have see[n] our dragons behave with the gretiest couradge in that occasion so fine and proper to desert. my volountaires and officers behaved the same.

“from there i have see[n] a great movement with good many bateaux, which were going from the land to some vessels which are by fort washington. the[y] were full of people. but the[y] did come back the same to the shore.

“the rapport of the first men i have kets [caught] tell me just now that his intention was to desert, and i may believe him. he is come to newyorck with two hundred and thirty germains recrutes since fiveteen days. he told me that it is great mention in their army to retraite from new yorck in fiveteen days, some tolds that the[y] will go to Canada some in rodisland eight days ago one hessian regiment Call’d stein rgmt is embarked but they dont know where he is goin—they say that they are four tausand men this side from kings bridge. they dont know what is in the other side of the bridge.

“to morow i shall send thoses men to your quarter. one other day i hope we shall do better. . . .

“[P.S.] to morow i shall wach the river, and shall took post farther up. but it is not fouradge in this peart” (DLC:GW).

The Fort Independence that Armand attacked on 12 Oct. was located in Westchester County about a mile north of King’s Bridge. Hessian lieutenant Heinrich Carl Philipp von Feilitzsch, who was stationed in that vicinity, wrote in his diary entry for 12 Oct. that “because the non-commissioned officer’s picket was drunk and not alert, it was fired upon. The cavalrymen drove the picket back. We feared they would enter the camp, they had approached so cleverly. They captured a double post which fired a salvo at them, slapped one of the drunks in the face, and left him, taking only a horse” (Burgoyne, Diaries of Two Ansbach Jaegers description begins Bruce E. Burgoyne, ed. and trans. Diaries of two Ansbach Jaegers: Lieutenant Heinrich Carl Philipp von Feilitzsch and Lieutenant Christian Friedrich Bartholomai. Bowie, Md., 1997. description ends , 47). Another Hessian officer, Johann Karl Philipp von Krafft, describes this event as occurring on 11 Oct. (see Krafft, Journal description begins Journal of Lieutenant John Charles Philip von Krafft. 1882. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 66). The Garrison Regiment von Stein was sent to Halifax during the fall of 1778.

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