George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Stirling, 17 October 1778

From Major General Stirling

Elizabeth Town [N.J.] October 17: 1778 5 oClo’ p.m.

Dear Sir

I have Just received your Excellency’s letter of the 14th. the important Questions it Suggests well deserve full Consideration and I must beg leave to take twenty four hours Consideration before I answer it.1 this is the more Necessary as in that time we shall be better able to Judge of the Intentions of the Enemy; I sent your Excellency yesterday evening the Intelligence I had from Capt. Clun, which was full and in many particulars New all showing that their Manuevers were brought nearly to a Crisis. I have this Afternoon received a regular Report from Capt. Hopkins of Col. Moylans Regiment whom I placed at Amboy to keep a look out there. he says “October 16th About twelve Ships fell down to the Hook; Octor 17th—Early in the Morning about One hundred Ships of War and Transports fell down to the hook.” these are exclusive of Sloops Schooners and all the Smaller Sort which he left out of his Account.2 their Station at the hook is not a Safe one for such a fleet at this Season and therefore I belive they will take their departure soon, (Signal Guns have been fireing almost all day in New york Bay.) I belive more are preparing to follow. I am your Excellency’s Most Humble Servant



1It was not until 26 Oct. that Stirling replied to the questions about winter quarters that GW had asked in his Circular to Seven General Officers of 14 Oct. and the question about sending a detachment toward Boston that GW had asked in his letter to Stirling, William Maxwell, and William Woodford of 15 October. These also were posed at the council of war that met on 16 Oct., which Stirling did not attend.

2Capt. David Hopkins’s letter to Stirling of this date has not been identified.

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