George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Stirling, 21 October 1778

From Major General Stirling

Elizabeth Town [N.J.] October 21: 1778

Dr Sir

I wrote your Excellency yesterday that the whole of Second fleet of about 30 Sail as well the first of near 130 Sail were Sailed, the Wind has been at West, a lively breese, ever Since, and they must have made a great Offing by this time. it is Said that the preparations for another embarkation are going on at N. York, but I have not been able to get any particulars from thence the last two or three day’s. I yesterday detected a letter wrote very small on a Scrap of paper from J. Galloway to his Sister Mrs Hylliard dated Octobr 10th—In which are these Words, “I did not leave philadelphia without writeing to you a Short Letter, Nor Can I leave this ungratefull Country without takeing my leave of a Sister for whom I feel &c.[”] which Clearly shew that he is on the point of going, which I do not belive he would do; unless he Supposed the evacuation was to become General;1 and I think it not unlikely it will be done gradually as they can get ready, for while Admiral Biron is able to keep the Sea & Watch the Count de Estainge with 16 Sail of the line, they may go in different Squadrons under small Convoys. Major Monro haveing an inclination to go to Virginia, Calls first at head Quarters to Settle some busyness there, and affords me an Oppertunity of Sending this. I am your Excellency’s Most Humble Servant



1Joseph Galloway had left Philadelphia when the British army evacuated that city in June 1778, and he sailed from New York City for England apparently sometime in December 1778 (see Palmer, Biographical Sketches of Loyalists description begins Gregory Palmer. Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution. Westport, Conn., and London, 1984. description ends , 305–6). Galloway’s letter to Elizabeth Hylliard of 10 Oct., which had been written on a long, thin strip of paper and folded several times, was enclosed in Stirling’s letter to Henry Laurens of this date, and it is now in DNA:PCC, item 53. “By the Size & Shape of it,” Stirling wrote Laurens, “he [Galloway] undoubtedly expected it would have escaped our Notice and have reached his Sister, the formal leave he takes of his Sister and this head Strong Country that will not be Saved by him indicates a general evacuation of New York; for he would never think of quitting his ground while he had the least hopes of reclaiming it. other indications of the Same: are farther preparations for embarking more troops, are going on and they are now Actually dismantling and destroying their fortifications on Staten Island” (Laurens Papers description begins Philip M. Hamer et al., eds. The Papers of Henry Laurens. 16 vols. Columbia, S.C., 1968–2003. description ends , 14:435–37).

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