To Major General Alexander McDougall
Head Qrs Frederick’sburg Octobr 25: 1778
Notwithstanding the large fleet that sailed on the 19th & 20th—and the reasons we had to conclude, that the Regiments were on board—which we had repeatedly heard were embarked—I have just received advices through different Channels—and which cannot but be certain and authentic—that there were none but Invalids & Offi cers of the reduced Corps on board; and, that the Troops which had embarked, were on the 23d Instant still in New York harbour. They are fixed at 10 or 12 British Regiments & 5 or 6 of New-Levies.1 Under these circumstances—I request you will halt the three Brigades under your command—till you hear further from me; keeping them in readiness to move on the shortest notice, as circumstances may require.2 I am Dr sir with great regard & esteem Yr Most Obedt servant
LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, owned (1992) by Mr. Joseph Rubinfine, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Df, DLC:GW; copy, NHi: Gates Papers; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW franked the addressed cover of the LS.
1. This intelligence apparently was contained in the unfound letters that Israel Putnam and Stirling had written to GW on 24 Oct. (see GW to Putnam and to Stirling, both this date). Admiral Byron’s fleet, which was seeking to intercept d’Estaing’s fleet off the Massachusetts coast, and the fleet of transports bound for England had sailed together from Sandy Hook on 18 or 19 Oct. (see Richard Howell to GW, 9 Oct., and note 3 to that document). Maj. Gen. James Grant’s West Indies expedition, which consisted of ten British regiments, embarked between 25 and 28 Oct. and sailed from Sandy Hook on 3 November. Expeditions to East and West Florida also sailed in November.
2. McDougall’s divisions halted in the vicinity of New Milford, Connecticut.