George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Lieutenant Colonel Ebenezer Gray, 31 October 1778

To Lieutenant Colonel Ebenezer Gray

Head Quarters Fredericksburg 31st Octobr 1778.


It has been intimated to me that several persons, have gone over to Long Island, under the pretext of gaining intelligence, and indiscriminately distressed and plundered the inhabitants—As such a conduct is totally incompatible with obtaining information or making discoveries I do not imagine you have given any sanction to such proceedings. But that so pernicious a practice may be the more effectually prevented—you will prevent any persons whatever from making excursions to the Island—and only employ those as spies or observers, in whom you can place a proper confidence. I am Sir Your most obedt Servt

G. Washington

LS, in Caleb Gibbs’s writing, sold by Profiles in History, Beverly Hills, Calif., autograph catalog no. 34, item 112, fall 2002; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Although Gray’s promotion to lieutenant colonel of the 6th Connecticut Regiment was dated 15 Oct. 1778, Gibbs addressed this letter to “Major Gray,” and both GW and Horatio Gates continued for some weeks to refer to him by that rank. This letter was enclosed in GW’s letter to Charles Scott of this date. Gray replied to GW on 3 Nov. (DLC:GW).

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