George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major Benjamin Tallmadge, 23 December 1778

From Major Benjamin Tallmadge

Fairfield [Conn.] Decr 23d 1778


Having arrived here last Evening from Durham, I happily found your’s of the 17th inst. & a letter from C—— which had just arrived & is now enclosed.1

Since your Excellency judges it improper to have an interview with C——, any private instructions which you may wish to transmit him, not so proper for me to transcribe, may be very safely convey’d to him; as from the Regularity of his Dispatches, & the Characters of the Persons who I know are intrusted with their Conveyance from N.Y. to Brook Haven, I dare venture to say there is not the least probability, & I had almost said hardly a possibility of a Discovery.

Another letter will be ready for our reception on the other side by the 4th of next month, which will be duly forwarded. I am, with the greatest Regard, your Excellency’s most obedt & Hble Servt

Benja. Tallmadge

ALS, DLC:GW; copy, NjP: Papers of Benjamin Tallmadge and Family.

1The enclosed letter from Samuel Culper to Tallmadge, dated 12 Dec. and labeled “No. 5,” reads: “Since my last have endevourd to discover wheather I had errd in my No. 3 & 4 concerning the State and conduct of the Enemy on the two Islands And am happyly convinced that I have given you a very particular account. Or at least as exact one as is possible for any one to obtain without discovery. The enemy that went up the River, Were the Granedeers Light Infantry from Jamaica, & the Guards from the City & Lord Rodens Regm. that is Cantoned in the Bowery all Said Commd by G. Clinton, Who Since their return have bene very Silent. Beleive they have bene much disappointed—On the 4 Inst. a Brig arived from Jamaica (West Indies) bringing Intelligence that Island was expected hourly to be beseaged and feared the assistance gone would be too late. It is no longer doubted but that the first division under Genl Grant is gone to the West Indies, and the Second under Genl Cambell to St Augusteen or Pensacola, Their is a Fleet of about Thirty Sail fell down yesterday towards the Hook under Convoy of the Emerald and two other Frigets and have heard that the Sixteenth Regn. of Light dragons that Some time gone was draufted into the Seventeenth is to go on bourd, part of the Fleet is Said is going to England & part to the West Indies—the Packet & Cork Fleet that hath bene a long time expected is not yet arived and Should they fail they would be in a most deplorable Situation, their provisions I assure you is very Short, their forage here goes like the dew it Cannot last them half the Winter. Lord Cathcart Legion at Jerico is the reception of all <Ruffins> Capt. Muirsons Company that hitherto hath bene under Emerick is orderd to Joyne him—there is an imbargo Laid on all Private Ships and Vessels even Privateers are forbid going to Sea—Many Private Ships have lately bene taken into Goverment Service and accomadeing them for the reception of Soldiers—Genl Clinton had on the 8 Intt 5 Barrels of best beaf in Market Salted for his own use there is an appearance of their going and a Prospect of their Staying the latter of which is the most Probable. their Present Conduct puzzels the greater Pollitstions A Ship is Said to be at the Hook from Falmouth bring account that the Cork Fleet Saild on the 8 October, Mr Thomas now in England formerly one of the Mandamus Counsel of Boston Some little time gone wrote a letter to his Son in this City, desireing him if Possible to make Peace with his Country, for an Amarican Loyalist was dispised to the greatest degree, this is fact had it from his Mouth When I Received your No. 3 I was in hopes you Soon intended to drive them. Or at least make a diversion to hurry them. But if you Should omit four months I am Confident they will go themselves, Yes I am firmely of oppinion and it is become a general beleif that in half the time we Shall have the News of Great Brittan acknowledgeng Amarica independent Thus Sir I have given you my Oppinion think Well founded, and every Particular worthy of Notice that hath transpired or I Possible Could obtain Since my last, and wish it Safe to hand.” A postscript signed by Tallmadge reads: “N.B. The No. 3 refered to above, contained your Excellency’s Questions transmited me from Fredericksbg [GW to Tallmadge, 18 Nov.]” (DLC:GW).

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