George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James McHenry, 23 January 1779

From James McHenry

Middlebrook 23d Jany 1779 9 O’clock P.M.


I have the honor to communicate to your Excellency (in addition to my information through Mr Tilghman of the 21st Instant)1 by Major General Lord Stirlings particular directions, that on the 17th a detachment of the enemy (of about two hundred men) from New York effected a landing on the Middletown shore (near one Thomas Browers)—But re-imbarked in the night, without penetrating the country, or venturing to attempt what may be supposed the purpose of their expedition.2

The detachment under the command of Col. Noarth, which your Excellency ordered to Monmouth some time since;3 and which the enemy could not possibly be acquainted with (before landing) gave this sudden turn to thier expedition.

I have nothing more to add, but that Genl Maxwell’s information supposes the new levies and refugees (which I mentioned in my letter to Mr Tilghman) were destined for Georgia. I have the honor to be, with the utmost respect Your Excellencys Most obt servt

James McHenry


1McHenry’s letter to Tench Tilghman of 21 Jan. has not been identified.

2Stirling had written to Q.M. Gen. Nathanael Greene on 22 Jan. from Middlebrook: “We have had reports of the Enemy’s intending a Vissit to some parts of this State. Indeed it has been very Confidently asserted that they were landed both in Monmouth and Bergen Counties but there is no truth in either, that I can yet find” (Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 3:177–78).

3For the sending of a party of 250 men, under the command of Lt. Col. Caleb North, to Monmouth County, N.J., to stop illicit trade with New York City, see GW to Stirling, 8 Jan., and Stirling to GW, 13 Jan., and n.1 to that document.

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