George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Jay, 6 March 1779

To John Jay

Head Quarters Middlebrook 6th March 1779.


I herewith transmit your Excellency the last news papers, which I have obtained from New-York.1

I also inclose you an extract of intelligence, respecting a fleet of victuallers, with some troops,2 said to be preparing to sail for Georgia.3 The fidelity of the writer is hitherto unquestionable.

The report of the 1500 troops from Rhode Island,4 I am induced to suppose without foundation. Some time ago, I was informed of the sailing of about 1,000 from this place; but these, I believe have all arrived at the garrison at New-york. This is confirmed in some measure by Col. Webb, who speaks of two Regiments of Anspach, as having actually landed at New-York before his departure from Long Island.5 Besides these two Regiments, the writer himself, mentions two light Infantry companies “landed on Long Island from Rhode Island,” which appear to have been part of the same embarkation, of which I was advised from Providence.

The enemy have recently made an excursion from Kingsbridge as far as Horse-neck—I have not received the account officially but from what I can learn the expedition has been attended with as little success as that to Elizabeth Town.6 I have the honor to be with great respect Your Excellencys most obt and hble servt

Go: Washington

LS, in James McHenry’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 8 March (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 13:292).

1The enclosed newspapers have not been identified.

2At this place on the draft manuscript, McHenry first wrote “which are.” He then struck out those words and wrote “said to be” above the line.

3The brief enclosed extract, which is in DNA:PCC, item 152, was taken from the long intelligence report that Samuel Culper (Abraham Woodhull) wrote to Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge on 26 Feb. (see GW to Tallmadge, 5 Feb., n.1).

4At this place on the draft manuscript, McHenry wrote and then struck out the words “to Georgia.”

5GW appears to have met with Col. Samuel Blachley Webb two days before. On “Thursday,” possibly 4 March, GW presented “his Compliments” to Webb and requested “the favr of his Company at dinner tomorrow” (L, CtY: Webb Family Papers). A letter from Tench Tilghman to Webb and Clement Biddle, dated “Sunday,” possibly 8 March, reads: “My very good Friends His Excellency wishes your Company at dinner tomorrow, and if Mr Jo: Webb should arrive between this and three OClock tomorrow, we shall expect he will be of the party” (CtY: Webb Family Papers; see Joseph Webb, Jr., to GW, 18 Jan., and GW to Webb, Jr., 27 Jan.).

6For accounts of this unsuccessful expedition, see Israel Putnam to GW, 2 March, and n.4 to that document. For the British raid on Elizabeth, N.J., see William Maxwell to GW, 25 and 27 February.

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