George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General James Clinton, 18 May 1779

From Brigadier General James Clinton

Albany Tuesday May 18th 1779


Yesterday Evening I was informed by Lt Colonel Butler, that he had received a Packet of Letters from your Excellency directed to me, with Orders to forward them to this Place with dispatch from New Bourough if Circumstances did not permit of his coming up by land, or Business unavoidably delay him.

On his Arrival at New Bourough which he informs me was late on Friday evening last, haveing some Stores to forward on to his Regiment, and his Horses being tired, he thought it most prudent to come up by Water, and deliver the Packet to the Care of Mr Mitchel Quarter master at that place, which he immediately did, and ordered him to send them off that Evening by a careful Person, with all possible Dispatch.

This is the fifth day they have been on the Road, and have not yet been received, as I conceive them to be of importance, I have wrote to Mr Mitchell desiring him to make all possible Enquiry after them, and I have ordered the Bearer to ride night and day to Head Quarters, that Your Excellency may have an oppertunity, knowing the Circumstances, to favour me with a Duplicate of your Orders.1

I have just received a Letter from Genl Schuyler directed to you, which I send by the Bearer.2 I have the honour to be respectfully Your Excellency’s most humble Servt

James Clinton B. Genl

ALS, DLC:GW; ALS (duplicate), DLC:GW; ADfS, sold 15–18 May 1906, C. F. Libbie and Co., Boston, sale of William S. Appleton, item no. 106.

1The enclosed copy of a letter from Clinton to Uriah Mitchell, dated 2:00 P.M. on 18 May 1779 at Albany, reads: “I am informed by Col. Butler who arrived here yesterday Evening, that on Friday evening last, he delivered you a Packet of Letters from His Excellency Genl Washington directed to me, with especial Orders to forward them with the utmost Expedition and by a safe hand.

“The Letters have not yet been received, & from the length of time which hath elapsed since they were sent off, I am induced to believe they have miscaried, as they are undoubtedly of importance, I am uneasy about them, and desire that you woud immediately make all possible Enquiry after them; and inform me of their unaccountable Delay, & by whom you sent them.

“I have ordered the Bearer to make enquiry on the Road, & if he finds that they are safe, to inform you of it, that you may inform His Excellency in a Letter, which you will send off with the inclosed two, with all possible Dispatch (DLC:GW). Mitchell (b. 1746) was assistant deputy quartermaster at Newburgh, N.Y.

GW’s letter to Clinton, dated 9 May, eventually arrived; see Clinton to GW, 23 May.

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