George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Alexander McDougall, 29 May 1779

From Major General Alexander McDougall

Head-Quarters Pecks Kill [N.Y.] May 29th 1779.


I have this moment received the inclosed Intelligence.1 The Enemy’s march to the plains is very probable, but have had no advice of the appearance of the Enemy on the River. I have written for General parsons Brigade, to march here with all possible dispatch, and notified Governor Trumbull of the intended movement of the Enemy, and Suggested the propriety of holding the Western Militia in readiness with Six Days provision. Colo: Clarke is directed to fall back to West-point, whenever the Enemy appear in force on the River. I gave this Order, least the communication with him shou’d be cutt off, by the rapid movement of the Enemy by Water. I have the Honor to be Your Excellencys Humble servant

Alexr McDougall

LS, DLC:GW; ADf, NHi: McDougall Papers.

1The enclosed intelligence report, dated 29 May at 6:00 P.M. at Peekskill, reads: “Patrick Rogers a native of Ireland, says he was a Corporal in Lord Cathcart’s Legion and deserted this morning at Day Break in Company with two others of the same Corps.

“says, that the 17th British Regiment of Horse, Lord Cathcart’s Legion, Emericks Corps, the Hessian Yagers, Sincoe’s & the 7th 23rd and 63rd British Regiments lay on this Side of the Bridge encamp’d from Cortlandt’s to Valentine’s.

“that last Evening he carried Orders from General Knyphausen to Sir William Erskine for all the Troops mentioned to march at 6 O’Clock this Morning.

“that he overheared Colonel Emerick read the orders, which mentioned that all the Troops on this Side the Bridge were to march out 18 Miles into the Country with their Tents Baggage &c. and there encamp.

“that the British and Hessian Grenadiers, British light Infantry and 17th Regiment were to march to Williams’s Bridge with Tents &c. and there encamp.

“that the Hessian Guards, 44th B. Regt Robinson’s Corps and Captain Sanford’s independant Troop of Horse were to do the Duty on New York Island.

“that a serjeant of his own Corps told him, he saw two Brigades consisting of 6 Regiments, embark at New York on the 27th Instant; that they sailed the Day following up to Fort Washington—that he heared several Guns fired from the Ship—sand that it was given out they were going to attack some Fort up the River on a Point” (DLC:GW). For details of the British advance up the Hudson River that this intelligence presaged, see William De Hart to GW, 30 May, n.1.

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