George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General John Neilson, 13 June 1779

To Brigadier General John Neilson

Head Quarters Smiths Clove [N.Y.]
June 13th 1779


I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 11th and to return you my thanks for the news Papers which it inclosed.1

I am sorry you have not had it in your power to make any diversion in that quarter, so as to alarm or attract the attention of the enemy, nor indeed do I know the means that can be used at present to produce such an effect; unless the preperation of the flat bottomed boats, which are ordered on from Philadelphia on carriages, will answer the end—The enemy will certainly hear of their arrival, which will probably raise their suspicions2—They will also serve another purpose, should our situation enable us to attempt any thing serious on the Island. I am Sr Yr Most Obet servant

Go: Washington

P.S. You will be pleased to forward the inclosed—Mrs Delancy by whom it is written, expects a trunk from New York, when it arrives I am to request your particular Care of it.3

Go: W——n

LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, NN: Emmet Collection; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The LS is addressed to Neilson at Elizabeth, N.J. Only the LS includes the postscript.

Upon his own request, Neilson was relieved from command at Elizabeth on 12 June (see Neilson to GW, 5 June, n.1, and Neilson to William Livingston, 15 June [two letters], Prince, “Livingston Papers”).

1Neilson’s letter to GW of 11 June has not been found, and the enclosed newspapers have not been identified.

2GW may be responding to an American proposal to capture individuals on Staten Island, N.Y., and then negotiate prisoner exchanges (see Livingston to Neilson, 15 June, in Prince, Livingston Papers, description begins Carl E. Prince et al., eds. The Papers of William Livingston. 5 vols. Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J., 1979–88. description ends 3:112–13).

3The enclosure has not been identified. For the efforts of Margaret Allen De Lancey, a Loyalist, to get her clothing and other possessions from New York City, see John Jay to GW, 12 May (second letter); De Lancey to GW, 24 May; and GW to De Lancey, 27 May.

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