George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Stirling, 11 July 1779

From Major General Stirling

Morris[town, N.J.] July 11th 1779. Sunday Noon

Dear Sir

I left Camp yesterday Morning and am thus far on my way, a little detained by the Rain. I have Just procured the enclosed two papers1 from Lt Col: Wm Livingston,2 Rivingstons Account of the Southern Affairs I think is in our favour.3 Intelligence from Staten Island is that Genl Grant with his detachment is returning to New York.4 a Sixty Gun Ship and another of their Convoy Already arrived at New York. That the Enemy intend soon to land in Jersey above Hakensack and Sweep the Country down to Amboy & return with their Booty to N. York, this W. L. says he has thro’ a very direct Channel. With the most Sincere & Affectionate wishes for your Excellency’s health & happyness I am your Most Obedient Humble Servant



1The enclosed newspapers have not been identified, but at least one, and perhaps both, probably were recent issues of the Royal Gazette (New York), published by James Rivington.

2William Smith Livingston, who resigned from the army in October 1778, had been lieutenant colonel of Col. Samuel Blachley Webb’s Additional Continental Regiment.

3Stirling may be referring to an “Extract of a letter from Charlestown, South Carolina, dated May 18,” printed in the Royal Gazette (New York) for 7 July. It reads: “On the 12th inst. our town was demanded by a British army, whose General declared, on his word and honour, that he was 7000 strong, but we since find that he had not more than half the number. They retreated, without storming our works, and are now encamped about ten miles from Charlestown, and Gen. Lincoln, with an army of 6000, is within ten miles of them, and an action in less than 48 hours is universally expected. If Lincoln should be defeated, the enemy will probably re-visit Charlestown, and storm our lines. If the contrary should happen, Burgoyne’s fate will probably be theirs, though they are endeavouring to preserve a communication with their shipping, for which their nearness to the sea coast, and our numerous inlets, are too favourable.”

4Maj. Gen. James Grant remained in the West Indies, where he commanded a British expeditionary force, but there was some thought given to him returning a significant detachment to New York (see George Germain to Henry Clinton, 5 Aug. and 27 Sept., in Davies, Documents of the American Revolution, description begins K. G. Davies, ed. Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783; (Colonial Office Series). 21 vols. Shannon and Dublin, 1972–81. description ends 17:177–78, 223–25).

Index Entries