George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Rufus Putnam, 8 August 1779

From Colonel Rufus Putnam

Light Infentry Camp August 8th 1779

Dear General

Inclosed is a Coppy of a letter Just Receivd from Coll Fleury.1 I have Sometime meditated an attack on the Enemyes picket but from desertions from our parties below which has happened almost every day th⟨is⟩ week past I have ben diverted from it Colo. Fleu[r]y2 yesterday proposed going down I thought the Wather favorable to the Designe and hoped the event would have ben fortunate.

Colo. Butler was down a few days ago with 150 men he brought an ordor for them from General Wayne I know Nouthing of his plan or the observations he made.3

the Enimy have a Roe Boat up as far as Sailsburys Island.

I have Nearly Compleeted a Circuler Flash with two Embresures at Fort Montgommery which Rake the River Link from Antonys Nose to Fort Clinton and one Enbresure that looks up the River.4

I shall begin no other work with out your furthe[r] ordors. I am with the Highe[s]t Respect your Exelencys Humble Servet


1This letter has not been identified.

2Putnam inadvertently wrote “Fleuly.”

3Col. Richard Butler, at this time assigned to Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne’s Light Infantry Corps, may have been on a reconnaissance of the British fortifications at Stony Point, N.Y. (see GW to Butler, 25 July).

4By “Flash” Putnam meant a flèche, a type of field fortification resembling a redan. Putnam constructed this small crescent-shaped battery at the site of Fort Montgomery, which had been captured and razed by the British in October 1777, to serve as a warning post for the main river defenses at West Point. The “River Link” was the large chain floated across the Hudson River as a barrier to British ships. Putnam’s reference to “Fort Clinton” is to the site of the old Fort Clinton which had been built in August 1776 across from Fort Montgomery at the mouth of Popolopen Creek opposite Anthony’s Nose on the Hudson River, and which was captured and razed by Gen. Henry Clinton in his Hudson River expedition of October 1777. In 1778, a new Fort Clinton was constructed at West Point, N.Y., and in May 1778 its name was changed to Fort Arnold.

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