George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Stirling, 1 September 1779

To Major General Stirling

Head Quarters West Point 1st Sepr 1779

My Lord

I was last Night favd with yours of the 30th Ulto with Colo. Taylors intelligence, and Rivingtons paper inclosed.1 I am in hopes that we shall in a day or two receive more accurate accounts of the real strength of the Reinforcements2—I shall desire Docr Cochran to give order respecting the sick of your division: and will have Lieut. Drummonds conduct enquired into; such proceedings must not be tolerated.3

Colo. Washington may as well remain where your Lordship posted him, for a few days—perhaps in that time, the Enemy may begin to shew their intentions, if they have any, of operating.4

I am afraid the Ordnance ship, said to be carried into Philada will turn out to be a Vessel laden with flour for New York; such an one is carried in.5

I inclose your Lordship Colo. Hamiltons translation of Count de la Crois’s letter.6 I wish your Lordship may find better health from a few days retirement. As I am with great Regard yr.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1This letter has not been found, but GW forwarded an extract of Taylor’s report to Congress on this date, along with the newspaper: James Rivington’s Royal Gazette (New York) of 28 Aug. (see GW to John Jay, 31 Aug.-1 Sept., and n.7 to that document).

2GW is referring to the 3,800 British troops that had arrived at New York on 25 Aug. (see GW to Jay, 24-27 Aug., and n.8 to that document). For GW’s defensive preparations for the arrival of this long-expected British reinforcement, see GW to Jay, 11 Aug., n.5. By the middle of the month, GW concluded from his intelligence reports that the reinforcements numbered between 3,000 and 4,000 troops (see GW to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 3 Sept.; GW to Robert Howe, 7 Sept.; GW to Jay, 7 Sept., both letters; GW to Lafayette, 12 Sept.; and GW to d’Estaing, 13 Sept.)

3No letter on this topic from GW to John Cochran, physician and surgeon general of the army in the middle department, has been found.

James Drummond (c.1755-c.1778), of Accomack County, Va., joined the 9th Virginia Regiment as a second lieutenant in February 1776.

4GW had asked Stirling to station Lt. Col. William Washington’s dragoon regiment in the vicinity of Stirling’s division, which was to be moved to a location near June’s tavern in Orange County, N.Y. (see GW to Stirling, 28-29 Aug., and GW to Washington, 29 Aug.).

5On 31 Aug. the Pennsylvania Packet, or the General Advertiser (Philadelphia) reported the arrival at Philadelphia on 29 Aug. of the prize snow Diana, bound from London to New York, which had been taken by the 16-gun privateer brig Holker out of Philadelphia, commanded by Capt. George Geddes. The paper reported that Diana’s cargo included eighty iron cannon, sixty swivel guns, sixteen cohorns and light carronades, hundreds of round and bar shot, 155 “half barrels” of powder, other naval stores, and “about 55 packages … with a great variety of merchandize.” Geddes later may have presented GW with a pair of pistols taken from Diana’s cargo (see GW to Geddes, 30 Sept.).

6The enclosure has not been identified. GW may be referring to Armand-Charles-Augustin de La Croix, comte de Charlus (1756-1842)—a friend of Lafayette and the son of Charles Eugène Gabriel de La Croix de Castries, marquis de Castries (1727-1801)—who was named French minister of marine in 1780 and a marshal of France in 1783.

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