To Major Benjamin Tallmadge
Head Quarters West Point 7th Sepr 1779.
I have recd yours of the 4th inclosing C—— letter No. 22. and also that of the 5th.1 You may detain Brown in his present employ, and I will inform General Parsons that it is by my order.2 I have not heard that the enemy have any parties upon Long Island cutting Wood for the Garrisons of New York and Rhode Island. I think they were busy at that work, at this time last year. Be pleased to direct your emissaries to make enquiries into this matter, and whether they are collecting any considerable quantity of Forage for a Winter Stock.3 I am Dear Sir Your most obt Servt
P.S. Much may be deduced from the preparations which the Enemy are making in the Article of Cloathing. If light—it designates a southern or West India expedition. If, on the contrary warm and heavy—it indicates a Winter Campaign, or at least that they mean to remain in their quarters—Desire C——, if you have an opportunity to pay particular attention to these matters and give information.4
LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, PWacD: Sol Feinstone Collection, on deposit at PPAmP; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The draft is addressed to Tallmadge at Stamford, Connecticut.
1. The letters from Tallmadge of 4 and 5 Sept. have not been found. The enclosed Culper letter has not been identified; however, Abraham Woodhull numbered his 15 Aug. letter from Culper to John Bolton as “No. 21,” and his next letter to Tallmadge known to be extant is the unnumbered letter from Culper to Bolton dated 17 Aug. (see Culper Spy Ring Intelligence, 6–17 Aug.). It seems likely that GW had these letters in hand by 7 Sept., although neither a cover letter from Tallmadge nor an acknowledgment from GW has been found. Woodhull’s Culper letter “No. 23” is dated 12 Sept., and GW probably received it on 24 Sept. (see GW to Tallmadge, that date, n.1). Due to bad weather on Long Island Sound, the letter of 15 Aug. probably was delayed and, therefore, was sent two days later with the cover letter of 17 August.
2. “Brown” may be the person whom GW authorized Tallmadge to engage to carry intelligence reports (see GW to Tallmadge, 14 Aug., and n.3 to that document). No letter from GW to Brig. Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons on this subject has been found.
3. Robert Townsend, as Samuel Culper, Jr., reported on the British stocks of wood and forage in his letters to Tallmadge of 9 and 21 Oct. (see GW to Tallmadge, 2 Oct., n.2, and the source note to GW to Tallmadge, 17 Oct.); see also Culper, Jr., to Bolton, 29 Oct. (DLC:GW). Woodhull reported on the same stocks of wood and forage in his Culper letters of 26 and 29 Oct. (DLC:GW).