George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Lee, 30 June 1780

Paramus . June 30th 1780.


I examined the country directed by your Excellency yesterday. I find a position most convenient for an army on the road by Captain Marsailles to Col. Deys. Having passed Marsailles house one mile, you arrive at the junction of the Paramus & Deys road. Here commences the position I allude to, & continues along Deys road. A very copious branch of water runs close to the camp in front—smaller streams which sometimes sail, are on the flanks & in rear. Two roads only lead to the camp from the enemy’s one on each flank. these two roads become one after passing totowa bridge one mile on the eastern side of the river. On the western side of the river runs the road to acquaquanunc & the Mountain meeting house—On the eastern side of the neck in front of the camp is a range of mountains impervious to the march of an army.

From this position are three routes of retreat, all easy, the one towards chatham by the two-bridges on little falls: a second to Pumpton plains, & a third to Pumpton by Ogdens mills. One days march will bring the army to Morris town or to Ramapough. The country is very well supplied with green forage. The woods in front and rear are alike; both mountainous. Few whigs live in the neighborhood—Should the army encamp near to them, it would be very encouraging to distinguish them. From this days intelligence I remain in opinion, That ambuscade would succeed in Bergen-woods. I also think that procrastination will loose the opportunity. I apprehend they will retire, or be strengthened. Tomorrow night will be convenient—If your Excy approves of it the reinforcement ought to reach Fells house this evening.

Could not artillery move to the N. bridge by 10 on the morning of attempt; if the [first] plan fails, then co-erce them from their position. I have the honor to be sir with inviolable attachment your Excys h: Sert

Henry Lee Junr

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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