George Washington Papers

From George Washington to David Humphreys, 22 November 1780

22 November 1780


You are immediately to proceed to West Point and communicate the business committed to you, in confidence to Majr Genl Heath, and to no other person whatsoever—from thence you will repair to the Detachmt at the White Plains, on friday next, taking Measures to prevent their leaving that place, before you get to them. and in the course of the succeeding Night you may inform the Commanding Officer, of the Enterprize in Contemplation against the Enemy’s Posts on York Island.

As the Troops are constantly to lye on their Arms, no previous notice should be given, but they may be put in Motion precisely at 4 oClock, and commence a slow and regular march towards Kings Bridge, until they shall discover or be informed of the concerted signal’s being made, when the march must be pressed with the greatest rapidity—Parties of Horse should be sent forward to keep a look out for the signals.

Although the main Body ought to be kept Compact—Patroles of Horse and light-Parties might be sent towards East and West Chester—And upon the signals being discovered, Sheldons Regt and the Connecticut State Troops (which may also be put in Motion as soon as the Orders can be communicated after 4 oClock) should be pushed forward to intercept any of the Enemy, who may attempt to gain Frog’s Neck, and to Cut off the Refugee Corps at Morrissania. A few Men with some address may spread such an Alarm as to prevent an attempt of the Enemy to retreat to Frog’s Neck, from an apprehension of surrounding Parties.

You will communicate these instructions to the Commanding Officer of the Detachmt, who upon his approach to King’s Bridge, will receive Orders from me as early as possible.

Should the signals not be discovered, the Troops will halt at least 6 Miles from the Bridge, untill further intelligence can be obtained.

The absolute necessity of the most perfect secrecy is the occasion of Communicating my Orders thro this channel. Given at Head Quarters Passaic Falls this 22d day of Novr 1780.


DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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