Head Quarters New Windsor Decr 23. 1780
You will take command of such of the Detachments of Water Guards, now on the River, as you may think necessary, and with them attempt to surprize & bring off, Genl Knyphausen from Morris’s House on York Island, or Sir Henry Clinton from Kennedys House in the City; if from the Tide, Weather, & other Circumstances you shall judge the Enterprize to be practicable. In the execution of it, you will be guided by Your own discretion, and I have only to suggest, that secrecy, rapidity, &[ pru]dence in making good your retreat will be indispensibly necessary to insure the success. Given &c. 23d Decr
Colonel Humphreys is directed to visit the Post at Dobbs’ Ferry, to reconnoitre & report the state of Matters below—He will take such of the Guards Boats with him as he thinks necessary.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.