George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Matthias Ogden, 2 April 1782

Newburgh Apl 2d 1782

Dear Sir,

After I wrote to you from Morris Town, I received information that the sentries at the doors of Sir Henry Clinton were doubled at eight o’clock every night from an apprehension of an attempt to surprize him in them—If this be true, it is more than probable the same precaution extends to other Personages in the City of New York—A circumstance I thought it proper for you to be advertised of.

It is of great importance that I should know the exact strength of the enemy’s Corps in New York & its dependencies—and how they are disposed of—Either of the person’s whose names you mentioned to me when I was at your House, can, if they are inclined & would be faithful, give very good information on these points—and it is very much my wish that they should do it speedily and with accuracy—The list which you, and another which Colo. Dayton sent me sometime ago, were both incorrect, as some Corps were inserted that are in the West Indies—and others omitted which were known to be here. No man in the Military line, of common abilities & who has access to New York, can possibly be at a loss to know the total number, and the names of the Corps in the department where he himself is—To ascertain the strength of each, I acknowledge is more difficult, but by no means impracticable with a little address, to accomplish in a short time.

To keep me regularly advised of the Enemy’s strength & how it is disposed of—of their Reinforcements & detachments—and of the state of the Kings ships in, and belonging to the Harbour is of great importance & it is my earnest wish that you would press it upon the persons in whom you seem to place confidence—urging them to be pointed, regular & accurate in all their communications—No Service can be greater than this if it is well performed. These, with an account of them & progress of their public works are of infinite more consequence than all the chit-chat of the Town & the idle conjectures of the Inhabitants respecting the policy & mode of carrying on the War &ca. I am Dr Sir Yr very Hble Servt

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