George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Benjamin Tallmadge, 10 August 1782

Head Quarters Newburgh Augt 10th 1782


I find it very important from a variety of considerations, to have the most difinite & regular information of the state of the Enemy at New York, which can possibly be obtained; particularly with regard to the Naval Force which now is in that Harbour, or shall be there in the course of the Summer or Autumn; as the communications which have formerly been made under your auspices, have been very much interrupted since I went to the Southward last Campaign; I wish you without delay to open again, or at least to renew effectually, the channel of Intelligence through the C—s or any other Friends you can rely upon, in such a manner, as to keep me continually and precisely advised of every thing of consequence that passes within the Enemy’s Lines.

I do not repeat what I have often said of the general & particular species of Intelligence which alone can be interesting & necessary, because you are well acquainted with my Ideas on that subject; but I think it expedient to inform you explicitly, that the great object of which I desire to be perfectly ascertained at this period is, "the number of Ships of War & Armed Vessels now in the harbour of New York, together with the names, Rates, & condition of the Ships &c."—this will be usefull for the moment, but it is essentially necessary also that this information should be kept up, without intermission, for which purpose every fluctuation in the State & numbers of the Fleet, every arrival & departure of Ships of War, Transports &c., should be exactly observed and reported; And I must request your Correspondents may be impressed with the necessity of acquiring their information from actual observation & [the best] possible sources of knowledge, instead of relying at all on vague reports & the misinformation of others: I know your correspondents, have heretofore, in general, been well informed, and that the only [great] difficulty has been in the circuitous route of communication, for which no other remedy can be applied but the greatest diligence & dispatch, let that be attended to, let me hear from you soon & often on these points, & believe me to be, With great regard & esteem Sir Your most Obedient Servt

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