George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Brigadier General William Maxwell, 31 August 1778

To Brigadier General William Maxwell

Head Qrs [White Plains] 31 Augt 1778

D. Sir

It is at this present crisis extremely interesting to our conduct to learn with exactness and certainty the force that is reported to have sailed for New Port by way of the Sound, & that from the Hook, and whose command they are under. It will be necessary to discover what particular corps have been embarked—what baggage—what heavy cannon and artillery and how the transports (those especially that sailed from the hook[)] were provided with provisions, whither for a long or short voyage.

You will without loosing a moment imploy the best means in your power to answer these several purposes—and in case you are possessed of intelligence on any of those subjects you will send me it as soon as possible. I have only to recommend great diligence and dispatch in this matter. I am &c.

You will send the inclosed to Col. Ogden.1

Df, in James McHenry’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1This sentence was written in the left margin of the draft. GW’s letter of this date to Col. Matthias Ogden reads: “I would wish in case you have carried, or can put in execution the plan for obtaining intelligence to imploy it immediately on the following objects.

“What number of troops and the particular corps have Embarked on board the transports that went up the sound, and how many in the vessels that sailed from the Hook—with what artillery and the stock of provision—whether provided in the latter for a long or short voyage—What general officers commanded—if General Clinton—or Lord Cornwallis—or both.

“I wish to have these several facts established as soon as possible, and when made known, sent me by express” (NjMoHP).

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