George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Major General Alexander McDougall, 8 May 1779

To Major General Alexander McDougall

Head Qrs Middle Brook May 8th 1779

Dear sir

I have been favoured with Your Letters of the 1st Instant.1

I am entirely of opinion with you—that the disposition which quartered so large a part of the army on this side Hudson’s river was right, and I shall take occasion to add—that I am perfectly persuaded your conduct throughout your command has been invariably directed and well-concerted to promote the public interest.

With respect to the applications of Officers to resign—I will write you in the course of a few days how the business is to be conducted. It is apprehended at present, that there are some late regulations upon the subject which are not at Head Quarters.2

The Regiment ordered from General poor’s Brigade, will march by New Windsor, if it has not already moved by another route—and proceed from thence to Easton by the way of Mohocamac, where or at some other place on the road it will meet Orders from General Sullivan.3

By the intelligence I have received, a fleet consisting of Twenty large Ships and Several Sloops & Schooners went out of the Hook on Saturday Evening with some Ships of War. The Accounts say that they had 4000 Troops on board (some 6 or 7000) and sundry Light Horse—that conjectures were various as to their destination—but more generally that it is to Georgia. I really fear that whatever their number is, they are going to operate in our most Southern States. It is reported that General Clinton himself is on board—this however seems very improbable. If you can, you will obtain early information both of the amount of the Detachment and of the Commander.4 I am Dr sir with great esteem & regard Yr Most Obedt sert

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, CSmH; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1McDougall wrote his second letter to GW of 1 May as a postscript to his first letter to GW of that date.

2Harrison wrote this paragraph differently on the draft and then crossed it out: “With respect to the applications of Officers to resign—where you cannot prevail upon them to continue in service you will be pleased to transmit their Commissions—that their Resignations and discharges may be indorsed. It will also be necessary in such cases—that the Commanding Officers of the Regiments to which the Officers applying to resign belong, certify that they are not indebted to the public—and the Regt pay Masters that they do not owe their Companies.”

3GW had ordered this detachment in his letter to McDougall of 3–4 May; see also GW to John Sullivan, this date.

4Gen. Henry Clinton did not accompany this British expedition, which was bound for Portsmouth, Va.; see William Maxwell to GW, 3 May, n.2.

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