George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Elias Dayton, 17 February 1781

Chatham Febr. 17th 1781


I had the honour to receive your Excellencys letter of the 7th instant four days since. I am sorry to acquaint your excellency that my health is not yet as well established as I could wish, being at present exceedingly troubled with a swelling in my thigh which has confined me closely for a fortnight past, it however bears a favourable appearance & I expect to be able to join the troops in a few days. This your excellency may rely upon my doing as soon as I am able to sit on horseback. It has been intimated to me that General Washington disapproved of the measures adopted & pursued with the Jersey mutineers, and my not hearing any thing from the General in answer to my letter on that subject increased my suspicion that my conduct had not been approved. As nothing can give me greater pain than your excellencys displeasure I could wish to be informed what part of my conduct was conceived to be reprehensible, that I might clear it up as I am convinced I could, to the satisfaction of every one. I never wished for lenient steps with the insurgents but would gladly have been concerned in cutting a number of their throats if the officers, Commissioners and Militia whom I consulted had agreed in the propriety of such a measure. I am your Excellency most Obedient & Humble Servant

Elias Dayton

A vessel from General Arnold has arrived at New york in a short passage & brought accounts of his being in a hobble, as they term it themselves one french ship of the line, and two frigates are anchored opposite him in such a manner as to prevent his geting off without assistance from New york.

The enclosed is a letter from an Old correspondent in New york.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


c.17 February 1781

Dear Jack;

I am apt to thinck you are Dead or at Least thinck your Self So as I Have not Heard from you this Long time I Send you By the Barer Some newspapers to Rouse you out of your Lethergy and awaken your Corraspondance as to news Jack we have Backloads of it Some Good Some Bad and Some Kept Secret as posabel what we have from the Suthern army you will Se By This Days paper — which I Send you and three others with different Dates the Pakket is arrived But Her new is Kept a Seceret from the publick all that I Can Lern is that the Genl Has accompts of ten Sail of the Line and twelve thousand french troops that they exspect Has Imbarcked and Saled for Some part of this Contenent and it was Exspected in England that they was arrived Hear Before the packet Could Reach this place, Everyone talks of the Dutch proclaming war in the Spring and many of the prinspal peopel Hear Exspect this place to Be attak Early next Campain How matters Stand On your Side I Cannot tell as I Do not Hear any thing from you—Jack I must Give you the Disscription of One of Capt. wards Guards turned out in the preasone of a Gentelmen of my Acquaintance who furnished me with the following Return

One Corparal with one Eye & Six [   ] five privates Do Six Eyes & twentyfive teeth four negroes Seven—Eyes thirty teeth three Whores tw[   ] and one half the whole Guard as above Stated as to my Old friend B. L—y and G. L. they Had a narrow Escape this Last Snow the perticulars I will Give you at a Conveniant oppertunity Still your

Littel D.

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