George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Samuel Huntington, 27 December 1779

To Samuel Huntington

Head Quarters Morris Town 27th Decemr 1779.


I last night received a letter, of which the inclosed is a Copy, from General Wayne,1 informing me that the second division of the Fleet put to sea yesterday. It is generally imagined that the first division, which sailed the 23d consisted of returning Transports and private Vessels bound to Europe.2

I have reason to expect, in the course of a few days, from a confidential correspondent in New York, a more particular account of the number of troops which have gone, by whom commanded and where destined, than any I have yet obtained. The moment I receive that or any other intelligence which I deem material I shall transmit it to Congress.3 I have the honor to be with great Respect Yr Excellency’s most obt Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. Since writing the foregoing I have received a letter from General Parsons who commands a body of troops advanced towards the sound, in which he mentions that a number of southern Refugees are said to be on board the fleet, among them Governor Martin.4

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; copy, MdAA, Red Book, 8; copy (extract), FrPMAE, Cor. Polit., Etats Unis, 13; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The extract consists of the first paragraph and postscript. Congress read GW’s letter on 31 Dec. and ordered that “copies be sent by express to the governors of Maryland and Virginia” (JCC, 15:1424; see also Huntington to Thomas Sim Lee and to Richard Caswell, 30 Dec., in Smith, Letters of Delegates, description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends 14:311–12).

1The enclosure, which is in DNA:PCC, item 152, was an extract from Wayne’s letter to GW of 26 December.

2For the British fleet that sailed on 23 Dec., see Samuel Holden Parsons to GW, 23 Dec., n.1.

3GW is referring to communications from the Culper spy ring that did not arrive until 18 Jan. 1780 (see GW to Huntington, that date, DNA:PCC, item 152; see also an extract from Samuel Culper, Jr., to John Bolton, 11 Dec. 1779, in DNA:PCC, item 152, and Culper, Jr., to Bolton, 27 Dec., in DLC:GW). Samuel Culper, Jr., was an alias for Robert Townsend, and Bolton was an alias for Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge.

4See the first letter from Parsons to GW, 26 December.

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