George Washington Papers
Documents filtered by: Recipient="McDougall, Alexander" AND Period="Revolutionary War"
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From George Washington to Major General Alexander McDougall, 6 March 1779

To Major General Alexander McDougall

Head Quarters Middle Brook 6th March 1779

Dear Sir

Mr Laurance delivered me your estimate of the strength and position of the Enemy at New York and its dependencies.1 I have since been favd with yours of the 4th instant. I shall endeavour to reinforce your post by the time the nine months men are about leaving you, so that I hope the enemy will be disappointed should they have such intentions as have been communicated to you.

Since I sent up the arrangements of the other Massachusetts Regiments, I have recd that of the late Colo. Aldens which I inclose.2 The promotion of the 7th Captain, who will be Capt. Lieut. Jonas parker, is to take place on the 11th October 1778 as Major Whiting certifies which I suppose is right.3 The subalterns intitled to promotion by this move on the same day likewise. This arrangement has been made among the Officers themselves, and I imagine may be adopted, if none of the other Officers of the line have any objections to make. I am Dear Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. The bare suggestion of an attempt upon the posts in the Highlands (whether true or false) makes me extremely sollicitous to have the Works at West point pushed forward with all possible dispatch, tho’ it should occasion a delay of those at any other place (for between you and me) I fear the expence incurred in building a Bridge over Croton will avail us little, as the enemy will never suffer it to remain there if it is not well defended. The prospect of doing which under our circumstances, I fear is but slender.4 I therefore again repeat my wish that the whole attention in a manner may be turned to the defences at West Point—If there is no longer danger to be apprehended from the Frost, the Chain, I conceive, should be fixed. At all events every preparation should be making for it,5 and I would advise the Officers to keep no Baggage of value in the Neighbourhood of Peekskill, as their attention, should the enemy operate up the North River, must not be withdrawn from other objects to secure it.

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, PPRF; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW franked the cover of the LS and also wrote the postscript on the draft manuscript; the rest of the draft is in Tilghman’s writing.

1For John Laurence, Jonathan Lawrence, and Lt. Jonathan Lawrence, Jr., any one of whom may have delivered McDougall’s estimate of c.16 Feb. to GW, see GW to McDougall, 3 March, and n.2 to that document.

2The enclosed arrangement of the 7th Massachusetts Regiment, commanded by Col. Ichabod Alden until his death on 10 Nov. 1778, has not been identified. For the arrangement of the other Massachusetts regiments, see GW to McDougall, 25 February.

3For Maj. Daniel Whiting’s recommendation to promote Capt.-Lt. Jonas Parker, see GW to James Clinton, 31 Dec. 1778, and n.3 to that document; see also GW to Philip Schuyler, that date. Daniel Whiting (1732–1807) served as a captain in Jonathan Brewer’s Massachusetts Regiment from May to December 1775 and held the same rank in the 6th Continental Infantry during 1776. He was commissioned major of the 7th Massachusetts Regiment on 1 Jan. 1777, became lieutenant colonel of the 6th Massachusetts Regiment, and left the army in January 1781. For Whiting’s reports after the attack on the American outpost at Cherry Valley, N.Y., in November 1778, see George Clinton to GW, 17 Nov. 1778, and n.2 to that document, as well as Edward Hand to GW, 18 Nov. 1778, and n.3 to that document.

4For McDougall’s plans to build a new bridge over the Croton River a mile above its mouth, see his letter to GW of 10 Dec. 1778 (see also McDougall to GW, 4 Feb.).

5For taking up the defensive chain across the Hudson River to save it from damage during cold weather, see William Malcom to GW, 5 Nov. 1778, and GW to Malcom, 8 Nov. 1778. McDougall reported the extension of the chain across the river in his letter to GW of 24 April 1779 (DLC:GW).

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