George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Major General Stirling, 15 September 1778

To Major General Stirling

[White Plains, 15 September 1778]

You are tomorrow morning at the hour appointed for marching;1 with the second Line, to take the route by Doctor Daytons at North Castle—Elijah Hunters at Bedford—second Bridge over Croton River—Lt Samuel Haits—Capt. Browns2—and Wilsons Tavern to Fredericksburg—if any better road can be pointed out, that will not be liable to the objection of interfering with the Columns commanded by Generals De Kalb & McDougal, you will pursue it in preference.

Baron De Kalbs division will seperate from Genl McDougals at Croton Bridge,3 from which place it will begin to communicate with yours and continue to do so, till it joins you at Fredericksburg where it will be under your Command.

You will send for and consult Majr Strang and Capt. Delavan, on a proper position for the second Line and Genl De Kalbs Division to Encamp in4—In the choice of it regard is to be had to two capital objects—first—a communication with the North River—and a facility of supporting our defences there—secondly—a farther move Eastward, if any enterprises of the Enemy should render it necessary to oppose them in that quarter—some degree of attention is likewise to be paid to the convenience of pasture and forage.

With respect to this latter article I am farther to desire that it may be spared as much as possible on the immediate communication between Boston and Fish Kills, that there may be a sufficient Stock reserved for the benefit of the travelling Teams.

The Park of Artillery is to move with your Line, between the Brigades of Parsons & Clinton—All the baggage of the General Staff is for the first day to march in front of your Column, in the particular order that will be communicated to you by the Quarter Master General. Given at Head Quartrs the 15th Septr 1778.

Go: Washington

You are to march by the left regulating your order of march, by the principles established in a General order of the 1st June—and by another of this day.

I shall proceed with a small party of horse to West Point, Fish-kill and Fredericksburg—dispatches for me are to be sent on that route.

LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s and John Laurens’s writings, PHi: Gratz Collection; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Meade wrote all of the LS except for the postscript, which is in Laurens’s writing.

1The marching time was 7 a.m. (see General Orders, this date).

2David Dayton (1731–1777), who had practiced medicine in Westchester County as early as 1768, was a member of the New York Provincial Congress in 1775. Elijah Hunter (1749–1815) received a Continental commission as a first lieutenant in the 4th New York Regiment in June 1775 and was promoted to captain in January 1776. Appointed captain of the grenadier company of the 2d Westchester County Regiment of militia in May 1776, Hunter declined a Continental appointment as a captain in the 2d New York Regiment the following December. Samuel Haight (Hait), who had been appointed a first lieutenant in the 3d Westchester County Regiment of militia in 1775 and had been promoted to captain in June 1778, operated a tavern at present-day Somers, N.Y., about halfway between Peekskill, N.Y., and Danbury, Connecticut. Andrew Brown, who had been appointed a captain in the 3d Westchester County Regiment of militia in 1775, lived about three miles northeast of Tarrytown.

3Maj. General Johann Kalb’s division was ordered to separate from Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam’s division, not Maj. Gen. Alexander McDougall’s division (see GW’s letters to Kalb, McDougall, and Putnam of this date).

4Joseph Strang (1725–1794) of Crompond, N.Y., served as the first major of the 3d Westchester County Regiment of militia from 1775 to June 1778, when he resigned his commission. Strang also was one of the New York commissioners for detecting and defeating conspiracies from 1777 to 1778, and in January 1779 he was appointed an assistant commissary in Westchester County. The other offi cer to whom GW is referring is probably Nathaniel Delavan (Delevan, Delivan; 1746–1798), who was appointed a captain in the 3d Westchester County Regiment of militia in 1775, and who replaced Strang as major of that regiment in June 1778. However, he could be Samuel Delavan (Delevan, Delivan; 1752–1786), who was appointed captain of a company of Westchester County rangers in 1776 and a captain in the 3d Westchester County Regiment in June 1778. Nathaniel Delavan became major of the 4th Westchester County Regiment in October 1779 and served at least through 1781. Samuel Delavan became captain of a company of Westchester County light horse in February 1779, and in November 1783 he and his horsemen escorted GW into New York City following the British evacuation of it.

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