George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to George Clinton, 26 October 1777

To George Clinton

Camp near White Marsh 15 Miles from Philadelpa
Octob. 26: 1777.

Dr Sir

Your favor of the 20th I received Yesterday afternoon, and feel much for the havoc and devastion committed by the Enemy employed on the North River. Their Maxim seems to be, to destroy where they cannot conquer, and they hesitate not, to pursue a conduct that would do dishonor to the Arms of the most savage1 Barbarians. I know your feelings upon the occasion, and regret, that you were not in a situation to check their progress. This procedure I hope will call forth the exertions of all and that in the course of Events, we shall have more solid grounds for triumph. A Copy of the Articles respecting General Burgoyn’s surrender reached me this morning for the first time.2

When General Putnam informed me of the capture of Fort Montgomery, he wrote to Congress upon the subject.3 By the first Opportunity, I shall transmit them a Copy of your Letter now before me.4 I am happy you detained Colo. Malcom, as you found him so serviceable, and consent to his remaining, as long as you shall think him of essential use. As to his Regiment, it is now here. Had I been apprized of the circumstance you mention, before it marched, I would not have ordered it to join this Army.

I have the pleasure to inform you, that on the 22d Inst.,5 about 1200 Hessians under the command of Count Donnop, attempted to storm our Fort at Red Bank and were repulsed with the loss of about 4006 in killed—wounded & prisoners. The Count is among the prisoners & badly wounded—Our loss upon the occasion did not exceed thirty Two—and those were chiefly wounded. Immediately after the repulse, the Enemy retreated with great precipation and recrossed the Delaware as soon as possible.7 The next morning several of the Enemy’s Ships warped through the lower tire of Chivaux defrize and attacked Fort Mifflin and our Armed Vessels8 which were posted near it. The Canonade was severe & after a long continuance they were obliged to return. The Enemy on their part lost One large Ship said to be the Augusta of 64 Guns and a Frigate of 32. They were both burnt; whether from our shot or from what other cause is not ascertained. the large Ship had got on Ground.9 They seem’d much determined to carry these posts. I hope these disappointments10 will prevent their further attempts—However they are not yet done, there having been a Canonade this Morning.11 I am Dr Sir with great regard & esteem Yr Most Obedt sert

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, CSmH; Df, DLC:GW; two Varick transcripts, DLC:GW. The draft and the Varick transcripts are dated 25 October. The wording of the LS varies somewhat from the draft, and significant differences are given in notes 1, 4, 6, 8, and 9.

1At this place on the draft manuscript, Harrison first wrote and then struck out the words “the most uncivilized.”

2A copy of the “Articles of Convention between lieutenant general Burgoyne & major general Gates,” dated 16 Oct. at Saratoga, is in DLC:GW. British general William Howe first received a copy of the convention on 31 Oct. (see Scull, Montresor Journals description begins G. D. Scull, ed. The Montresor Journals. New York, 1882. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vol. 14. description ends , 472).

3See Israel Putnam’s first letter to GW of 8 October. Congress on 15 Oct. read a letter from Putnam of 8 Oct. (see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 9:805).

4GW did so in his letter to Henry Laurens of 1–3 November.

5The draft reads: “In the afternoon of the 22d.”

6The draft reads: “between four & five Hund[r]ed Men.”

7For accounts of the unsuccessful Hessian attack on Fort Mercer at Red Bank, N.J., on 22 Oct., see Samuel Ward, Jr., to GW, 23 Oct., and note 2.

8The draft reads: “Fort Mifflin on Mud Island & our Gallies & Armed Vessels.”

9The draft reads: “The Canonade was severe and of long continuance but without other damage to us than the loss of three or four Men killed & wounded. The Enemy on their part, lost Two Ships—One said to be the Augusta of 64 Guns—the Other a Frigate of 32. The first in returning, got on Ground, and fearing that she would fall into our hands, they burnt her themselves. The latter accidentally took fire and was consumed. According to report, the Roebuck also suffered considerably.” For an account of the burning of the British warships Augusta and Merlin on 23 Oct., see Robert Ballard to GW, 23 Oct., n.2.

10At this place in the text, the draft includes the words “they have met with.”

11Some shots were exchanged during the morning between the British warships and the American galleys, which were trying to cover parties seeking salvage from the wreck of the Augusta.

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