Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Brigadier General William Maxwell, 25 February 1779

To Brigadier General William Maxwell1

Head Quarters Middle Brook [New Jersey] 25 Feby.


His Excellency has received a line from Mr. Williamson2 informing him of the enemy having entered Elizabeth Town.3 If their design should appear to be any thing more serious than surprising that post, and they should be in force sufficient to approach this army; he desires you will retire gradually harassing and delaying them in their march to give the more time for our dispositions here. You will carefully preserve your communication with this post; and give frequent advice of their progress. The General does not think it probable they have this in view; but he thinks it proper to be upon his guard. You will endeavour to ascertain their force.

I am Sir   Yr. Most Obed serv

A. Hamilton   A.D.C.

Genl. Maxwell

ADf, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. The date line and signature are in the writing of Tench Tilghman.

1Maxwell was in command of the American forces at Elizabethtown, New Jersey.

2Mathias (Matthias) Williamson of Elizabethtown, New Jersey.

3On February 25, the British raided Elizabethtown burning a few houses. They retreated after inflicting only minor damage, and Maxwell pursued them to their boats.

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