George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 15 July 1781]

15th. The Savage Sloop of War of 16 Guns—the Ship Genl. Washington, lately taken by the Enemy—a row Galley and two other small armed Vessels passed our post at Dobbs Ferry (which was not in a condition to oppose them).1 At the same time three or four river Vessels with 4 Eighteen pounders—stores &ca. had just arrivd at Tarry town and with infinite difficulty, & by great exertion of Colo. Sheldon, Captn. Hurlbut, (who got wounded) 2—Captn. Lieutt. Miles3 of the artillery & Lt. Shayler4 were prevented falling into the hands of the Enemy as they got a ground 100 yards from the Dock and were set fire to by the Enemy but extinguished by the extraordinary activity & spirit of the above Gentn. Two of the Carriages however were a good deal damaged by the fire. The Enemy however by sending their armed Boats up the River took the Vessel of a Captn. Dobbs laden with Bread for the French Army—Cloathing for Sheldons Regiment & some passengers. This was done in the Night—it being after Sunset before the Vessels passed the Post at Dobs ferry.

1These British vessels were dispatched to attack American supply depots at West Point and Tarrytown and American supply boats plying the Hudson River. During the night the British ships “captured a small vessel, laden with flour and clothing for Sheldon’s Dragoons, and they had put nearly all their crews into their boats to attempt a descent and carry off the rest of the supplies which were at Tarrytown; but a sergeant of the Regiment of Soissonnois who was there with twelve men kept up so brisk a fire that he prevented the landing; a half hour later the Americans arrived, who lost a sergeant and had one of their officers severely wounded. On our arrival the Americans placed two eighteen pounders on the right of Tarrytown, and we placed ours on the left” (CROMOT DU BOURG description begins [Marie François Joseph Maxime, Baron Cromot du Bourg]. “Diary of a French Officer, 1781.” Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries 4 (1880): 205–14, 293–308, 376–85, 441–52; 7 (1881): 283–95. description ends , 300–301). The British captured 1,000 rations of bread on board a small vessel commanded by William Dobbs of Fishkill and a negligible amount of military supplies (CLOSEN description begins Evelyn M. Acomb, ed. The Revolutionary Journal of Baron Ludwig von Closen, 1780–1783. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1958. description ends , 96). See also RICE description begins Howard C. Rice, Jr., and Anne S. K. Brown, eds. The American Campaigns of Rochambeau’s Army, 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783. 2 vols. Princeton, N.J., 1972. description ends , 1:34–35; MOORE [2] description begins Frank Moore. Diary of the American Revolution from Newspapers and Original Documents. 2 vols. New York, 1859–60. description ends , 2:459–60.

2George Hurlbut (d. 1783) of Connecticut was a captain in the 2d Continental Dragoons.

3John Miles of New York was a captain lieutenant in the 2d Continental Artillery.

4Joseph Shaylor (d. 1816) of Connecticut was a lieutenant in the 4th Continental Regiment. These officers were thanked for their actions by GW in General Orders, 17 July 1781 (DLC:GW).

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