George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Ensign Peter Clayes, 12 May 1776

From Ensign Peter Clayes

[New York] May 12, 1776. “Being the officer of the guard at the old City-Hall over the prisoners confined by order of the Provincial Congress, I was very disagreeably surprised by a very tumultuous noise, occasioned by the mob bringing a certain Charles Oliver Bruff, on suspicion of being a Tory, who is now in my custody.” Asks for GW’s orders regarding Bruff.1

Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 4th ser., 6:430.

Peter Clayes (1754–1834) of Framingham joined Col. John Nixon’s Massachusetts regiment as a sergeant in May 1775 and was commissioned an ensign in Nixon’s 4th Continental Regiment on 1 Jan. 1776. Clayes served in the 6th Massachusetts Regiment from 1777 to 1783, rising to the rank of captain in 1780.

1Charles Oliver Bruff (Brueff), a New York goldsmith, moved from New York to Shelburne, Nova Scotia, at the end of the war and eventually received compensation for substantial losses resulting from his loyalty to the crown.

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