George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Nathanael Greene, 1 August 1776

From Brigadier General Nathanael Greene

Camp on Long Island Augt 1. 1776

Dear Sir

Colo. Hand Reports thirty Sail of Ships standing in for the Hook. Perhaps this may be part of the foreign Troops.1

I detacht for the Galleys between forty & fifty men yesterday. Two Companies that have been with Col. Foremans Regiment are gone from this post to Join their Regiment under General Heard.2 The Troops in general are exceeding Sickly, great numbers taken down every day. If the state of the Army will admit of a Reinforcement at this Post perhaps it may be prudent. If it does not, I will do the best I can with what I have got. I am with all due respect your Excellencys most Obedient Servt

N. Greene


1Ambrose Serle, who was abord Lord Howe’s flagship the Eagle, writes in his journal for this date: “This Morning between 40 and 50 Sail appeared in Sight, which proved to be Sir Peter Parker’s Fleet, with Generals Clinton & Lord [Charles] Cornwallis, and the Troops under their Command, on board. They have had an unsuccessful Attempt upon Charles Town, and lost near 200 Men, in Killed & Wounded, belonging to the Ships. . . . the Reinforcement of 2900 Men is an agreeable Circumstance, and especially as they are in very good Health. The Ships, in coming in, made a very fine Appearance” (Tatum, Serle’s Journal description begins Edward H. Tatum, Jr., ed. The American Journal of Ambrose Serle: Secretary to Lord Howe, 1776–1778. San Marino, Calif., 1940. description ends , 52; see also GW’s second letter to Hancock of 7 Aug.).

2David Forman (1745–1797) of Freehold, N.J., commanded a regiment in Gen. Nathaniel Heard’s brigade of New Jersey levies during the summer and fall of 1776. On 24 Nov. 1776 GW ordered Forman to suppress a Loyalist insurrection in Monmouth County, N.J., and in January 1777 GW named him colonel of one of the sixteen additional Continental regiments (see GW to Forman, 24 Nov. 1776, DLC:GW, and 10 Jan. 1777, NjMoHP). Appointed a brigadier general of militia by the New Jersey assembly in March 1777, Forman functioned as both a Continental and militia officer during the ensuing campaign. He was posted in his native Monmouth County for much of that time, but in the fall of 1777 he joined GW’s army in Pennsylvania with a brigade of New Jersey militia reinforcements and fought at the Battle of Germantown. Forman resigned his militia commission in November 1777, and in the spring of 1779 his additional regiment was consolidated with Col. Oliver Spencer’s Additional Regiment. At the Battle of Monmouth in June 1778, Forman was temporarily attached to Gen. Charles Lee’s staff and provided guides for the Continental army. During the latter years of the war, Forman frequently sent GW reports about the movements of British ships in and out of New York Harbor, intelligence that GW found to be particularly useful (see GW to Forman, 7 Sept. 1781, DLC:GW). Forman also played a prominent role in the confiscation of Loyalist estates in Monmouth County and was a leader of the Association of Retaliation, a local band of vigilantes who raided suspected Loyalists.

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