George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel John Cadwalader, 11 December 1776

To Colonel John Cadwalader

Head Quarters Falls of Delaware 11th Decemr 1776


From the Movement of the Enemy downwards, I think it highly necessary that the Post at Dunks’s Ferry should be guarded. I therefore desire that one of the Battalions of your Brigade may immediately march, and take post at that place. If it is agreeable to you I would chuse—the 3d Battalion under the Command of Lt Colonel Nixon.1 The other two Battalions should be under Orders to march at a Moments Warning—I expect the pleasure of your Company at dinner, but if you cannot come, as soon after as is convenient. I am Sir Yr most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, PHi: Cadwalader Collection. Tilghman addressed the cover: “To Colo. John Cadwallader Commandant of Pennsylvania Militia,” and he wrote a note on it that reads: “The Battalion that goes down should be provided with two Feild peices, with Artillery men & Ammunition in proportion.”

1Because Cadwalader, who was colonel of the 3d Regiment of Philadelphia associators, at this time was commanding the brigade of the city’s associators that had been called out to reinforce GW’s army, the command of his regiment was taken by its lieutenant colonel, John Nixon (1733–1808). A prominent Philadelphia merchant who had been an active supporter of the American cause before the war, Nixon served as a member of the Philadelphia committee of correspondence in 1774, a delegate to the provincial conventions in 1774 and 1775, and a member of the Pennsylvania committee of safety from October 1775 to July 1776. On 8 July 1776 Nixon, as sheriff of Philadelphia, conducted one of the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence in the statehouse yard (see Duane, Marshall’s Diary description begins William Duane, ed. Extracts from the Diary of Christopher Marshall, Kept in Philadelphia and Lancaster, during the American Revolution, 1774–1781. 1877. Reprint. New York, 1969. description ends , 83). Congress in April 1776 appointed Nixon a Continental prize agent, and on 13 Nov. 1776 it named him to the Continental Navy Board for the middle district, in which capacity he served until he resigned from the board in May 1778 (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 , 4:300–301, 6:946–47, 11:484). In 1780 Nixon became a director of the newly formed Bank of Pennsylvania. He was named a director of the Bank of North America in 1784 and its president in 1792.

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