George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel John Cadwalader, 25 December 1776

To Colonel John Cadwalader

Head Quarters [Bucks County, Pa.] Decr 25th 1776


I have yours of Yesterday1 & have no doubt of your doing every thing in your Power to Promote the Enterprize which I wish you may do as far as you see consistent with Propriety.

If nothing more is adviseable a Diversion may facilitate the attempt above—The Dover Militia you may keep to assist you2—Genl Putnam will have Instructions how to dispose of the rest, I wish Colo. Reed may see Colo. Griffin before his men are Despers’d3—should any Occurrence of Moment happen, you’ll please advise me of it immediately. I am Sir Yr very Hble Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in John Fitzgerald’s writing, PHi: Cadwalader Collection.

1This letter has not been found.

2This company of thirty-five militiamen from Kent County, Del., militia was commanded by Capt. Thomas Rodney. It left Dover on 15 Dec. and arrived at Bristol on 22 December. For the march of this company and Cadwalader’s request to annex it to his division, see Rodney, Thomas Rodney’s Diary description begins Cæsar A. Rodney, ed. Diary of Captain Thomas Rodney, 1776–1777. Wilmington, Del. 1888. In Papers of the Historical Society of Delaware, vol. 8. description ends , 11–21.

3Joseph Reed says that he went to Philadelphia on the night of 24 Dec. “to urge Genl Puttnam if possible to reinforce Col. Griffin & engage the Attention of the Enemy in that Quarter during the Attack now fixed for the 25th but he found Col. Griffin had returned very ill, that the two Companies of Virginians had also returned leaving their two small Pieces of Iron Cannon & a few Militia at Morris Town & Haddonfield. Genl Puttnam tho’ anxious to do something found that the Shortness of the Time & the unprovided State of the Militia would not admit of the Corporation [cooperation] design’d” (“Reed’s Narrative, 1776–77,” description begins “General Joseph Reed’s Narrative of the Movements of the American Army in the Neighborhood of Trenton in the Winter of 1776–77.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 8 (1884): 391–402. description ends 393; see also Robert Morris to John Hancock, 26 Dec., in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 5:673–75, and John Cadwalader’s first letter to GW, 26 Dec., n.3).

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