George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General John Sullivan, 14 June 1777

To Major General John Sullivan

Head Quarters Middle Brook 14th June 1777

Dear Sir

I am uneasy at hearing nothing from you. The Enemy have advanced a party, said to be two thousand, as far as Van Ests Mill upon Millstone River. They have been skirmishing with Colo. Morgans Rifle Men,1 but have halted on a peice of high Ground. Some Accounts say that their main Body has marched by the Brunswic Road towards princetown but by neither seeing your Signals nor hearing from you I am intirely at a loss how to act. I beg you will the Moment you receive this, send me back a trusty fresh Express with an Account of Matters in your Quarter: by a safe Rout. I am Dear Sir Yr most obt Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. draw every Man of the Militia, that you possibly can, together.2

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, NjMoHP.

1After hearing cannon fire in the area of the Millstone on 15 June (see Robert Hanson Harrison to Morgan, 15 June 1777, in NN: Myers Collection, Daniel Morgan Papers), GW directed his aide-de-camp Richard Kidder Meade to issue orders to Col. Daniel Morgan for his riflemen to continue skirmishing with the British troops: “His Excellency desires you will continue to keep out your active parties, carefully watching every motion of the Enemy, and have your whole Body in readiness to move without confusion, and free from danger. He likewise requests that you make your Men be particularly carefull of their Provision, or they must often suffer” (NN: Myers Collection, Daniel Morgan Papers). Morgan’s riflemen continued to harass the British troops for several days after receiving these orders (see GW to Putnam, 17 June 1777).

2Later on this date GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman wrote Sullivan at GW’s direction: “His Excellency wrote to you a few hours ago, but lest some Accident should happen to the Express he desires me to give you the Substance. The Enemy have advanced this Morning as far as Van Ests Mill. They had some skirmishing with Colo. Morgans Rifle Men and have halted and taken post upon a high peice of Ground. The Number said to be 2000. Accounts say that their main Body have marched by the Brunswic Road towards princetown but by not seeing your signal or hearing from you it seems improbable. You will, therefore please immediately upon the Receipt of this, dispatch a trusty fresh Express with an Acct of Matters in your Quarter. . . . P.S. You will please to call in as many Militia as you can assemble—for you may be assured this Move indicates a general one” (DLC:GW).

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