George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Benedict Arnold, 16 June 1777

From Major General Benedict Arnold

Carryells Ferry
June 16th 1777 8 OClock P.M.

My Dear General

I wrote your Excellency yesterday that the Boats, Scows, &c. were sent up the River Eleven Miles, to a place called Tohegan,1 except such as were Necessary here, which, would be secured from the Enemy in case of their approach, since which I have had no direct, and but very imperfect Intelligence from your Excellency, I am at a loss if any part of your Army, has removed from Middlebrook, and more so of your Excellencys intentions, the Enemy I am informed are at Summerset height’s, intrenchg General Sullivan is at Flemington, with Sixteen hundred, Continental Troops, the Jersey Militia & One Thousand Men, I have sent him from this Place, half Continental, the others Militia, I expect Colonel Bull here to’morrow, with five hundred State Troops Part of two Battallions engaged for the Warr, General Mifflin writes me yesterday the City Militia, will move this morning, I am informed there is about Two thousand Of them, they bring Ten pieces Cannon four, Sixes, & Twelve Prs & One Royal Howitizr, Two hundred Tents, One Thousd felling Axes, One Thousd Spades, & Shovels, One quarter part of the Militia of this State are Ordered out immediately, except two of the Western Counties, the whole, including the City Militia, I am informed will Make Ten thousd Men, three thousand of the Southern Continental Troops are on their March, & will be in Philada In the Course of a Week—Six heavy pieces Cannon, four Gallies & Ten Armed Boats, are Arived, at Bristol, & Trenton Ferries—the Enemy must be desperate Indeed if they attempt to push for Philada—As the Militia can be but Illy Spared at this busy season, I wish to know as Early as posible your Excellency’s Orders respecting them, if you wish to have them in the Jersies, or on this side the Delaware, if the latter for the Defense of the Passes on the river, One half will effectually Answer the Purpose, I have examined, & Inclosed your Excellency a Sketch of the, Passes between this and Trenton Ferry, four or five thousand Men with a few Pieces Cannon, will effectually guard the whole and As far down as Philada with the Assistance of the Gallies, & Armed Boats, against Twenty Thousand Men, Above Corryells Ferry I am Convinced the Enemy will Never Attempt to Pass.2 I hope the Troops will be Ordered for a different purpose, that of Securing the Enemy where they are in the Jersies. If they are detained here I shall employ them in Fortifying the banks of the river agt the Passes.

I have sent of this Evening Via Flemington Four Waggons, Musquet Cartridges qt. Sixty Six Thousand, Under an Escort of Seventy five Men. I have only to Add, with great respect & Esteem I am Your Excellencys most Obedt Hble Servt

B. Arnold

ALS, DLC:GW. Enclosure: Delaware Fording Places, 16 June 1777.

1The village of Tohickon in Bucks County, Pa., is located on the Tohickon Creek near where the creek flows into the Delaware River.

2Arnold enclosed a list of likely crossing places on the Delaware River made on this date:

“About two miles above Trenton Ferry at Mahland Kerbrights [Mahlon Kirkbride] Farm: there is a Ford which is passable when the river is low, at this time there is 5 feet water: here the river is still & wide.

“At Yarleys Ferry four miles above Trenton the river at the head of the Island below the Ferry is fordable when the river is low, at this time there is four feet Water something rapid—At the Ferry it is dead Water, & a good place to lay a Bridge of Pontoons—the river is about three hundred yards wide—a good road from Maidenhead & Princeton to the Ferry.

“Scuder Falls two & an half miles higher up there is a ford rapid four & an half feet water about one hundred & fifty yards to the Island & four hundred over—Between Yarleys Ferry & Scuders Falls there is no sutable place for Bridge.

“At Browns Ferry two miles above Scuders Falls, there is still water two hundred & fifty, or three hundred yards over—A Road from Pennytown, Maidenhead, Princeton & Brunswick comes directly to this place.

“A Knowles Cove two miles above Browns Ferry is a narrow pass one hundred & twenty five Yards over, rapid & deep—no Road of consequence leads to this place, the Country ruff—all below is a smooth Country.

“At Petits Ferry one mile above Knowles Cove is a fording place, four or four & an half feet Water, 300 yards over, still water, for a Bridge & Roads from Pennytown &C. Country hilly, on Jersey, level, on Pennsylvania.

“To the foot of Wills [Wells] Falls is three & an half miles from Petits, here is a still water deep & only one hundred & fifty yards over, the Country ruff on all sides & several large Roads Leads to this place.

“From the foot of the Falls to Corrells Ferry is one & an quarter miles rapid, deep, & wide, one Island between.

“At Corrells Ferry still, four hundred yards over deep.

“N.B. the Banks at the foot of Wills [Wells] falls are equally high On each Side One hundred & fifty Yards back from the Bank. On the Jersey Shore is a high Ground, easily defended, which Commands the Opposite Shore at the distance of Abt four hundred Yards” (DLC:GW).

Mahlon Kirkbride’s farm was at Doylestown in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Scudder Falls is about three-quarters of a mile from Somerset, N.J., or about six and one-half miles above Trenton on the Delaware River; Knowles Cove is about ten and one-half miles above Trenton; and Wells Falls is about a half mile below Lambertville, New Jersey.

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