George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Israel Putnam, 25 June 1777

To Major General Israel Putnam

Head Qrs Quibble Town June 25th 1777.

Dr Sir

I this morning received your favor of the 23d and am happy to hear part of the Cloaths for the Troops have arrived and that More are on the way.

Under the present appearances of things & incertainty of the Enemy’s Operations, I think it unadviseable to detach Glover’s Brigade from peeks Kills. If Genl Howe should make a push up the River, the importance of the Highland passes will demand the utmost attention & every exertion for their Security—The advantages which will result from Troops being at the White plains will be too inconsiderable to draw any part of your force at this critical junture from their present important post—Added to this consideration, If the Enemy have a more Eastern expedition in view, Peeks Kill will be a more convenient place for Troops to march from as it is nearer, and more in the direct Route.

The post you are at is not considered as a Separate Department by any Resolutions of Congress that I have seen, Yet under one of their late determinations you have a right to a Secretary—I think his pay is Fifty Dollars ⅌ month. As to a Deputy Adjutant General, an Officer of that sort seems essential—I therefore authorize you to employ a Gentleman qualified for the purpose, to act for the usual pay and so long as it shall be thought necessary. In your agreement with him, be particular on this Head—That he may not claim the post & pay when circumstances may make it unnecessary to continue him.

From every appearance the Enemy are passing from Amboy to Staten Island—they have been, it is certain, carrying over their Baggage. Amboy is so situated that it is almost impossible to give them the least annoyance in their retreat—They have several strong redoubts across the Neck, and none of their parties come without them. We have now parties of Light Troops lying along their Lines. In their retreat on Sunday we are told by Deserters and some Other accounts,1 that their Grenadiers suffered a good deal as did part of their Infantry from Colo. Morgans Rifle Men. I am Dr Sir Yr Affecte Hub. sert

Go: Washington

N.B. as the D.A.G. will be a Post in the Army, the pay of his present Post will be suspended.

P.S. If Colonel Cornell is at Peeks Kill—I woud wish you to give him the Offer of Depy A. Genl as he is out of employ, & as he is some what acquainted with the business2—Had the Enemy remaind in Jersey I should have approved much of your sending Genl Glover towards the White plains.

Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison and Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The note and postscript are in Tilghman’s writing.

1For the British army’s evacuation of New Brunswick on Saturday and Sunday, 21 and 22 June 1777, see GW to Hancock, 22 June 1777.

2Ezekiel Cornell (1733–1800) of Scituate, R.I., an influential member of the Rhode Island general assembly who had been appointed lieutenant colonel of the 2d Rhode Island Regiment in May 1775, was acting deputy adjutant general of the Continental army from October to December 1776. Cornell had turned down GW’s offer to command one of the Sixteen Additional Continental Regiments earlier this year, and later this year he was appointed brigader general of the Rhode Island militia. Cornell resigned from the militia in May 1780, shortly after which he was elected to the first of three terms in the Continental Congress. Cornell served as inspector general of the Continental army from September 1782 to the end of the war.

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