George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General John Sullivan, 16 July 1777

To Major General John Sullivan

Head Quarters Clove [N.Y.] 16th July 1777
9 O’Clock P.M.

Dear Sir

I imagine you have, in consequence of former orders, crossed the North River; but if it should not be totally effected when this reaches you, I beg it may be done as soon as possible, for from some advices in the Course of this day, it seems as if the Enemy were moving their Shipping from the watering place up towards New York, some have already gone up as far as Dob’s Ferry.

From my present opinion of Matters, the posts that you should occupy, in case of the Enemy’s approach, should be those in the Rear of Peekskill, but as I am in a manner a Stranger to the Ground, I must refer you to the Advice of Genl Putnam & Govr Clinton, both of whom, the latter in particular, are well acquainted with the most advantagious passes.1 I shall remain here with the main Body of the Army till I see with more certainty whether Genl Howe does or does not really intend to move up the River. I am &c.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The docket on the draft reads in part “to Genl. Sullivan at New Windsor [N.Y.] per Express.” Although the actual letter received by Sullivan has not been found, Peter Force’s nineteenth-century transcription of it indicates that GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman added the following closing before signing it in his own name: “His Excellency having gone to rest before this was ready for signing, I take the liberty to subscribe Dear Sir, most respectfully yours” (DLC:Peter Force Collection). Sullivan received this letter on 17 July (see Sullivan to George Clinton, that date, in Hammond, Sullivan Papers description begins Otis G. Hammond, ed. Letters and Papers of Major-General John Sullivan, Continental Army. 3 vols. Concord, 1930-39. In Collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society, vols. 13–15. description ends , 1:415–16).

1Sullivan wrote New York governor George Clinton on 17 July seeking advice for choosing the “most proper and advantageous Place” to form an encampment near Peekskill, N.Y. (Hammond, Sullivan Papers description begins Otis G. Hammond, ed. Letters and Papers of Major-General John Sullivan, Continental Army. 3 vols. Concord, 1930-39. In Collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society, vols. 13–15. description ends , 1:415–16). Clinton, who was at Fort Montgomery, N.Y., directed Sullivan to move his troops down the “York Post Road” and to appeal to generals Israel Putnam and Alexander McDougal for more direct assistance (see Clinton to Sullivan, 17 July, ibid., 416). Sullivan’s division encamped on a hill between Crom Pond and Croton, several miles from Peekskill, on 22 July (see Putnam to GW, 21 July).

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