George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Caesar Rodney, 6 September 1777

From Brigadier General Caesar Rodney

Midd[1]etown [Del.] Septr 6th 1777

Dr Genl

Immediately on the rect of your Letter of yesterday I dispached one of my Light Horse with yours to Colo. Richardson Who he fortunately found at the Head of Sassafrass—By the same had1 I wrote to Collo. Gist to obtain and give me the best information of the movements of the Enemies Fleet and have inclosed you his Letter to me on that Head—He mentions the rising and imbod[y]ing of some Tories and refers to another Letter sent herewith2 as to those mentioned to be in Kent on Dalaware I am apprehensive it must be without foundation because I have very Good inteligence from that Quarter every day and have hear’d nothing of it—When I arrived here yesterday was informed by a number of people that four Hundred of the Enemy had Landed that morning at Town point—the farthest point of Land between Elk and Boheamy3 I immediately sent a party off that way—the officer has returned and Reports that he was down on the point and all through that neck and that there were none of the Enemy to be Seen—I have a party of foot just Setting Out to Take a view of the enemy about Aitkens Tavern where I am informed they Still Lye—I had forgot to Tell you that the Officer of the Horse informed me he Took a View of the Elk River, and that he saw but three or four Vessels Small Vessels of war—Before I Left Wilmington I Drew five boxes of Ca[r]tri[d]ges, Could not then Obtain a wagon to bring them—The President promised to have them sent immediately However by some means or Other they are not Come.4 for want of them I am much distressed not having more than four Rounds I think the New Castle Malitia now may & Hope they will join me. I am Sir Yr Most Obedient Humbe Servt

Cæsar Rodney

P.S. A person Just Come from Kent on Delaware Says, there is a Report there that a Number of Tories on the Borders of that County and Maryland have Embodied that Some of them are taken, and that it is believed they were Encouraged to it by the Methodists Many of whose preachers are in that Quarter.

LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, NN: Emmet Collection. The closing and the postscript of the LS are in Rodney’s writing. The draft does not include the postscript.

GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman replied to this letter on 7 Sept.: “His Excellency, being called out to the lines this Morning, commands me to acknowledge the Rect of your favr of Yesterday. We have undoubted information that the Enemy have sent all their Baggage and Tents on Board, and have drawn their whole force on this side the Town of Elk, having destroyed all the Grain which they found in Store there. This being the Case, the General desires that you would keep strong parties nearer the Enemy than you are at present, in order to keep them from making excursions to collect Horses of which I fancy they are in great want, to move their Artillery with expedition. If you find, upon a consultation with the other Officers, that you can, consistant with the Safety and Conveniency of your men, move your whole Force nearer the Enemy than you are at present, it will answer two Valuable purposes. You will effectually check all but large Parties from coming out, and you will be ready to fall upon their Rear should they move towards us. In this the General wishes you to consult and cooperate with Colo. Gist, Colo. Richardson and Genl Cadwalader, who, altho’ he bears no rank in Maryland, has been very active in collecting the Militia, and is a Gentleman upon whose Judgment you may rely. I hope if any Spirit of disaffection should appear below that it will soon be checked by making a severe example of the Ringleaders” (DLC:GW).

1The draft reads: “by the Same hand.”

2These letters have not been identified.

3Town Point in Cecil County, Md., located on the north side of the mouth of the Bohemia River, is the western tip of Bohemia Manor.

4John McKinly was president of the state of Delaware.

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