George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General John Sullivan, 20 September 1777

To Major General John Sullivan

Near Fatland Ford [Pa.] 20th Sepr 1777

Dear Sir

As it seems most probable to me that the Enemy will ford the River upon our Right, I desire you will immediately send parties to break up and throw Obstructions in the landing places of all the Fords from Richardsons at least as high as parkers where we crossed Yesterday. Advise the Officers who superintend, not to neglect such as the Country people tell them are difficult, because at such places the Enemy will be most likely to pass, thinking we shall pay least attention to them. Let a Subaltern and twelve Men constantly remain at each of Fords to give Notice of the approach of the Enemy, and besides these keep a small party or two under proper Officers upon the left Wing of the Enemy, to see that they do not steal a march upon our right. Any other precautions that seem, in your opinion, best calculated to prevent a surprize you will please to put in practice.1 I am Dear Sir ⟨your mos⟩t obt Servt

⟨Go: Washington⟩

P.S. Collo. Moylan will keep parties of Horse constantly over the River.

L[S], in Tench Tilghman’s writing, NhHi: Sullivan Papers. Tilghman addressed the cover: “To Major Genl Sullivan near Richardsons Ford.”

1GW’s aide-de-camp John Fitzgerald wrote Sullivan at 8:00 P.M., 21 Sept., from headquarters near Thompson’s Tavern: “By order of his Excellency [GW] I have to Inform you that this Army is about to March up the Road by which we came down & is not to Halt untill we get beyond that Road which leads from Parker’s Ford into the Reading Road, beyond the Trapp[.] It is the Generals desire that you move on with your Division so as to be nearly on a Line between us & the schuylkill, leaving a Small Pickett at each Fording Place as a party of Observation[.] Generals Maxwell & Potter are to March up & Join you. . . . P.S. Before you leave your Encampment you will please make large Fires so that your March may be unexpected[.] You will also please give Notice to Colo. Moylan that he may move in Concert” (DLC:GW).

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