George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Commodore John Hazelwood, 12 October 1777

From Commodore John Hazelwood

Ship Montgomery October 12th 1777

I received your Excellencys just now,1 but to comply with your desire at present is impossible, as the Enimy have one Battery at the Mouth of Schuylkill and another at or near Hollenders Creek, and large parties of Men station’d in different parts above and below Webbs Ferry. Also one redoubt opposite to Fort Mifflin, which was attack’d this Morning by landing a number of Men, and the Galleys covering them and firing on the redoubt, but the Enimy appear’d so much superior in number to us that our people were oblig’d to return after having two Men killed and five Wounded.2 Our Fleet is so reduc’d by Desertion that four of the Galleys have not Men enough to Man One, and if I should land a number of those on board the other Galleys I can have no dependence on their return. Your Excellency may depend I will do every thing in my power to distress and annoy the Enimy, and join most heartily in any measures with the Gentlemen of the Land Army and give them every assistance in my power and am Sir Your Most Obedient Humble Servant

John Hazelwood

P.S. If your Excellency could furnish me with One hundred and fifty Men acquainted with the water, it would enable me to support the pass effectifely.


2Capt. John Montresor wrote in his journal entry for this date: “At 11 o’clock this morning about 500 Rebels landed in the front and 2 flanks of the Battery with Bayonets fixed (previous to which they shelled it with a very heavy cannonade, from the Fort [Mifflin], Floating Batteries and Gallies) our detachment of 50 men ½ Hessians ½ British under a Hessian Captain; received them with a well directed fire of musketry, the attack for ¾ of an hour, the rebels concealing themselves under the Dyke and behind trees and bushes, in the mean time Major [William] Gardiner with 50 Grenadiers moved from his post to outflank the rebels and the battery, which he succeeded in by the rebels taking to their boats, during which the detachment of the battery kept up a smart fire. We lost 2 British and 2 Hessian Grenadiers and 3 British wounded. The rebels took their killed and wounded off in their boats under their own fire” (Scull, Montresor Journals description begins G. D. Scull, ed. The Montresor Journals. New York, 1882. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vol. 14. description ends , 465; see also Whinyates, Services of Francis Downman description begins F. A. Whinyates, ed. The Services of Lieut.-Colonel Francis Downman, R.A., in France, North America, and the West Indies, between the Years 1758 and 1784. Woolwich, England, 1898. description ends , 40–41, and William Bradford to Thomas Wharton, Jr., 13 Oct. 1777, in Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964–. description ends , 10:146).

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