George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Nathanael Greene, 22 November 1777

From Major General Nathanael Greene

Mount Holly [N.J.] Novr 22d 1777.

Dr Sir

I came to this Place yesterday morning—the Difficulty of crossing the Baggage over the River prevented it’s coming up last night. The Boats & Scows at Burlington are under very bad Regulations—Gen. Varnum had retreated as I wrote your Excellency before to this place1—He left a Party of Militia at Haddonfield; I am afraid there has a very considerable Quantity of Stores fallen into the Enemies Hands, but principally belonging to the Fleet. The Enemy and the Militia had a small Skirmish at little Timbercreek Bridge, the Enemy crossed there in the Afternoon & encamped.2 They say they are going to take Post at Haddonfield to cover the lower Counties & open a Market from thence; Those Counties are some of the most fertile in the State from whence great Quantities of Provisions can be drawn—A large Number of Boats went up to Philadelphia from the Shiping yesterday Morning—there were some Soldiers on board of them.

Colo. Morgans Corps of Light Infantry advanced this Morning for Haddonfield—If the Troops can be got in Readiness I intend to put the whole in Motion this afternoon. We are greatly distrest for want of a Party of Light Horse—I must beg your Excellency to forward some as soon as possible.

I have heard nothing from Glover’s Brigad⟨e.⟩ I sent an Express to the commanding Officer yesterday—but from the present Situation of things I beleive it will be best not to wait their coming up.

Every Piece of Intelligence necessary for my Information with Regard to the Movement of the Enemy in the City, I must intreat your Excellency to forward to me by Express.

Colo. Shreeve will attempt to turn out the Militia, but the Commissary’s Departme⟨nt⟩ is in such a bad Situation & the People so unwilling to furnish Supplies—that it will be difficult to subsist a large Body.

A considerable Body of light Horse would be very useful here.

Your Excellency’s Letter of the 22d Inst. is just come to Hand. You have in this, all the Intelligence which I have received. I am with the greatest Respect your Excellency’s Obdt Servant.

Nath. Greene

LS, DLC:GW; LB, CSmH: Greene Papers. The cover contains Greene’s signed pass for the express rider: “Permit the Bearer to pass unmolested.” The right margin of the LS is frayed, and the text in angle brackets is taken from the LB.

2British officer Archibald Robertson gives an account of the British advance on 21 Nov. in his journal entry for that date but does not mention a skirmish at Little Timber Creek bridge: “21st by Daybreak the Army march’d by the Bridge over Manto Creek which might be strongly defended from the Opposite Side. The 7th and 63d Regiments were posted here to keep up the Communication with Billingsport and to Collect Cattle. The Rest of the Army went to Woodbury where they were encamp’d (3½ miles) on very advantageous ground round the Village. The 1st Light Infantry took Possession of Red Bank and the Bridge over Timber Creek which was Broke up, the Detatchment of Grenadiers went to Red Bank and the Light Infantry there join’d their Corps about ¾ mile from Woodbury. The Rebels retir’d by Haddenfield towards Burlington. Went to the mouth of Timber Creek” (Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends , 156–57). Little Timber Creek, the north branch of Great or Big Timber Creek, rises in Gloucester Township, Gloucester County, N.J., and flows westerly for about six miles before converging with Big Timber Creek’s southern branch near the Delaware River. This Little Timber Creek should not be confused with another creek in Gloucester County of the same name, which rises in Woolrich Township and flows northwest for seven or eight miles before entering the Delaware below Chester Island.

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