George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Erskine, 24 November 1777

From Robert Erskine

Ringwood [N.J.] November 24th 1777

May it please your Excy

The twenty Ovens ordered last Summer, concerning which I have your favour of the 14th Inst., were delivered as follows; four to Coll Mifflin, as the army passed Pompton; fourteen were sent after it to Morristown, by seven Waggons impressed for that purpose; & two large and ten small ones remained here, when I was at Wilmington, which I mentioned to Coll Mifflin; who ordered me to send four, (Viz. two large & two small) to the Care of Major Taylor at New Windsor, which was done;1 and to keep the rest here till further orders.

From the time I had the honour of speaking with you at the Cross Roads, I fully resolved to enter upon the proposed Office next spring, should it then be vacant; & God willing, I shall devote my whole time to it, if your Exy thinks proper, by the beginning of next April:2 mean while, I have the satisfaction of giving some part of my time now, to the public service; Govr Clinton having accepted of my assistance at New Windsor; where I have been taking Surveys and Levels of the ground near the Chevaux de Frise, for a Fort; which is erecting under the direction of the French Engineer Your Excellency sent to Fort Montgomery.3 I am happy to assist a Gentleman of skill in his profession, from whom much of the art of practical Engineering may be learnt, & shall return to the North River again in a few days, to finish some surveys at New Windsor, Forts Constitution, Montgomery, &c.: Copies of which shall immediately be transmitted your Excellency by May it please Your Excellency Your most Obliged & most Obedt humble servant4

Robt Erskine


1Andrew Taylor had been appointed a deputy quartermaster general, with the rank of colonel, in September 1777.

3Erskine is referring to French engineer lieutenant colonel La Radière. Although La Radière favored the construction of a fort on the site of recently destroyed Fort Clinton, a committee of the New York provincial convention in early January 1778 decided to locate the new defensive works farther up the Hudson River at West Point, a decision which was supported by both Gov. George Clinton and Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam.

4Erskine enclosed what GW later called “an elegant draft of part of Hudsons River” with his letter to GW of 26 Mar. 1778.

Index Entries