George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Alexander McDougall, 8 April 1778

To Major General Alexander McDougall

Head Quarters Valley Forge 8th April 1778

Dear Sir

I have been favd with yours of the 29th March and 3d instant. The Fleet which arrived in Delaware, as mentioned in mine of the 31st ulto, came from N. York; but they had very few troops on board, so that if those transports, which were at the Hook with Troops, have sailed, I know not certainly where they are gone. General Lee, who came out of Philada a few days ago upon parole, says he thinks they were to go to Rhode Island to replace some troops which were to be brought from thence to New York.

The practicability of the Enterprize mentioned in mine of the 31st ulto will depend intirely upon circumstances and must be still, as it was then, left to your own good judgment and that of the Gentlemen with whom I desired you to consult1—The sending on Van Schaiks Regiment must also depend upon the intelligence you receive from New York. If you find that the Enemy are not in a situation to make an attempt upon you, but still too strong for you to attempt any thing against them with a probability of success, I would have you, in that Case, send the Regiment forward as quick as possible.

The number of Men in parsons’s Brigade admitted to Furlough amazes me. Their terms must certainly be by this time expired, and I beg that Genl Parsons may exert himself in having them collected and brought to their Regiments, as all the Officers of other Regiments who have men absent upon that account ought to do.2

The Recruits who have not had the small Pox and who are intended for the Regiments with this Army ought not to halt or touch at the places where the Hospitals are. If they do, they will more than probable take the infection and be seized with the distemper upon the Road. An Officer may be posted at some convenient place in Connecticut to give them directions in this matter. I am with great Regard Dear Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, NNGL; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW signed the cover of the LS.

1At this place on the draft, Tilghman wrote and then struck out the following text: “If you find that the Enemy, by having sent off Troops, have weakened themselves so much that they cannot prosecute the Scheme mentioned by the Spie, I would have you in that Case send ⟨illegible⟩.”

2At this point on the draft, Tilghman wrote and then struck out the following incomplete sentence: “I hope Our public Credit has been at the worst, and, if means can be fallen upon to pay off the old debt.”

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