George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General William Maxwell, 1 June 1778

From Brigadier General William Maxwell

Mount Holley [N.J.] 1st June 1778


I inclose to your Excellency a Letter from Coll Shrieve which contains all the Inteligence we have in these parts.1 I inclose the whole to General Dickeson who I make no doubt will forward it immediate to you. One of my Pickets took up James Burnett with the Inclosed pass he says he belongs to the 12th Virginia Regt and I thought it improper to let him pass & go on board a Privateer I will send him to General Dickeson to be forwarded to Head Quarters.2 This Moment a Deserter arived that formerly belonged to the 2d Jersey Regt he came out at 11 o’clock last night by the way of Frankford he says that Lord and General How is not come back but that a Packet came in on friday evening3 he saw several letters that came in he says that there is great disturbance in England & believes they have acknowledged Independance to us, but that the[y] must not mention it till the Soldiers are Marched or gone on board for fear of Dezertion. he says it is the prevailing opinion that they will march through the Jersey, He says ⟨11⟩ pie⟨ces⟩ of Cannon was brought over to this side yesterday. it is supposed they will march to morrow. The Soldiers has put all on Board only 2 shirts & their haversacks even their blankets is on board. The Merchants is hurrying their goods on board. He says there is two Woomen to a Company left to go by land the rest are all on board. He say they draw a weeks provision now at once, and their drawing day was this but they had orders Yesterday to draw their weeks provision which they did, There is two too-horse Waggons to carry the Weekly Provision for the Regt. The Officers has all their Horses on shore yet. It is reported that there is to be a Council held at General Clinto⟨n’s⟩ Quarters to day & that they will march to morrow. I am Your Excellency Most Obedt Humble Servant.

William Maxwell

12 oclock N.B. A Deserter is just come in from Coopers Ferry from the 55th left them at 10 oclock last night. says the 7th Regt 55th 63d the Cammeronians & two Battns of the new Leveys is on this side, that the Grenadiers & light infantry is expected over to Joyn them to day, that they have partly the same Baggage with them they had when they came from the head of Elk, they have two woomen to a Company the others all on Board.4


1The enclosed letter from Col. Israel Shreve to Maxwell, dated 1 June from “Foster town,” N.J., reads: “Capt. Beasly Met me here Last Evening Informs me he, with Coll Ellis and a Good Glass, Vewed the Shiping At the City and those in Sight below, (from the Neighbourhood of Gloucester) he Says he thinks there was about Seventy at the City, Sixty between Gloucester and Above the Chevaux De Freze, about twenty passed the Chevaux De Freze, yesterday these makes 150, a Great Number, Gone Down below, Now I make No Doubt they have Vessels Enough to Carry them off, from Several persons of Credit, who all agree Lord and Gen: How Are Actually Returned to the City, meeting a Packet from England, they Returnd Last Saturday, assoon as they arived, it was Cryed through the Streets, that all private property must be on Board by Tuesday which ReDoubled their Deligence, Our prisonrs Returned and Landed, this packet is Laid to Bring terms to Congress nearly as Good as we Ask, Consenting to our Independance, this is Current Report only.

“the Enemy yesterday moved their Incampment over Coopers Creek near the Bridge, their Number Not Known, I am Going with Capt. Beasly Down to Git all the Intillegence I Can—Shall Return this Evening, or tomorrow Morning If No movement ⟨mutilated⟩ … Please to Excuse Interlining &c. paper Scarce” (DLC:GW).

2James Burnet served during the war as a private in the 4th, 8th, and 12th Virginia Regiments.

3Friday evening was 29 May. British captain John Peebles noted in his diary that the “March Pacquet” arrived in Philadelphia on 27 May and the “April Pacquet” on 31 May (Gruber, Peebles’ American War description begins Ira D. Gruber, ed. John Peebles’ American War: The Diary of a Scottish Grenadier, 1776–1782. Mechanicsburg, Pa., 1998. description ends , 184–85).

4British captain John Montresor noted in his diary for 30 May that “the 7th and 26th [Regiments] crossed the Delaware to Cooper’s Ferry in the Jersies to join the Corps posted there under the Command of Brig. Genl Leslie” (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 , 495).

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