George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Lafayette, 25 June 1778

From Major General Lafayette

Cranburry [N.J., 25 June 1778]
half past nine o’clock

dear general

inclosed I have the honor to Send you a Letter which clel hamilton was going to send me from this place when I arriv’d with the detachement, and which may give you an idea of the position of the ennemy1—I will try to meet and Collect as Soon as possible our forces, tho’ I am sorry to find the ennemy So far down that way—we’ll be obliged to march pretty fast if we want to attak them—it is for that I am particularly Concern’d about provisions—I Send back immediately for that purpose and beg you would give orders to have them forwarded as Speedily as possible—and directed to march fast, for I believe we must Set out early to morrow morning—the Detachement is in a wood, covered by Cranberry creek and I believe extremely Safe2—we want to be very well furnish’d with Spirits as a long and quick march may be found necessary, and if general Scot’s detachement is not provided it Schould be furnish’d also with liquor—but the provisions of this detachement are the most necessary to be Sent as Soon as possible, as we expect them to march.

if any thing new comes to my knowledge I will immediately write to your excellency, and I will Send an express in the morning. I have the honor to be dear general Your most obedient Servant

The Marquis de lafayette

I wish also we could get some axes but it schould not Stop the So important affair of provisions.

An order was given to day to the Commissary General of Issues to provide a Commissary for the detachment, and to send on with him immediately two days provisions for six thousand men (the reason of this number will be obvious)—But lest he should be dilatory, it will be well to spur him on.

ALS, PEL. The last paragraph was written by Alexander Hamilton, who also addressed and signed the cover.

1Alexander Hamilton, who was assigned to accompany Lafayette as liaison officer, rode ahead of the detachment to gather intelligence. Hamilton wrote to Lafayette at “9 OClock” on this date from “Doctor Stile’s House Cranbury Town,” N.J.: “We find on our arrival here, that the intelligence received on the road is true—The enemy have all filed off from Allen Town on the Monmouth road. Their rear is said to be a mile Westward of Laurence Taylor’s Tavern, six miles from Allen Town. General Maxwell is at Hyde’s Town, abt three miles from this place. General Dickinson is said to be on the enemy’s right flank, but where cannot be told—We can hear nothing certain of General Scott but from circumstances he is probably at Allen Town. We shall agreeable to your request consider and appoint some proper place of rendesvous, for the union of our force, which we shall communicate to General Maxwell & Scot and to yourself. In the mean time, I would recommend to you to move towards this place as soon as the convenience of your men will permit. I am told Col. Morgan is on the enemy’s right flank. He had a slight skirmish with their rear this forenoon at Robert Montgomery’s, on the Monmouth road leading from Allen Town—We shall see General Maxwell immediately, and you will hear from us again … send this to the General after reading it. We are just informed that General Scot passed by Hooper’s Tavern, 5 miles from Allen Town this afternoon at 5 OClock” (DLC:GW).

An undated letter from Hamilton to Brig. Gen. Charles Scott, possibly written around this time or shortly after, reads: “This part of the troops marches instantly—We are to join in the Monmouth road one mile this side of Taylor’s Tavern⟨.⟩ You will govern yourself accordingly. If you can find Morgan let him be desired again to keep close to the enemy and attack when we attack. … you will endeavour to keep up a communication of intelligence” (Sotheby’s catalog, 19 May 1997, item no. 77).

The house of physician Hezekiah Stites (1726–1796) stood atop a hill south of Cranbury Creek, at what is now 53 South Main Street in Cranbury, New Jersey. Lafayette made his headquarters in Stites’s house after arriving in Cranbury at about 9:30 p.m. on this date, and GW did the same after arriving in Cranbury at about 9:00 a.m. on 26 June. GW’s aide Robert Hanson Harrison paid $9 to Stites on 27 June, along with $1 “To a servt at Mrs Watkins’s by the Genls order” (vouchers and receipted accounts, 1776–80, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 29).

2Cranbury Creek, a tributary of the Millstone River, flowed on a roughly east-west course to the south of Cranbury.

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