From Major General Philemon Dickinson
Near the Meeting House [Monmouth, N.J.]
29th June 1778 ½ past 3, OClock P.M.
I am under the disagreable necessity of informing your Excellency, that on my return to this place, I found the number of my Militia greatly reduced, & lessening hourly—there is a universal murmur amongst them, on account their Grass, corn, &c., &c., which they say, will be ruined in a few days, as no Persons can be employed to secure them—as those People, will frequently take it into their Heads, to determine the propriety of movements, they think themselves too far in the rear, (in this warm weather) to come up with the Enemy, being as they say, exceedingly fatigued—I have consulted with all the Field Officers, who are unanimously of opinion, that if they move from this Place, we shall not have one hundred Men in the Morning.
I am extremely sorry, to communicate this disagreable intelligence, to your Excellency, as I should upon every occasion, execute your Orders with Pleasure, when in my Power.
I have said every thing proper upon the present occasion, but to no purpose, your Excellency knows the nature of Militia, I was in great hopes ours, would have continued, untill the Enemy had left the State.
This moment the inclosed came from Col: Neilson, who has about one hundred & fifty men with him, perhaps they may continue till to’morrow or next day.1 I have the honor to be Your Excellencys most Ob. St
I have Endeavour’d to prevail with most of them, to wait untill they are discharged, that they may return with credit.
1. The enclosed letter from Col. John Neilson to Dickinson, dated 29 June from “Vandorens Mill,” reads: “The Enemy with their Baggaje the whole of it I beleive is ⟨got⟩ down to Middletown and a large number of Troops, they continued their march Yesterday Evening without halting Along the most private Roads in this part of the Country by which means they Evaded the Sharpest lookout, Except the little party I mentiond to you before It is said a Number of Light horse & Some foot passed by the same Rout this Morning About Day Light, they are now in Middletown with their Baggage and Some Artillery, had they come along the Road that no Person Doubted but they would come, great part of their Baggage must have fallen into our hands.”
The postscript, dated “10 O Clock Monday Morning,” reads: “This Moment a Man came in and Informs that 100 Grenadiers call’d at a house on the Road from Monmouth Courthouse to Colts Neck who inform’d the Women in the house they were the Rear Guard of the Enemy, that the Damn’d Rebels has given it to them so warmly yesterday they Last night made a forced March & Left them to bury the Dead of which there were a few, Another man who lay in the Woods & had charge of ⟨illegible⟩ & Neighbours goods say’s thet they march’d within 300 yards of his Cabin in a greet hurry from and hour before Day Light untill an hour After sun rise, I have horsemen out Reconnoitring as Soon as they return with proper Information shall move towards them, The Above acct can be Depended on the Gentlemen here knows the Informant” (DLC:GW).