George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Stephen Moylan, 29 July 1778

From Colonel Stephen Moylan

Hackensac [N.J.] 29th July 1778

Dear Sir

I had the honor to inform your Excellency by Mr Lott, that I intended coming with the Cavalry to this neighborhood,1 on my arrival I reconoitred the country and found a great majority disaffected, and taking every oppertunity of Supplying the enemy, yesterday I Sent a party of 80 horse to Bergen, with orders to drive up what Catle they Coud Collect, from that town, to the point,2 which they have effected by bringing with them near 300 head of horned Cattle 60 sheep Some horses mares & Colts, many of the first are milck Cows, and tho its certain that the milck & butter is for the chief part Sent to Newyork from that Quarter, there appears a great degree of cruelty in taking from a number of famillys, perhaps their only Support, I am teased by the women, and with difficulty can prevail on my feelings, to Suspend my giving to them their Cows, until I have your Excellencys opinion and orders on this Subject—this manœvre has alarmed the City, Powles Hook & the encampment on Staten Island the Fort was mand, So was the Redout at Powleshook, and the army at Staten Island turned out, to the amount, as near as Coud be judged by Major Clough (who Commanded the party) of 3000, tho their encampment woud promise 5000.

I have just Come in from Fort Lee, the heights from Harlem up to Kingsbridge are interspersd with Tents the chief encampment on york Island Seems to me to be at Fort Washington, those immediatly about the Fort are Hessians, there is a pretty large encampment on your Side of Spiten Devil Creek—and a redout with a magazine in its center—one ship pretty near on a line with Col. Morris⟨s⟩ house, another with three small craft near the entrance of the abovementiond Creek, are all the vessels in the North river that I Coud discover At 12 ôClock this day—a report prevails of a French & Spanish fleet being at the Hook, it is believd at Bergen, which your Excellency knows is but four Miles from Newyork. I have the honor to be with great affection Dear Sir Your most obligd H. St

Stephen Moylan

a party Supposed to be of Horse past Fort Washington towards Kingsbridge yesterday morning from Newyork—our Horses fare well, and will I hope be in good order, when your Excellency will please to Command us, I think one weekes rest, will make them fit for any thing—the Sooner I have your Excellencys orders, the more pleasure it will give Your assd H. St

S. M.

ALS, DLC:GW. Moylan’s signed note on the cover of this letter reads: “Let the Dragoon who is bearer hereof pass the ferry.”

1Moylan was referring to his letter to GW of 26 July (see GW to Moylan, 25 July, n.1).

2Bergen Point, at the tip of the peninsula south of Bergen, N.J., is north of Staten Island. British engineer James Montresor noted in his journal for 28 July: “About 100 Rebel Light Horse drove off Cattle from Bergen Neck” (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 , 507).

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