George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Charles Scott, 31 August 1778

From Brigadier General Charles Scott

[Westchester County, N.Y.]
31st Augt 1778 ½ past 5 oClock


I recd Your Favour through Colo. Tilghman, Particular attention shall be paid to it,1 Capt. Leavensworth is now on long Island for that purpose2 But fearing he may Fail I will Dispatch a nother Person, about 8 oClock this morning Colo. Gist Fell in with a partie of the enemy about two mile Below Philaps’s hous and after exchanging a fiew Shot they gave way leaving one killed Dead & Making three prisoners the Colo. Returnd to his Usial post without any loss—But I am sorry To inform Your Excellency that they retalliated on us in a Very fiew hours, Majr Steward with a partie of about forty, and Capt. Nimham with about the Same number parted at Volentines hill and appointed to meet at the forks of a road near the Enemys Picquet, but before or Rather about their meeting they saw a partie of horse In front after exchanging a fiew Shot the Horse Gave way the indians persued when they war led Into an ambucade Serounded by a large body of Horse and foot, as was also the Majrs partie there are not more than fourteen Indians Yet com in among the missing is Capt. Nimham his father and the whole of the officers of that Corps, Majr Steward tells me that he misses a Capt. Sub. & About twenty men from his partie, I am in Hopes it is not so bad as it at Preasant appears But I cant promise my self that it will be much Short of it3—I have Detached Colo. parker with Three Hundred men to reinforce and Stay with Majr Steward this night and endeavour to ⟨brek⟩ Up their Ambuscade in the morning. I am Your Excys Obt Servt

Chs Scott


1The favor has not been identified.

2Eli Leavenworth (1748–1819) of New Haven served as a captain of the 7th Connecticut Regiment from 6 July to 10 Dec. 1775 and as a captain of the 19th Continental Regiment throughout 1776 before becoming a captain of the 6th Connecticut Regiment in January 1777. In November 1778 he was promoted to major, with the appointment retroactive to 18 Sept. 1777. He retired from the service in January 1781.

3Hessian captain Johann Ewald recorded both these engagements in his diary for 31 Aug.: “Early today Captain Donop patrolled toward Philipse’s house with one hundred foot jägers and fifteen horse. He was scarcely half an hour away from our outpost when he fell into an ambuscade lying in a ravine to his right, since he had marched by his nose without taking every precaution. Two corporals and four jägers were killed by the first fire, six wounded, and four captured. A quick flight saved the remainder. … After this stroke, the enemy party turned toward East Chester through Philipse’s Manor into the area where Simcoe, Cathcart, and Emmerich were posted. These officers got wind of it and broke camp at once. Simcoe moved to the left through the woods past the enemy party to cut off its retreat. Cathcart and Emmerich went to meet the party with a part of their corps to draw the enemy’s attention upon themselves. They had concealed the other part, especially the cavalry, behind the hills to attack the enemy unexpectedly. … In the afternoon, about four o’clock, the enemy approached and began to skirmish with our skirmishers, who withdrew, and the enemy pursued them vigorously. The cavalry of Emmerich and the Legion burst forth, charged, and drove back the enemy, who was now attacked in the rear by Simcoe between Post’s and Valentine’s plantations, where he had to cross a defile.

“The Indians as well as the American defended themselves like brave men against all sides where they were attacked, so that a hot fight resulted in five or six parties where the heavily wooded terrain offered cover. By seven o’clock in the evening, however, most of the enemy were killed, partly shot dead and partly cut down by the cavalry. No Indians, especially, received quarter, including their chief called Nimham and his son, save for a few. Only two captains, one lieutenant, and some fifty men were taken prisoners. … The loss on the English side amounted to some forty dead without the wounded” (Ewald, Diary description begins Johann Ewald. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven and London, 1979. description ends , 144–45; see also Simcoe, Operations of the Queen’s Rangers description begins John Graves Simcoe. Simcoe’s Military Journal: A History of the Operations of a Partisan Corps, Called the Queen’s Rangers, Commanded by Lieut. Col. J. G. Simcoe, during the War of the American Revolution . . .. 1844. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 83–86; Burgoyne, Diaries of Two Ansbach Jaegers description begins Bruce E. Burgoyne, ed. and trans. Diaries of two Ansbach Jaegers: Lieutenant Heinrich Carl Philipp von Feilitzsch and Lieutenant Christian Friedrich Bartholomai. Bowie, Md., 1997. description ends , 45; Whinyates, Services of Francis Downman description begins F. A. Whinyates, ed. The Services of Lieut.-Colonel Francis Downman, R.A., in France, North America, and the West Indies, between the Years 1758 and 1784. Woolwich, England, 1898. description ends , 79; Baurmeister, Revolution in America description begins Carl Leopold Baurmeister. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784, of Adjutant General Major Baurmeister of the Hessian Forces. Translated and annotated by Bernhard A. Uhlendorf. New Brunswick, N.J., 1957. description ends , 205; Royal Gazette [New York], 2 and 5 Sept. 1778).

Abram Nimham, a Stockbridge Indian, was captain of a company of Indians who had volunteered for service in the fall of 1777 and been ordered by Congress to join Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates ( JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 9:840). He and his father, Daniel Nimham (c.1726–1778), were among those killed in the engagement. The other missing captain, who was taken prisoner, was Nathan Goodale of the 5th Massachusetts Regiment (see “Vaughan Journal,” description begins Virginia Steele Wood, ed. “The Journal of Private Zebulon Vaughan, Revolutionary Soldier, 1777–1780.” Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine 113 (1979): 101–14, 256–57, 320–31, 478–85, 487. description ends 109; Scudder Journal description begins The Journal of William Scudder, an Officer in the Late New-York Line, Who was taken Captive by the Indians at Fort Stanwix, On the 23d of July, 1779, and was holden a Prisoner in Canada until October, 1782, and then sent to New-York and admitted on Parole: With A small Sketch of his Life . . .. [New York?], 1794. description ends , 27–28; Baldwin, Revolutionary Journal description begins Thomas Williams Baldwin, ed. The Revolutionary Journal of Col. Jeduthan Baldwin, 1775–1778. 1906. Reprint. New York, 1971. description ends , 133).

Index Entries