George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Charles Scott, 13 September 1778

From Brigadier General Charles Scott

[Westchester County, N.Y.]
1/2 past 11 oClock Sept. 13th 1778


I have this moment Intelligence from Colo. Gist That, by a Deserter he is informd that there are about Five thousand of the enemy Coming out, two thousand On the Albany road & three thousand on Mile square Road. the deserter says that he belong’d to one of the Parties. in consequince of this I have put every thing In the Greatest readiness to receive them. mean time I Have orderd Majr Lee & Majr Tammage to keep Out Strong Patrolling parties, on the Right and left of our incampment and also infront. if I should Hear with Certainty that they Mean to reach my Camp I shall Fier three Musquets as an alarm Which May be heard at Head Quarters, (I think) But least it Should not a horsman Shall be dispatched To give You the Earliest Intelligence possable.1 I am Your Excellencys Obt Servt

Chs Scott

ALS, DLC:GW. Scott signed a note on the cover: “Suffer the Hors man to pass to Head Quarter.”

1This intelligence was received at night. Private Zebulon Vaughan of the 5th Massachusetts Regiment noted in his journal for 14 Sept., “Last Night thare was a larom [alarm] in Camp desarter Come to us and informed that five thousand was on thar march to give us Batel Now it is 8 in mor [morning] of th Clock and thay are not Come all ouer Sick Sent of [off] to the Horspitel” (“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 110). Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Gilbert of the same regiment recorded on 14 Sept. that the alarm occurred “About two hours before Day” (Symmes, Gilbert Diary description begins Rebecca D. Symmes, ed. A Citizen-Soldier in the American Revolution: The Diary of Benjamin Gilbert in Massachusetts and New York. Cooperstown, N.Y., 1980. description ends , 36 –37).

GW’s aide-de-camp John Laurens evidently replied to Scott at “¼ after 1 Oclock” on the morning of 14 Sept.: “His Excellency desires that you will immediately as it shall appear to you that the enemy have a serious design of advancing—despatch a horseman to Col Carlton who commands at Tarry Town—to give him notice of it if he has any oarsmen in his party, he will send them on board the Batteaus & Vessels to assist in getting them off.

“The General desires that you will inquire particularly of the Deserter, whether any Troops have crossed lately from Long Island—or whether any have come on this side Kings bridge and the adjacent posts—as Forts Washington, Independence &c.” (Kirkland, Letters on the American Revolution, 1:40, dated [5 May 1777]).

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