George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Charles Pettit, 17 September 1778

From Charles Pettit

Mrs Reynolds’s 5 Miles south from Bedford [N.Y.]—½ a Mile
from the main Road 17 Sepr 1778—2 o’Clock p.m.


A few Minutes ago, Mr Worthington Assistt Commissary of Purchases informed me he had just parted from Joseph Hobby of Horse Neck, Capt. Ezekl Hyat & Major Strang who informed him that this Morning, being at Horse Neck, they saw a large Fleet pass towards New York, larger they imagined than the Fleet which some Weeks since went to New Port. Mr Worthington could tell me no farther particulars, but told me the Gentlemen would be along in a few Minutes. I sent to desire they would call on me, but they were gone another Road and could not be found.1 It is therefore out of my Power to give your Excellency farther Particulars.

If the Weather permits I propose to move to Fredericksburg Tomorrow. I have the Honr to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellency’s most obedt hume Servt

Cha. Pettit A.Q.M.G.


Although GW’s assistant secretary James McHenry docketed this letter “17th Sept. 1778 from Colo. Pettit,” the addresses of GW’s letters to Pettit do not attribute any military rank to him, and he is not known to have held one at this time.

1On this date the British fleet carrying Maj. Gen. Charles Grey’s troops back to New York from their recent raids on New Bedford and Fairhaven, Mass., and Martha’s Vineyard sailed west through the Long Island Sound from Fishers Island to Whitestone, Long Island, where the troops landed on 19 Sept. (see Gruber, Peebles’ American War description begins Ira D. Gruber, ed. John Peebles’ American War: The Diary of a Scottish Grenadier, 1776–1782. Mechanicsburg, Pa., 1998. description ends , 220; see also Charles Scott to GW, 20, 21 Sept., and 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 , 214–15). The assistant commissary of purchases was probably Asa Worthington (1755–1822) of Colchester, Conn., who served as inspector of cattle in the commissary general’s department from 18 Nov. 1778 to 15 June 1780. Joseph Hobby (1741–1787) of Greenwich, Conn., was a captain in the Connecticut militia.

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