George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Matthias Ogden, 28 September 1778

From Colonel Matthias Ogden

Elizth Town [N.J.] 28th Sept. 1778


I was honored with a line from your Excellency dated 16th Inst. which I recieved on my return from our state Cloathier1—Agreeably to our information the enemy are now manoeuvreing, their real design is yet to us a secret, it seems more than that of forageing—what is doing at Hackinsack we are ignorant of, I hope your Excellency has proper information; this much I can assertain; that they are there in force, commanded by Clinton & Cornwallis2—Genl Vaughan commands 3000 troops at statten Island, (we expect) to co-operate with the troops at Hackinsack—we have been waiting to recieve the statten Island troops this five days, if they do not move soon, I shall give over looking for them & esteem it a finesse, to keep us, with the Militia at this place—Yesterday & the day before seventy sail of, Sloops & Schooners, went up Newark bay for Hackensack, these Vessells are such as are fit for carrying forage—some provission, but no troops were on board them, they were co[n]veyed by three or four small vessells of force—They have now laying at statten Island, two floating batteries & six Gallies for the purpose of covering their landing, which they give out they will effect in the day time at this place—Genl Heard will be here this Morning with 1000 Men he expects double that number by to morrow Genl Winds lays in the Vicinity of Hackinsack and had last evening about 1000 Men—I shall have certain intelligence from the Island this evening, which I shall communicate if material. I am with the greatest respect

M. Ogden

ALS, DLC:GW. Ogden wrote in the lower-left corner of the addressed cover: “By Capt. Dickey.” The bearer apparently was Alexander Dickey, who was a captain in the New Jersey naval service.

1GW’s letter to Ogden of 16 Sept. has not been found.

2Lieutenant General Cornwallis was the sole commander of the foraging expedition to New Jersey. Gen. Henry Clinton arrived at Cornwallis’s camp at New Bridge, N.J., on the evening of 25 Sept., and the next day he accompanied a reconnaissance party to Hackensack. Although British captain John Peebles heard that Clinton was “to stay some time,” the general returned to New York on 27 Sept., prompting Peebles to write in his diary: “He flies about like an apparition” (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 , 222; see also Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends , 182–83).

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