George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Israel Putnam, 18 October 1778

From Major General Israel Putnam

Mandoowels hous [N.Y.]1 the 18 of october 1778.

Dear ginrol

I yestorday recived a lin from Collo. hambilton requ[e]sting me to forward the returns that war requierd the oather day thos returns war all maid out and sent of[f] som days ago Except ginrol Clinton which I have heard nothing of but I immedatly Sent of[f] Collo. hambiltons leator to the ginrol and I miak no doubt but he will Comply with the requ[e]st.2 I was down the rivor the day befor yestorday as far as tarreytown the inhabitanc thar are in the gratest Destres thay dar not gathor in thar Corn nor buck wheat for fear of being taken by the enemy but are obbliged to keep always one [on] thar gard and to ly in the wods Every night Sir Harry clinton Sent an ordor to Coll Armand to remove from tarretown or he would Com out and tak them all prisnors and put them to death he immedatly obayed the ordor and marched of[f] and left the inhabitanc without any gard and about 5 tons of Cannon shot Lying one [on] the whorf which I have sent 2 batows Aftor this morning: 3 the Enemy are vary strong at the Bri[d]g[e]4 and at fort Indepanden<ce> But thay say at tarretown that 13 regiments are Sa[i]lled and 6 more are ordred to imbark. Majr Putnam is gon to New york with the flag that mr Cyler went in and when he returns I w[i]ll give you all the nus he brings he has ben gon <10 days, and I look for him every moment.5 I am, sir, with great respect, Yr most obed.

Israel Putnam.>

ALS, sold by Anderson Galleries, New York, item 149, 26 Nov. 1926; Sprague transcript, DLC:GW. The auction catalog reproduces the first page of the manuscript, which includes all of the text except for the last few words of the body of the document, the closing, and Putnam’s signature. The missing text is supplied within angle brackets from the Sprague transcript.

1Jacob Mandeville’s house was on the east side of the Hudson River near Beverly Robinson’s house and a short distance from the ferry to West Point.

2Putnam apparently is referring to GW’s order in the general orders of 9 Oct. requesting brigade and regimental returns that were to be delivered to the orderly office at headquarters by 12 October. Neither Alexander Hamilton’s letter to Putnam regarding the forwarding of returns nor the returns mentioned by Putnam have been identified. For Brig. Gen. James Clinton’s sending of regimental returns from his brigade, see his letter to GW of 22 October.

3On 17 Oct. Hessian captain Johann Ewald delivered a letter concerning prisoner exchanges to Armand at Tarrytown, and the two officers exchanged pleasantries (see 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 , 152). There is no evidence that the British forced Armand to withdraw from Tarrytown at this time.

4Putnam is referring to King’s Bridge.

5For the flag sloop carrying Henry Cuyler’s family and personal effects to New York City, see GW to George Clinton, 8 Oct., and note 5 to that document. Israel Putnam’s son and aide-de-camp, Maj. Daniel Putnam, returned to Mandeville’s house on 23 Oct. (see 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 , 137), and the next day General Putnam directed Major Putnam to “immediately proceed to Poughkeepsie and make y’r Report to Governor Clinton of your proceedings at New York during the time you were at New York under the protection of the Flag sent in at the Request of Gov’r Clinton” (Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 4:204–5).

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