George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Charles Scott, 21 October 1778

From Brigadier General Charles Scott

Near Bedford [N.Y.] October 21st 1778


this will be handed to Your Excellency by the Serjt Genl Sullavens Spy who Waits on You to give what Farther Intillagence he may be able.1 I have Since I wrote, ast him Respecting the Disease Your Excy mentiond Some time ago.2 he informs me there was such A report and that they wear Near Burning a Frigit that Brought it in, and that the Yallow Fever and flux Is in the armey and Carry’s of[f] a good many of them. I have had Some of my observers with me Since my letter of Yesterday. who give me nothing more than what I wrote in my last, I expect the fleet Saild this morning as the wind is tolerable fare. the Cannon Began to Fier about Seven oClock this morning at York and I think we have heard upwards of a hundred in the Space of two Hours which I suppose wear Signals & Salutes. Capt. Walls is over the north river on hobucks Point3 if they have Saild I shall hear from him this Afternoon. which Account I will immedeatly forward to You. I have no accounts from the party’s below.

my long indisposition and other Obvious reasons, I am afraid will make it indispensably Necessary for me to Retier from this Honor and most Desirable Command. however I’ll hold out as long as I possable Can and when Necessaty Compells the Measure I hope for Your Excellencys Indulgance. I am Your Excellencys Obt Servant

Chs Scott


1Scott enclosed the following intelligence report dated 20 Oct.: “Serjeant Nathl Brown of Colo. Sherburnes Regt—A spy from Genl Sullivan, sent into the enemy’s Camp on Rhode Island, and from thence to York by Genl Pigot as a Deserter, says he saw the troops embarking to the Amount of ten thousand, Among whom were many of the new Corps, who believ’d they were going to Halifax and the Brittish troops to the West Indies.

“He has been several days at Kingsbridge & says, there are not more than two Regiments at and near Fort Washington, from which they send a Guard of about One hundred to Fort Independence, and a Subaltern’s Guard to each of the Redoubts—There are no troops advanc’d beyond those except about twenty Rangers, who scout in the day & return at night—That 8 or 10 days ago 15 ships of War with several transports sail’d from the Hook but that it was said the wind was not yet fair for them to put to Sea—The troops that embark’d at York last were to sail this day. That they were in great haste all last week in getting down wood to supply the fleet; The inhabitants could not get any ’till they were furnish’d—He did not see the wood-Yard, but was told there was not a sufficiency in it to serve the troops for cooking their Provision.

“After the fleet was supplied, there was a <illegible> Quantity to be laid up for the Garrison intended to be left. He did not see the forage Yard but heard several of the Officers complaining about forage and offering to sell their horses, And that in general they were very poor.

“He says, there are General orders for such of the Refugees from Philadelphia as are desirous to leave the City, to hold themselves in readiness to go with the fleet, And that transports should be provided for them.

“He did not hear them mention their destination, but only that they were to sail with the fleet” (DLC:GW). A brief excerpt from this report was included in an enclosure to GW’s letter to Vice Admiral d’Estaing of this date. Nathaniel Brown served in the 9th Connecticut Regiment after Col. Henry Sherburne’s Additional Continental Regiment was disbanded in 1780.

3Scott is referring to Hoboken, New Jersey.

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