George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Charles Scott, 2 November 1778

From Brigadier General Charles Scott

Near Bedford [N.Y.] Novr 2d 1778


Your Excellencys favour of the 31st October Came to hand the Same evening. I observe Your Surprize, that no intillegence can be had with any Degree of Certainty. Respecting the Magazines of Forrage and wood. I assure You Sir it has been my Constant instructions to every person in my imploy, to make particular inqurery into these Matters and have been astonished that so Semple a thing could not Be known with Exactness. however I have now a Gentn In the City. who is expected out or a letter from him on thirsday Next1 & if Nothing happens to prevent him, I am Shure he will Give me the Very best intilligence of every thing Possable, he is Really a Gentleman, I recd a letter from Him about two days ago through the Channil he had Laid out. he informs me that he was advancing with Much Ease to answer every wish I had Respecting Intilligence. I know his train is well laid and I’ve no doubt of his Success. Capt. Walls is on the Jersey shore from whom I expect an Acct of the Shiping So Soon as the Wind Lies. his Boat is Small and I am fearfull he Cant git over or I should have Heard from him before this, he told me when he Was hear last that he thaught the Number & Size of the Shiping might be known from the Hills on the other Side. I desierd him to endeavour to git them as near as possable and report to me immediatly. with what ever Movements may be.

I observe Your Excellencys Instructions about Capt. Leavenworth. I have long since been led to Believe that he was Misspending his time and have Wrote him Repietedly about it. Strictly forbiding Him to touch a Single thing on the Island. for that It would totally Destroy our plan for Intilligence However previous to my orders he had taken Some things that he told me belong’d to an officer of one the New Corps. as they wear taken and he assurd me from An officer, I gave him Leave to Sell them with orders Never to attempt a thing of the Kind again. I have Since, been informd that that was not the only hous that He had Robed. under pretence of their Being New leavy officers or torys. I was, at hearing this determind to Recall him. but fearfull it might cause an alarm Before the Matter Could be properly fixed I thaught It best to let him Stay and keep out Spys on him which I have had Several days past. and So Soon as I can be able To fix and Support the Charge he Shall be put in Arest & Sent agreable to Your Excellencys Instructions. I am very Fearfull he will prove a Rascul, however I put no dependance on him for intellegence nor hant for Some time. Mr Pine is imployd in that Quarter who is An exceeding good man. by whom I received Some intelegence Last evening You have it inclosd as also an Account from a person from York Last Fryday2 With <M>ajr Lees Explanation enixed.3 I am Your Obt Servant

Chs Scott

Since Sealing my letter I am informd by an officer from Colo. Gist, that troops wear imbarking on fryday, and that it is Generally thaught By the inhabitance that the City will be evacuated in twelve or fifteen Days.


1“Thirsday Next” was 5 November.

2“Last Fryday” was 30 October.

3An enclosed intelligence report in Scott’s hand, dated 2 Nov. at Bedford, reads: “Intellegence by Mr Pine a Very good man who Informs me that it comes through a proper Channil—he tells me that he gave particular Directions to his man to learn Somthing of their Magazine of Wood and Forrage he informs that they have not Laid in any of Ither for the Winter, and that there is no Vessils Up the Sound after ither, nor has been for 10 days past. a troop of horse and a Company of foot are on the Island to the Eastward of York about Forty miles Said to be looking Quarters for the Troops that Wear to be Stationed there. the whole of the Militia on the Island was orderd down to the West and opposit Statton Island about Six Days ago. a fiew [ad]mitt they wear offerd armes And Amunition but fiew excepted of them. about the 28 and 29th of Last month Rum was Sold in the City for the use of the British armey at 15/ per Gallon by the Hogshead, and put on board as fast as possable a Fleet of about one hundred Sail fell down to the Hook the 28th October with troops on Board Said to be about ten thousand, and Bound for the west Indies. Majr Lee explains that matter Respecting the Second fleet by Saying they had troops & Stors on Board” (DLC:GW).

Another report in Scott’s hand, dated 2 Nov. near Bedford, N.Y., reads: “Intilligence by an inhabitant from York and Left it on Fryday Last.

“he Says that he Saw the 35th & 42d Regts Imbark on thirsday last. he was at the forrage & Wood Yards about 8 days ago. he thinks they have Somthing better than half as much forrage as they Had this time Last Year. he Seems very posative that the wood Yards are not more than half as full as they wear this time Last Year. he Says that there Was a large Quantity of Bale goods on the Wharves about 7 or 8 Days ago. Marked to go on board of Particular but he dont Recolect what ships he Cant tell whether they wear the property of the Merchants or the Armey. he Saw Common Rum Sell at Vandue Last Fryday at 12/ per Gallon by the Hogshead. he also Saw Some of a better Quallity Sold To Mrs Day at private Sale at 14/ By the Single hhd—he Says that he Saw a Mr Ellicock who had the Books and papers of Mr Carr Decd Deliver them to Mrs Carr telling her that he Could not Settle them, as he was obliged to go away Very Shortly, and that she murst do the Best She Could with them her self.

“Delancees 1st & 2d Bettallion and the Corps Called the Irish Volentears he Saw imbark about 8 days ago the Soldiers wear Sufferd to take with them their Wives & Children, and the officers the Whole of their Bagage He is informd that many other New Corps have imbarked from Long Island. there are Some Companys Raising Called the York Guards. But fiew Recrutd Yet. a great number of Transports Lying off New York with Troops on board. Hourly expected to fall Down. he Says that the Comasarys have been through the City and have taken all the Rum that Could be Spard from the famalys, for the use of the Armey. he dont know whether it was put on board or not. one Regt of Hessions Below Lepeners Brewery. one other at the Jews Burying Ground and one Below James Delancees on the Bowry road. ½ a mile Below Genl Scotts hous Lies one Brigade of British Troops two Regiments from which imbarked a fiew days ago. opposit the 8 Mile Stone he Saw about 300 Tents to the west of the Road but Dont know what troops they are. at the 11 Mile Stone there are about 50 tents there he left the Road and went to Miers’s point Saw no more” (DLC:GW). Maj. Henry Lee, Jr.’s “Explanation enixed” has not been identified.

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