George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major Benjamin Tallmadge, 29 November 1778

From Major Benjamin Tallmadge

Bedford [N.Y.] Novr 29th 1778


I have just recd a letter from C—— which I have the honour to enclose & forward pr Dragoon.1 I can further assure your Excellency that a Copy of your late instructions has been duly recd by him, an answer to which may be expected by the 6th ensuing.2

My Anxiety for C——’s feelings in his present situation indu[c]es me once more to remind your Excellency of the necessity of having your further directions how to carry on the Correspondence in future. If I am not much mistaken your Excellency was pleased to promise some instructions before we should leave this post. I am doubly uneasy on this head, least the matter may have escaped your attention, inasmuch as we hourly expect a movemt Colo. Sheldon having recd orders for this purpose. When the Corps moves I shall move on with the Regt tho’ I hope & anxiously expect the return of the Bearer, before we reach Fairfd, that I may arrange matters at that place agreeable to your Excellency’s mind.

It may not be amiss to observe, in addition to C——’s Letter, that the Gentleman mentioned by him to have lately arrived from England, is one Doctr Nicoll, a Gentleman of my Acquaintance, on the Veracity of whose Report, I have been persuaded I might safely depend.3

Your Excellency will perceive, by the enclosed that C—— has drawn for 26 or 27 Guineas. In addition to this he has forwarded an Order for the payment of sd Money to his Friend. If your Excellency should see fit to transmit any money, it may be safely intrusted to the Bearer, on whose Integrity I could depend, in matters of much greater importance. With the most profound respect, I am, your most obedt hble Servt

Benja. Tallmadge

ALS, DLC:GW; AdfS, NjP: Papers of Benjamin Tallmadge and Family. The letter was carried “pr Corpl Hubbard.”

1The enclosed letter of 23 Nov. from Samuel Culper to Tallmadge reads: “The inclosed will explain to you a meeting of the Inhabitants, At which I was Present, and with Satisfaction beheld their dejected Countenances, The Commissoners Sales this day in the Roebuck, it is Sd Lord Cornwallace is a going with them, The Second Division under Brig. Gel Cambell that have laid Some time at Sandy Hook, on the Account D. Estang Sailing consisting of about Three Thousand Troops, are to Sail this day, Two Ships with Troops drove to Sea in a violent gale of Wind from the Northward about the 10 Inst. and have not bene heard of Since, A Friget Sent yesterday, with all expedition to Rode Island Said for Transports, The Bedford in the Harbour lost her fore and Missen Mast, is to go home under Jurey Masts with expedition, She was one of four in A. Byrons fleet, that was Missing after the gale of Wind the begining of the Month. With her Came in the Richmond Friget dismasted. The Cannon and Feild Pieces, Are removed from the Common, to Fort George, Some of the Cannon on that Fort, and the Batrey near it are Put as Ballace on board Several Transports, on the 19 Intt. Some Capital Merchants were very buisy the day and night following in packing and Puting their goods on Board Ships, The whole of the Kings Troops on York Island includeing out Posts, Doth not exceed Three Thousand five Hundred men, And not much to be feard from the Inhabitants The Whole City Seazed with a Panik and a general dissatisfaction Taken Place, I am firmely of Opinion that a Sudden Attack of Ten Thousand men Would take the City and Put an end to the War and Save the Stores and L. Island from devastation all the best of their Troops are on L. Island, There is about 300 most of Them Hessians at B. ferry 350 N. Town British, 1500 do Jamacia, 800 Yaugers flushing, 200 Jerico Most of them dragons, 400 foot 70 dragons Oyster bay 150 Loyds Neck N. Leveys 400 Hempteed Dragons, Striping Barnes and out Houses, for Board to build Huts for Winter, 40 Waggons 100 Troops this day at Smith Town Collecting Cattele Sheep Boards &c. They make no distinction betricxt Whig & Tory, Abuse all to a great degree, and no redress Can be obtaind, C. D. Estangs dispaches for France are Taken and Brought to Town but are Cypers Prepared So they Cannot be found out, I will Note to you that much Provision is brought to Town from the Jerseys Privately flour beef &c. I Saw a Gentleman of my acquaintance lately from England where he hath bene three years he Saith Independan[c]e will Certainly be granted this Session of Parliment, my bussiness is expensive, So dangerous Traviling that I am Oblidged to give my assistants high Wages but am as Spairing as Possible. I have Drawn on you for fifty Pounds in Specie york Money which Pleas accept, I Should be glad to have given you a better account but it Cannot be obtaind their Mænuvers are So Strange that Causes every one to admire” (DLC:GW).

The enclosure to which Culper refers is a print broadside dated 19 Nov.: “A MEETING of the Inhabitants having been called this Day by Permission of His Excellency the Commander in Chief, to address His Majesty’s Commissioners previous to the Departure of Lord CARLISLE and Mr. EDEN, and the Persons attending, being by no Means a Majority of the Inhabitants, owing to the Shortness of the Notice, and for Want of knowing that the Invitation was General. The Gentlemen met, being desirous of giving all the Inhabitants within the Lines an Opportunity of declaring their Sentiments, have adjourned the Meeting till this Evening, being Friday, at 5 o’Clock, at Hick’s Tavern when they request every Inhabitant, as well Refugees as Others, will give their Attendance” (DLC:GW).

3Dr. Samuel Nicoll (1754–1796) received his M.B. from King’s College (later Columbia College), N.Y., in 1774, and his M.D. from the University of Edinburgh in 1776; he also studied medicine in Paris. He was professor of medical chemistry at Columbia College 1792–94.

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