George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Phillips, 30 December 1778

From Major General William Phillips

Fish Kill [N.Y.] December 30th 1778


The difficulties attending my journey, from Stormy Weather and bad roads, have rendered it impossible for me to travel quick, but I have met with some distress with my baggage and that of my family from want of regularity and authority over the Waggoners for carrying the Baggage—Colonel Hay has very obligingly promised me all assistance to Sussex Court House, and from thence, I understand, it will depend on Your Excellencys orders for the further means of my going on, and I am to request You will have the goodness, Sir, to give me your signed orders as may procure me the aid of the different Provinces as I am to pass through them—Your respectable and authoritative name will assuredly serve every purpose I can desire—I had proposed to pursue my route by Sussex Court House to Easton and Bethlem, but I am at your direction, Sir, and shall proceed as you may send a route for me.

I forward this letter by my Aid de Camp Mr Noble who will return to Sussex Court House with Your Excellencys further directions for me.1

I have had the honor of addressing several letters to you, Sir, lately, one in particular by Lieutenant Campbell;2 I shall be much obliged to you for an Answer, and if the having an interview with Your Excellency might promote any good to the Troops of Convention, I shall with much pleasure wait on you, otherwise I will not request to occasion the trouble which my visit must give you, nor interrupt the business you must, in course, have at the close of a Campaign.

I enclose Major General McDougals letter by which I am permitted to send my Aid de Camp to your Excellency’s Head Quarters.3 I am Sir with much personal respect your Excellencys most obedient humble Servant

W. Phillips


1Phillips’s aide was Lt. William Noble of the British 21st Regiment of Foot. James McHenry wrote to GW from Middlebrook, N.J., on 3 Jan. 1779: “Mr Noble, One of Major Genl Philip’s aids arrived here yesterday with the inclosed letter to your Excellency. He was very desirous of waiting your return, but at length determined to rejoin Genl Philips at Sussex Court house; where he had proposed to receive your Excellency’s answer to his application. An officer accompanies him and Lt Campbell who is returned from N.Y. to Sussex.

“I transmit your Excellency the steps which Lord Stirling has taken to accommodate Genl Philips. I also inclose two letters which came by the Southern mail—a packet from Genl Schuyler received nearly in the condition in which I now send it—with a letter to Genl Parsons from a correspondent of his in New-York” (MdAA: McHenry Collection).

2Phillips wrote two letters to GW on 8 Dec., one of which has not been found, and another on 24 November.

3The enclosure has not been identified.

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