George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Stirling, 3 January 1779

From Major General Stirling

Middle Brook [N.J.] January 3rd 177[9]

Dear Sir

I have had the honor of receiveing your Excellency’s of the 1st Instant.

the very great Change in the weather has so rotted the Ice that I must give up all thoughts of proposed enterprize for the present. Yesterday Afternoon arrived here Mr Noble Aid de Camp to General Phillips with a letter to your Excellency which Doctor McHenry will now enclose,1 he was very desireous of either going on to Philadelphia or Staying here ’till your Excellency’s return; But on Assureing him that the letter was already fully Answered by the two letters from your Excellency which I deliverd him, and by the directions I should give, that he is determined to return to Sussex Court house I have Just now furnished him with the Necessary papers, and he sets out this Afternoon in Company with Leiutenant Campbell, who returned from New York Yesterday Evening. the latter Confirms that great damage has been done to the Shiping at New York and in the Bay; he has also accidently explained to me, some Matters I did not rightly understand in one of the English papers I sent your Excellency, On the Laird of McCloed’s Men being orderd to embark for the East Indies they refused Mutiny’d and retired to Arthurs Seat a hill near Edenburg, General Ougton the Commander in Cheif in Scotland was Compelled to treat with them and give them their own terms, that they should go to the Islands of Jersey & Guernsey and receive all their Arerages of pay & Bounty Money as promised them. this is his Story, but I belive they refused to Come to America.2

the Roads had with the frost got very good and forage Came in very well, but I am Afraid the Change of weather will break them up again for some time. the troops are Cheifly hutted except Smallwoods. the Dr will now enclose an English paper of October 7th—I have no York One’s at present. I am your Excellency’s Most Obedient Humble Servant



1For James McHenry’s letter to GW of this date, see William Phillips to GW, 30 Dec. 1778, n.1.

2Stirling had received a garbled account of the revolt of the 78th Regiment of Foot (Seaforth Highlanders). On 22 Sept. 1778, ordered to embark for the island of Guernsey but convinced that they had been secretly “sold” to the East India Company, the Highlanders mutinied and established a fortified camp on Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s most prominent natural landmark. On 29 Sept., after several days of negotiation with Lt. Gen. James Adolphus Dickenson Oughton (1720–1780), who served as commander-in-chief of British forces in Scotland from about 1768 until his death, the mutineers received pardons and a promise of all their back pay. They sailed for Guernsey shortly afterwards, and then shipped out to India, where many of them promptly died of disease (Grant, Old and New Edinburgh description begins James Grant. Cassell’s Old and New Edinburgh: Its History, its People, and its Places. 3 vols. London, 1881-83. description ends , 2:307–10).

John MacKenzie, Lord Macleod (1727–1789), a pardoned former Jacobite who made his career in the British army, raised two battalions of Highlanders in 1777–78. Embodied together into the 73d Regiment of Foot (Macleod’s Highlanders), the 1st Battalion sailed for India in early 1779 while the 2d Battalion moved to Gibraltar.

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