George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Nathanael Greene, 1 March 1779

From Major General Nathanael Greene

at my quarters [Middlebrook] March the 1st 1779


Inclosd is your Excellencys queries with the Answers; they are not so particular as I could wish; but are pretty explicit to the most capital points.1

Should be glad to know whether you will want to see Col. Hooper again, or have any orders to give for preparations in his district. If the Troops should March from Easton to Wyoming the Col. should have some previous notice of it.

I was mentioning to your Excellency the other day the necessity of haveing a number of Keggs prepard. Col. Hooper can provide them, if instructed seasonably.

I shall make out a list of Stores & preparations to be made at Estherton, which if your Excellency approves, shall be glad of your orders upon it.2

Col. Patterson will wait upon your Excellency again before he goes.3 I am with the Most perfect esteem your Excellencys Most Obedient humble Sert

Nath. Greene Q.M.G.


1The enclosed queries from GW have not been identified, but see GW to Greene, 24 Feb., for instructions to provide information about the Pennsylvania frontier that probably suggest the unidentified queries. Greene’s enclosed answers are in an undated and unsigned memorandum in Greene’s writing that is located near the end of the documents for March 1779 in DLC:GW, series 4. The memorandum reads: “Middle Town[,] Estherton[,] Hunters Are proper plaices for depositing Stores for an Indian Expedition.

“From the above places the Stores can go up the Susquehannah by Sunbury, Wyoming, and to Tioga the last of which places is very near the Indian Settlements and the Country leavel into the heart of them.

“Memorandum. The Boats that go up the Susquehannah should have a good Guard to go on in front of the Battauex near to the River. There are many narrow passes up and down the River, ocasiond by the High Lands juting down close to the Banks of the River.

“The distance from Estherton to Tioga is One hundred & Eighty Miles from thence to Lake Ontario is Ninety Miles—all a free and open Country.

“Boats can go from Estherton to Tioga until the Middle of May that will carry from five to Eight Tons and from the Middle of May through the season that will carry Two Tuns. The Navigation grows better and better the farther you go up the River the Waters being deeper and less rapid.

“There is in the Neighbourhood of Estherton a large number of Saw Mills which can be employed to saw boards for constructing Battauex.

“By calculation there will be wanting 140 Battauex of the two Ton size.

“Watermen will be difficult to be got, the duty will be hard and dangerous—Great encouragement must be given as so much will depend upon the transportation of the Stores. I think there will be upwards of 500 wanted. Each of the two ton Battauex will require 4 men and the larger boats 6 men.

“The Artillery can go up from Estherton to Tioga by Water there will be no crossing it from Easton to Wyoming.”

At the end of the memorandum, Greene appended the following table of distances:

Posts to be established upon the River

Sunbury 50 Miles from Estherton
Wyoming 60
Wyalusing 30
Tioga 40 180

The figure “180” represents the total mileage of all posts from Estherton. That place, located on the Susquehanna River in the northern part of present-day Harrisburg, Pa., was established in 1757 by John Cox, Jr., of Philadelphia as “Coxestown.” He subsequently renamed the settlement in honor of his wife, Esther. The settlement at Hunter’s Mill, located about two miles up the Susquehanna from Estherton, included sawmills and gristmills as well as the ruins of Fort Hunter, which had been built by the British during the French and Indian War and then had been abandoned at the end of that war in 1763. Middletown, Pa., located about ten miles down the Susquehanna from Harrisburg, had been laid out in 1755. Boats for Sullivan’s expedition later this year were built there.

2For this list, see GW to Greene, 2 March, n.1.

3See GW to William Patterson, 2 March, and n.1 to that document.

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