George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Alexander McDougall, 17 March 1779

To Major General Alexander McDougall

Head Quarters Middle Brook March 17th 1779

Sir,

I received intelligence last night, that the enemy on Staten Island are in motion, with more than usual demonstration and parade.1 This may intend an incursion into the Jerseys, or it may be meant to cover an expedition elsewhere—possibly against the posts under your command. I therefore think it necessary to communicate to you the intelligence, I have received to put you upon your guard and that you may accelerate the succours pointed out in my letter of yesterday.

Should you get information that the enemy have made a movement this way in force—I would recommend it to you, in concurrence with General Putnam, to march as large a body of troops as can be spared towards Kings-bridge, to give an alarm there and create a diversion in our favour; but this must be done with so much caution, as not to endanger the important posts under your command. I am Dr Sir Your most Obedt servt

Go: Washington

P.S. You will forward the inclosed to General Putnam—who is directed to give the most immediate succor should the effort be directed up the north river.2

LS, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, CSmH; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The postscript of the LS is in GW’s writing, and GW franked the cover. McDougall docketed the letter: “r’cd 19th at 6 P.M.” The slightly altered text of this letter that is printed in Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 4:642–43, apparently was taken from an unfound copy that was enclosed in McDougall to Clinton, 24 March 1779, (see Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 4:665).

1For possible sources of this intelligence, see William Maxwell to GW, 15 March, and General Orders, this date.

2The enclosure almost certainly was GW’s letter to Israel Putnam, this date.

Index Entries