George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General William Smallwood, 23 March 1779

To Brigadier General William Smallwood

Head Quarters [Middlebrook] 23d March 1779

Dear Sir

For the more speedy assemblage of the Militia upon an emergency an agreement with the Feild Officers of this and the next County to erect Beacons upon the most conspicuous Hills, the firing of which is to be the signals for them to repair to their different alarm posts. You will be pleased therefore to direct three parties, from the Maryland line, consisting of1 24 Men each with Axes to repair tomorrow Morning to Waynes Gap, Lincolns and Quibble Town Gaps to erect Beacons at those places—The officers conducting the parties are to apply to Major Genl Lord Stirling who will direct them in the manner of constructing the Beacons.2 I am &.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1At this place on the draft manuscript, Tilghman wrote and then struck out “an Officer and.”

2Militia officers from Middlesex and Somerset counties participated in consultations that led to GW’s decision to construct beacons in New Jersey. The Maryland camp was the most eastern encampment at Middlebrook and the nearest to Wayne, Lincoln, and Quibbletown gaps. Wayne’s Gap was about a half mile north of the camp, Lincoln’s Gap was further east roughly two miles, and Quibbletown Gap was at least another four miles out in the same direction. For additional beacon information, including construction details, see Stirling to GW, 20 and 22 March; and GW to Henry Knox, to William Livingston, to Arthur St. Clair, and to Stirling, all four this date.

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