George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General William Maxwell, 25 March 1779

From Brigadier General William Maxwell

Elizth Town [N.J.] 25th March 1779


There is not the least doubt that Admiral Gambier with nearly all his force is sailed out of the Hook for Rhode Island;1 and General Clinton with all the Transports and Privateers is gone up the Sound. I cannot find they have taken any Troops from N. York or Statten Island but they are to take off some from the East end of Long Island—It’s thought there design is to the East ward of Rhode Island—New London or Providence, as I mentioned to Your Excellency before. I cannot find that the fleet of Transports which has been expected for some time past is yet arived. General Clinton went on Long Island under pretence of viewing the Troops on different parts of the Island2—This accompanys three New York Papers.3 I am Your Excellencys Most obedient Humble Servant

Wm Maxwell B.G.


1See Maxwell to GW, 10 March, n.4, and 17 March, n.1.

2The Connecticut Journal (New Haven) for 10 March printed a report from New London dated 5 March: “We have certain intelligence that the enemy at the East-End of Long-Island, are building a number of flat bottom boats, the frames of which were brought from New-York. We also learn that a reinforcement of 1500 men has lately arrived there from New-York. These operations make it evident that the enemy are mediating an expedition on the sea-coast of this state: should it be on this port we are at present in a good condition to receive them.”

The Connecticut Journal for Wednesday, 31 March, reported items from New Haven under the same date: “We hear, that Gen. Clinton, with 3 or 400 troops, lately march’d from New York, to the East-end of Long-Island, and joined those who have been there for several weeks; said in the whole, to amount to 3 or 4000.

“Last Saturday, a Fleet of about 20 sail, 2 or 3 of them frigates, passed this harbour, from New York, supposed to be bound to the East-end of Long-Island.”

Hessian major Carl Leopold Baurmeister in his dispatch of 4 April from New York outlined British plans to raid New London from Long Island with Gen. Henry Clinton to command in person. “However,” Baurmeister continued, “after the fifty-two flatboats and sixteen horse transports which were to land there had suffered for two weeks in the most uncomfortable weather, they returned through the Sound. General Clinton also is leaving Long Island. The intended expedition caused the rebels much trouble and damage” (Baurmeister, Revolution in America description begins Carl Leopold Baurmeister. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784, of Adjutant General Major Baurmeister of the Hessian Forces. Translated and annotated by Bernhard A. Uhlendorf. New Brunswick, N.J., 1957. description ends , 263; see also Maxwell to GW, 17 March, and n.2 to that document, and 28 March, and n.1 to that document).

3These New York newspapers have not been identified, but see Maxwell to GW, 26-27 Jan., and n.3.

Index Entries