George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General William Maxwell, 29 March–1 April 1779

To Brigadier General William Maxwell

Head Quarters Middlebrook 29th March[-1 April] 1779:


I received your favor of the 28th Inst. with the New-York paper which it inclosed.

Upon application of commissary Beatty you will give permission to him to send into New-York, about 40 bls flour, eight quarters beef and four or five cords of wood, for the use of our prisoners within the enemies lines.1

I have ordered a party of ten with a subaltern, from the Maréchose light dragoons, for your particular command.2 As it is our interest to bring our cavalry into the field in as good condition as possible, this will point out to you, the precaution of employing them only on such occasions, as are absolutely necessary for the security of the post.

To prevent them from being used on common affairs, the quarter master has orders to provide you with an express rider, which with the one you have, I suppose will be sufficient.3 I am sir Your most hble servt.

April 1st


I have been favored with your letter of the 31st Ulto and the two News-papers—You will continue your exertions in obtaining intelligence from the enemy.4 I am sir Your most hble servt.

Df, in James McHenry’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Appeals from his agent in New York City prompted John Beatty, commissary general of prisoners, to seek this flour and beef (see Beatty to GW, 24 Feb.).

2These orders have not been identified, but this force reached Maxwell’s command in Elizabeth, N.J., by 31 March (see Maxwell to GW, that date).

3These orders have not been identified.

4Prior to this final paragraph on the draft manuscript, McHenry wrote and struck out two paragraphs, which read: “The necessity of establishing signals, or beacons, for the purpose of assembling the militia (in case the enemy should attempt this state in force) has induced me to erect a number of signals, in Summerset—Middles[ex] &c.—and to fix on proper alarm post[s] to which the militia are to repair for orders. As it may be requisite to carry the signals thro’ other counties, [I] have written his Excellency Governo[r] Livingston on the subject.

“You will be pleased to call upon the Officers of Militia in your vicinity, and agree with them on proper alarm posts for their companies, or regiments to assemble to, where they are to receive their orders, and to assist if necessary in erecting the beacons.” See GW to William Livingston, 23 March, and Livingston to GW, 30 March.

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