George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Alexander McDougall, 28 April 1779

From Major General Alexander McDougall

Head Quarters Pecks-Kill [N.Y.] April 28th 1779


I was honored with your Favor of the 23rd, accompanied with one to General Putnam, which was immediately forwarded.

The Closing the Communication thrô the Enemy’s Lines, has been explained by a Forage, made by Colonel Emerick to East Chester—That Measure was necessary for them; as many Waggons were collected, least our Parties might disturb him.

The Object of the Enemy for the Campaign, is now clearly explained to me; Altho I own, I had some Doubts about it, before—He will act on the defensive, in the middle states, and push Conquests in the southern ones—Lawrel Hill opposite to Fort Washington, is to be strongly fortifyed—The work is already begun—This and the Fort, forms the Gorge, which Governor Johnstone spoke of, in the House of Commons1—when those Works are compleated I am confident, the Enemy will destroy the Works on this Side of the Bridge, and contract his Out-Posts and Guards—A Considerable Embarkation is made, but have not yet found, of what Corps it consists—The Embarkation is certain. It comes various ways—I imagine part of their Plan will be to evacuate Rhode Island. I have the Honor to be Your Excellency’s most humble servant

Alexr McDougall


1George Johnstone’s address of 26 Nov. 1778 to Parliament’s House of Commons, according to the 9 March 1779 issue of the Pennsylvania Packet or the General Advertiser (Philadelphia), included these words: “If we cannot meet the army of the enemy in the field, it will require many troops, a considerable marine force, and very expensive fortifications, to hold New-York; I believe by fortifying the gorge at Fort Knyphausen; by fortifying the heights of Brooklyn; by fortifying Paulus Hook, and the heights on the Narrows upon Staten-Island, it might be defended by 8000 men, together with the inhabitants, always retaining in the harbour five frigates and three armed vessels, and three galleys” (for another version of Johnstone’s speech, see Parliamentary History of England description begins The Parliamentary History of England, from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803. 36 vols. London, 1806–20. description ends , 19:1346–57).

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