George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major Benjamin Tallmadge, 30 April 1779

To Major Benjamin Tallmadge

Head Quarters Middle Brook 30th April 1779


I have been duly favoured with your letter of the 21st instant, and its inclosure. The plan for opening the communication by way of Staten Island may be delayed till C.1 hears further from me on the subject. However, I would have him to keep his eye upon such persons as he may think worthy of confidence.

Should Brown be released from the Provost, and return to Burgen; and appear fully adequate to such a conveyance, as has been proposed, C. may make the experiment by way of Bergen, as this will be nearer to Head Quarters than the route at present made use of—at any rate let him be regular and frequent in his correspondence by the old conveyance. It is the difficulty of furnishing specie—not the mere matter of expence which I had in view when I recommended œconomy.

I have not any of the Ink, but I will endeavour to provide some of it as soon as possible. I am Sir with regard Your Most Obet servant

Go: Washington

LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, NN: Emmet Collection; Df, with corrections by GW, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1“C” is Tallmadge’s spy Samuel Culper, a pseudonym for Abraham Woodhull. A letter from Culper to Tallmadge, dated 29 April at New York and labeled “No. 11,” reads: “Little or nothing transpired Since the date of my last until the 23 the Raisonable 64 Ship arrived in harbour togather with Some merchantmen from New Providence. thers bene Some Private Vessels from West Indies but can not lern the Situation of the fleets in that Part on the 24 the Packet arrived from England which Place She left the 27d of February—And by private letters I have Seen and by what I Can lerne from head Quarters Brittan is determined to Pursu the War, All the New Levies are Placed upon the establishment and at the end of the War are to be Put upon half Pay, the Enemy Say ten Thousand men were to imbark the first of march, and are in high Spirits here. On the 27 ten regim. were Orderd to hold them selvs in readiness to imbark, This Order was out to Prevent any Person from knowing what Regm. were to imbark. On the 28 I Saw the 2 Battallion of Guards Lord Rhodens Regm. 50 Dragons Called the Bucks County Volunteers, I think they belong to the Queens Rangers. The Above Judge to be 12 hundred Men. the 42 Regnt one of Hessians have imbarked at Yello Hook on long Island as I am Credibly Informed I think they must be 800 Men I am not able to informe you Possitively Wheather their imbarcation is Compleated or not. nor where their destination is It is a profound Secret I Shall Informe you of every circumstance and leave you to Judge. the Transports are all very large and have Sixty five days Provisions on Board. they, Genl Mathews Commands them they have taken light Artillry on Board and flat Bottom Boats tents and all light Baggage 4 Woman to a Company. And all their Regimental Prisoners. Some Officers Wifes hath Gone on Board to go to Georgia to their Husbands I know Some vessels are going to Georgia but Whether the Troops are going or not is uncertain, A Major of one of their regm. told a person in Confidence that they were going to new London or to the Eastward. The Most of People Judge they are going to the Southward and are to returne Soon again, how many Ships will go and how Strong will be their Convoy I Cannot tell. Perhaps their may be differt Orders now As the Packet arrived last Night in Six Weeks from England nothing as yet hath Trans Pired. it is Suspectd Some disagreeabl News for the Enemy is Come. I wish I Could have wrote you four days hence I Certainly Could have given you better Satisfaction no doubt their Imbarcation would have fully taken Place by that time. the Troops at Southhampton are dayly expected up. I dispair of All hops of finding any ⟨oth⟩er rout for my letters. Shal⟨l⟩ Write you very Soon again Eight Prises arrived yesterday one of which is the famous Capt. Cunnigam that hath bene So Successful Wishing this Speed and Safe to hand” (DLC:GW).

Culper wrote another intelligence report that GW docketed “about 12th May 1779.” It reads: “7.17.44 57 Brittish Regt 4 Germans Coll Robinsons & Emerick⟨s⟩ Occupy the ground from this City to kings Bri[d]g[e] all commanded by Genl Tryon, in the city are Genel Clinton Knyphausen Jones Erskine Delancy Sterne Smyth one Battalion guards 23.63 2 germans Regt with a train of artillry—at hobok. Coll Burcharts 64 Powles Hook—26.37. Coll Burtons Some germans Staten Island 1 Regt germans Brooklin ferey. 33 Bedford, Yagers flushing Queens Ranger oyster bay, Coll Ludlos Loyd Neck, all the Brittish light infantry and granedeers, except about two hundred that have bene quarterd at Jamaica, this winter, are on their March from South hampton togather with the 17 Dragons & Lord Cathcart Legion, and have not as yet lerned where they are to be Stationed. The flet had on Board Lord Rhoden about 50 of Bucks County Dragons with Sadles on their Backs one Battallions guards 42 Regt 1 german Regt under Convoy of the Raisonable of 64 guns other Rainbow of 44 with one small frigat besides Capt. goodrich is also gone and Some other gentel[men] Natives of Virginea, And they have most certainly gone there their force gone to Virginea dont exceed two thousand the transports that went were fifteen. they Sailed the 3 of May & the 4 Sail 8 or 9 Sail with Provisions for georgia. this fleet was Loaded for Rhode Island and hearing of the Capture of the georgia fleet were immediate by order for georgia, the enemys affairs in georgia are certainly on the decline the germans & New Leveys are very Sickly and discontended. the Enemy are in high Spirits thers but two 20 gun Ships here & 2 Sloop of war in the Port if you would now excert only the force of amarica you ruin them at once. Buscauck’s Regt with a few Recruts are going to Queebeck” (DLC:GW).

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