George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Clinton, 25 June 1779

From George Clinton

Pokeepsie [N.Y.] 25: June 1779

Dear Sir,

I am much obliged to your Excellency for your Letter of Yesterday inclosg Spencer’s Relation of our Sucesses to the Southward1—I now transmit a Copy of a Letter that I have this Moment recd from Colo. Drake who has unfortunately had two of his Pickets surprized by the Enemy—the one of them entirely cut off. I fear from the Tenor of Colo. Drake’s Letter that this will so dispirit the Militia as to occasion them to retire farther back into the Country and of Course leave it open to the uninterrupted Ravages of the Enemy & enable them to draw from us large Supplies.2

The repeated Misfortune we have experienced from the Inattention of our Guards have not yet taught the Militia to be sufficiently vigilant and careful to be intrusted with the Charge of our advanced Posts and I dread the worst of Consequences in that Quarter unless we can have a few Companies of well disciplined Troops under an Active Officer to give Countenance to the Militia and keep them together—As soon as I can get a letter thro’ the present Hurry of Business I shall do myself the Pleasure of waiting upon your Excellency at Windsor and am &.

Df, NHi: Miscellaneous Manuscripts. The docket of the draft reads: “Dr[aft] Letter to Gnl Washington of 25: June 1779—enclosg Copy of Colo. Drake’s Letter of Yesterday givg an Acct of Ravages of the Enemy in W: Chester County—&c.”

1Clinton is referring to the contents of Nathanael Greene to GW, 24 June.

2The enclosed letter from Col. Samuel Drake of the Westchester County, N.Y., militia, 3d Regiment, has not been identified. The action reported in Drake’s letter probably was the same as the one described in Hessian captain Johann Ewald’s diary entry for 25 June: “Last night a sharp small-arms fire broke out in front of our post, and no one could discover the reason for it. At daybreak I roamed through the area and found several dead and wounded Americans of two parties. One of the wounded men told me that two parties had gone out to surprise us, of which one lost its way, whereby both parties had run into each other” (Ewald, Diary, description begins Johann Ewald. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven and London, 1979. description ends 169).

Index Entries