George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Anthony Wayne, 16 July 1779

From Brigadier General Anthony Wayne

Stoney Point [N.Y.]
16th July 1779 2 OClock A.M.

Dear Genl

The fort & Garrison with Colo. Johnston are ours—Our1 Officers & men behaved like men who are determined to be free.2 Yours Most Sincerely

Anty Wayne

ALS, DLC:GW; copy, enclosed in GW to George Clinton, this date, sold by Christie’s, Sale No. 1770, 5 Dec. 2006, no. 324.

A letter from GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison to an unknown recipient, written on this date, reads: “His Excellency requests you would return to Head Qrs He has just received the happy account of our gaining possession of Stoney point last night—with the Garrison without any or but very little loss on our side” (MHi: Miscellaneous Bound Collection).

1At this place on the manuscript, Wayne first wrote “Your.” That word is struck out and “Our” is written above the line, possibly by another writer.

2Wayne’s light infantry successfully attacked Stony Point on the night of 15–16 July. For an overview of preparations, and the attack’s aftermath, see GW to Wayne, 1 July, n.2; see also Wayne to GW, 17 July, and GW to John Jay, 21 July.

Lt. Col. Henry Johnson wrote Gen. Henry Clinton from “Hardy’s Town,” probably present-day Hardyston Township, N.J., on 24 July: “The Bearer, Lieutenant [William] Armstrong, of the 17th Infantry, will give you a full and perfect Account of the unfortunate Event of the Morning of the 16th Instant, whereon the Post of Stoney-Point fell into the Hands of the Enemy. I am inclined to think, that upon a just Representation you will be fully convinced that it was not any Neglect on my Part, nor of the Troops under my Command, but the very superior Force of the Enemy that caused the Capture of the Place. Inclosed I send a Return of the Killed, Wounded, Missing, and Prisoners, as nearly as could be collected by the Commanding Officers of Corps.

“… The Commissary of Prisoners being under the Necessity of returning immediately, obliges me to draw a Conclusion, referring your Excellency to Lieutenant Armstrong for any further Particulars” (London Gazette, 2–5 Oct. 1779; see also Davies, Documents of the American Revolution, description begins K. G. Davies, ed. Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783; (Colonial Office Series). 21 vols. Shannon and Dublin, 1972–81. description ends 16:143). The enclosed return is printed in the same issue of the London Gazette. After a prisoner exchange and being granted a court-martial to investigate his responsibility for the surrender of Stony Point, Johnson testified in his own defense on 19 Feb. 1781 (see Loprieno, Stony Point, description begins Don Loprieno, The Enterprise in Contemplation: The Midnight Assault of Stony Point. Westminster, Md., 2004. description ends 291–95, 303, 305–6).

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