George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Simon Phillips, 18 July 1779

From Simon Phillips

[Smiths Clove, N.Y.,
18 July 1779]

May it please your Excellency

I am Just now honourd with your Excellencys Letter of the 16th Inst.1 the Rider it Seems as unhappily missd his road, or by Some other accident Did not arrive until this moment—on the Rect of it I immediately applied to Mr kiers the Q. Mr at this post,2 for waggons to forward the flour according to your Excellencys orders but am Sorry to inform your Excellency that I have not above four Bbs. Saltd at this post nor has there been any live Cattle Sent or Stoppd here Since I acted at this place, I have however Dispatched an express to pumpton Desiring the Commissary & Q. Mr there in the most pressing terms to Exert every nerve in forwarding the Stores that are there (particularly the Salt provisions) desiring them at the Same time to Stimulate the Commissary and Quarter Master at Morristown to be active on this urgent occation the Quarter master at this place has Dispatchd a masenger to the Magistrate to order the Country teams for there is no Continental teams in this place to Come immediately to take the flour which is here on without Delay as soon as they arrive I Shall Load and Send them on to Stony point with the utmost Dispatch & Shall Direct those which I expect from pumpton & Morristown to push on without halting your excellency may assure yourself there Shall be nothing wanting on my part but Shall do every thing within the Compass of my power to forward on the Stores according to your excellencies orders.3 I have the Honour of being with the utmost respect your Excellencies Most Obedient and Most Humble Servant

By order of Simon Phillips
E.W. Kiers A.Q.M.G.

L, DLC:GW. The date of this letter is taken from its docket.

Simon Phillips served as an assistant commissary before becoming a brigade quartermaster. A return dated 1 March 1779 identified Phillips as assistant commissary of issues at King’s Ferry, N.Y. (see Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers, description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends 4:596). For evidence that Phillips supplied intelligence to the British in April 1780, see Sabine, Smith’s Historical Memoirs description begins William H. W. Sabine, ed. Historical Memoirs . . . of William Smith, Historian of the Province of New York. 2 vols. New York, 1956–58. description ends (1971), 258.

1This letter from GW to Phillips has not been found.

2Edward William Kiers (died c.1787) was then the assistant quartermaster stationed at Smiths Clove, New York. His homestead property at the south end of Haverstraw, N.Y., included that town’s only commercial dock in use during the Revolutionary War. Kiers served as captain of the Haverstraw Company in the Orange County, N.Y., militia in February 1776. By October 1777, he had become assistant quartermaster at Shawangunk, in Ulster County, N.Y. (see Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers, description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends 2:462–63). Kiers held the same position at King’s Ferry in October 1780 when GW ordered him to testify at the court-martial of Joshua Hett Smith, an alleged conspirator with Benedict Arnold (see Greene Papers, description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends 6:355, and GW to Nathanael Greene or Commanding Officer at West Point, 16 Oct. 1780, MHi: Heath Papers). For Kiers’s testimony, largely supportive of Smith, on 20 Oct., see Dawson, Trial of Joshua Hett Smith, 101–3.

3Q.M. Gen. Nathanael Greene wrote Kiers from West Point on 28 July 1779 that he must accelerate the movement of supplies to Smiths Clove and that GW did not want a large magazine at Pompton, N.J., because of its vulnerability to a British attack (see Greene Papers, description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends 4:279).

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