George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Richard Butler, 19 July 1779

From Colonel Richard Butler

Fort Montgomery [N.Y.] 9 OClock july 19th 1779


Genl Wayne being Indisposd,1 desires that I inform your Excellency that I Remaind to See the whole of the Troops off the ground & just as the last Party movd A Canonade from the Enemys Ships began to Cover their landing, at 5 OClock—they took Imediate Possesion of the Point & Dismantled works, Confining themselves within the morass that incircles the Point, on which they placd guards & Confind themselves within their Sentries, I observd Some officers buisy pointing from pl⟨ace⟩ to Place as if they were Directing the Repair of the w⟨orks.⟩ I Counted fifty Eight Sail of Shipping Difft kinds ⟨mutilated⟩, About 20 of which were Square Rigd & Abot 10 of these I took to be frigates & Sloops of war from 18 to 30 Guns—I think they had landed About 600 men & were Still very buisy—landing, four large Transports wer very full of men that I think none had been Sent from, as the boats were Still Plying from other Vessels; they have many Gallies & Armd boats, The General thot it Absolutely Necessary your Excellency Should have this Intelligince Imediatly & have given it of Circumstantially as in my Power.2 I Am with Respect your Excellencys most obedt Hbl. st

Richd Butler Col.
light Infty

its my Opinion they will Soon move for west Point from the Number of Small Sail boats they have as the[y] had no need for these to land at S[t]ony Point and they are Empty.


1For the head wound that Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne sustained during the successful attack on Stony Point, see his second letter to GW, 16 July, and n.3 to that document. Wayne stated in a letter to GW of 20 July that he needed “to retire for a few days.”

2The diary entry for this date of a British officer stationed in New York City reads: “The Rebels, after destroying the Works on Stoney Point and putting the Cannon on board an armed Gally abandoned the Place, but the Gally, which attempted to go off, was so often hulled by the Artillery from Verplank’s Point … that the Rebels were obliged to run her on shore to prevent her sinking & then burnt her … The Post was again taken possession of by Brigadier General Sterling’s [Thomas Stirling’s] Brigade, & new Works began to be thrown up” (Ritchie, “New York Diary,” description begins Carson I. A. Ritchie, ed. “A New York Diary [British army officer’s journal] of the Revolutionary War.” New-York Historical Society Quarterly 50 (1966): 221–80, 401–46. description ends 429; see also Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries, description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends 199–200).

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