George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General William Woodford, 22 July 1779

To Brigadier General William Woodford

July 22d 1779

Dr Sr,

I have this morning received your letter dated yesterday.

Col. Nevils regiment will be ordered up to join you—no relief will be required.

The inclosed letter I must beg the favor of you to have forwarded to Mr Skinner.1 I am Sir Yrs &c.

P.s. Major Lee will shortly send a small number of Prisoners lately taken to Junes2—His Lordship will be pleased to relieve the escort that conveys them there, & forward them by an other to the Commissary of Prisoners at Goshen—should the Prisoners now there be gone off, those to be forwarded, must follow.

Df, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1A draft of the letter from GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison to Abraham Skinner, deputy commissary general of prisoners at Goshen, N.Y., written on this date, reads: “General Wayne has transmitted His Excellency, the Commander in Chief, a Letter from Colo. Johnson of the 17th British Regiment, requesting permission for an Officer of each Corps to go to New York for the purpose of obtaining necessaries for the prisoners captured at Stony point and also for the return of two Women—I am to inform you that his Excellency consents to a Subaltern Officers going from each Corps—and to the Return of the Women—You are to take the Officers paroles in the usual way—and for their return in 30 days. They must proceed to Stony point and on the same route by which they went to Goshen. You will apply to the Commanding Officer of Artillery at Chester for an Officer to attend them with a Flag. If any more Women desire to go to New York—they are to be permitted without restriction as to number, on condition of their not returning. You must continue without question to direct provision for the Women, at least till they arrive at the place of the prisoners destination, when perhaps their own industry and the opportunitie⟨s⟩ they will have of acquiring it themselves, will make further supplies by the public unnecessary.

“His Excellency desires that you will forward the prisoners without delay to the places intended for their reception—and that the Officers and Men may be separated as soon as possible agreable to former directions. . . .

“P.S. 7 British were taken at the slote yesterday or the day before. They are ordered to follow & join those now with you” (DLC:GW). The letter from Lt. Col. Henry Johnson to Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne, written at Goshen on 20 July, reads: “The Distress’d situation of not only the Officers, but likewise the Privates, made Prisoners at Stoney Point, from not having Necessaries nor even Money to purchase them, induces me to request, You will be so good as to grant a Permission for an Officer of Each Corps to go to New York, in order to execute the several Commissions given them on that head—You may depend on the strictest Attention being paid to the Time limited for their Return … Should be glad if permission could be given to two Women likewise to go to York—One whose husband was kill’d at Sy Pt The other whose husband is at Yk” (PHi: Gratz Collection).

Skinner became involved with the Stony Point prisoners after receiving a letter from Harrison dated 16 July: “His Excellency desires you will meet him at Stoney point. The post & Garrison were surprised last night and are in our hands” (DLC:GW).

Responding to a subsequent letter that has not been identified, Skinner wrote Harrison from Goshen on 20 July: “Your favor of this date reached me at four O’Clock this afternoon, and agreable to your direction I send you inclosed a General Return of the Prisoners taken at Stoney Point who have fallen under my care as also the respective Lists referred to, in that return.

“We arrived at this place last Evening, and the Prisoners behave much better than I expected—The greatest difficulty is occasioned by the Women and Children, who amount to near Seventy, and who must Starve unless furnished with Provision, I have hitherto drawn for them but wou’d wish to have your particular directions whether I shall continue to supply them, as I know of no Resolution of Congress empowering the Commissary of Prisoners to do this, tho their peculiar situation requires it.

“We shall proceed as soon as a Waggon or two can be got to carry Some of the Party who are unable to keep up and who are fallen Lame in crossing the Mountains to this place” (DLC:GW).

The enclosed “General Return of the Prisoners taken at Stoney Point,” signed by Skinner at Goshen and dated 20 July, reported one lieutenant colonel, four captains, twelve lieutenants, four ensigns, one artillery conductor, and one assistant surgeon among “Officers Sent to Easton on Parole”; two lieutenants, one ensign, one surgeon, and thirty-nine privates among “Officers & Privtes Woundd & Sent in”; nine privates and two attendants “Left at Kakiat”; and 441 privates and twenty-five servants to officers “Sent to Easton” (DLC:GW). This general return showed the total number of prisoners as 543 and noted, additionally, one captain and one lieutenant as “Killed.”

A “List of the Officers on Parole who were sent from Stoney Point to Easton,” signed by Skinner at Goshen and dated 20 July, named Lt. Col. Henry Johnson, two captains, six lieutenants, and two ensigns from the 17th Regiment; one captain, one lieutenant, and one conductor from the artillery; one captain and two ensigns from the Loyal American Regiment; four lieutenants from the 71st Regiment; one lieutenant from the 63d Regiment; and one assistant surgeon (DLC: GW).

A “List of Officers Wounded & sent in to the Enemy from Stoney Point 17th July 1779” named two lieutenants from the 71st Regiment as well as an ensign and a surgeon from the 17th Regiment (DLC:GW). There also was “A List of the Privates sent in to New York from Stoney [Point](17th July 1779) who were Wounded,” which named two artillerists, twenty-three men from the 17th Regiment, and fourteen men from the 71st Regiment (DLC:GW). For the transportation of these wounded prisoners to New York City, see Andrew Sutherland to GW, 18 July.

A “List of the Wounded Prisoners left at Kakiat on their March from Stoney Point and who were Wounded in Attempting to Make their Escape from the Guard on the Night of the 16th July 1779,” signed by Skinner at Goshen and dated 20 July, named nine privates from the 17th Regiment and concluded: “N.B. besides these there were two Soldiers left there to attend the Wounded, which makes the Total 11” (DLC:GW).

A “Return of the Prisoners taken from the British at Stoney Point 17th July 1779,” signed by Skinner at Goshen and dated 20 July, listed names before providing a tabular summary that showed forty-three from the artillery, 235 from the 17th Regiment, ninety-nine from the 71st Regiment, fifty-three from the Loyal American Regiment, and one from “Lord Rawdons Core.” This table also reported ten artificers and twenty-five “Officers Servants” for a total of 466 (DLC:GW).

2See Henry Lee, Jr., to GW, 21 July (first letter), and GW to Lee, this date.

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