George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Anthony Wayne, 31 July 1779

From Brigadier General Anthony Wayne

Fish Kill landing [N.Y.] 31st July 1779

Dear General

It was not until 10. OClock this morning that I was honored with your favor of yesterday, (& not as Commanding Officer of the Light Corps, but as your Excellency desires)1 I now give my Opinion on the point you require.

The Enemy will certainly profit so far by their late misfortune at Stoney point, as to provide for, or guard against a Surprize, & to find out, & Strengthen the most Vulnerable & weak parts of their works, Indeed they are at this time Industriously employed in that very business, as well as friezing and perhaps enclosing the old Works, as you’l see by the letter of equal date with this herewith transmitted.2

but I am fully of Opinion that the Light Corps with the Addition of One Thousand more picked men & Officers properly Appointed would cary that post by Assault in the night with the loss of between four & five Hundred men, which is the least Number I can think of Calculating upon, supposing the Enemy to be but One Thousand strong, but should they be more it will require a force and Consequently a loss in proportion.

This is only my Idea—but if your Excellency should be of Opinion that this buisness ought to be attempted, I will with the greatest chearfulness under-take the charge, altho’ I am not quite Recovered of my former hurt,3 unless your Excellency has some Other Officer in your eye more Competent to the task. Interim believe me yours most Affectionately

Anty Wayne

ADfS, PHi: Wayne Papers.

1At this place on his draft manuscript, Wayne first wrote “requires.” He then struck out that word and wrote “desires” above the line.

2This enclosure has not been identified.

3Wayne sustained a head wound during the attack on Stony Point, N.Y., on the night of 15–16 July.

A letter from Col. Richard Butler to Wayne, written at “Camp Sandy beach” on 1 Aug., 2:00 P.M., reads: “I have just been honored with yours of yesterday—and am happy to find your Spirrits good & A prospect of your speedily joining us.

“… His Excellency paid us A visit yesterday & I Could Percieve by his Conversation that he has A wish to try the new family of Stony Point—which I must Say I think Practicable—but with more loss than before” (PHi: Wayne Papers).

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