George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Massachusetts Council, 4 August 1779

To the Massachusetts Council

Head Quarters West Point August 4th 1779


I had the Honor to address you Yesterday—and to transmit you some intelligence from New York. I have since reciev’d a letter to my Lord Stirling from an Officer at Newark of which a copy is inclosed.1 I have the Honor to be with the greatest respect & Esteem Gentlemen, Your Most Obedt Servt

Go. Washington

P.S. I have accts through another Channel to the above effect.

G. W——n

Copy, M-Ar; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. A note on the draft, in the writing of GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison, reads: “The Copy was of Major Haye’s Letter to Lord Stirling of the 1st of Augt—transmitted in his of the 3d of Augt.”

The Massachusetts Council considered this letter on 11 Aug. and ordered that a letter of warning be drafted and sent by express to Gen. Solomon Lovell, their militia commander at Penobscot Bay, Maine, advising him that he should either attack “without delay” or “reimbark and retreate as quick as possible” to a secure post. The council warned: “Delay may operate to your destruction” (Documentary History of Maine, description begins Maine Historical Society. Documentary History of the State of Maine. 24 vols. Portland, Maine, 1869–1916. description ends 16:447–451).

1The enclosed copy of a letter from Maj. Samuel Hayes to Major General Stirling, dated 1 Aug. from Newark, N.J., reads: “I have this day conversed with a man from Bergen, who came out of New York yesterday. He informs me there has been a hot Press in the City for Seamen. Sir George Collier with Seven Men of War fell down on Friday [30 July] to Staten Island on board of which were taken two Regiments to serve as Marines. The report in the City was they were going after a Fleet that had sailed from Boston, and they were to Sail this day he saw their Topsails loosed before he left home & supposed they were getting under Sail this account is in his own words. I have known the man ever since the War began, know him to be honest and believe the account may be relied on” (M-Ar).

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