George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Stephen Moylan, 13 August 1779

From Colonel Stephen Moylan

Greenwich [Conn.] 13th August 1779

Dear Sir

accept my most grateful thanks for your Kind permission to pay a visit to Mrs Moylan,1 I will, you may be assured Sir not loose time from my Duty, which I assure you no Officer in the Army is fonder of doing than I am, as to the expence of Intelligence I give You my word and my honor I have been rather under, than over, in what I mentiond to your Excellency in my Last2 this, or rather Poundridge post, has been the most expensive, as I promis’d a man who has been four times within Kingsbridge, to make his Dollars Silver, and he Says, and I believe it that the Last bills I gave him, which were two—one of 65 & one of 45 Dollars, he got but at the rate of 12 for one—as General Howe is at present in this place, and will take every oppertunity of gaining inteligence I have not occasion to interfere in that department at the Same time I must remark to Your Excellency that I had positively your orders, when I parted with you at Middlebrook, to Lay out money to gain inteligence,3 and when I had the honor to receive your Commands of taking the Command of the Cavalry in the Jersey in 1778 I asked you whether I shoud try to gain inteligence, your answer was yes by all means,4 which made me fix my Qrs at Trenton, indeed the expence for information at that post was very trifleing, but if Your Excellency will reccollect what I Sent you from Amboy and in that neighborhood, you will See that it must have Come from persons I employed within the City, I mean persons I sent in—to Newyork5—the Countermarch of the army from the Clove in that year I realy thought was occasiond by the information I had given to Your Excellency.6

if my word is not a Sufficient voucher to the public, I assure Your Excellency I will not nor Cannot give any other, and if I ever do get what I have laid out I do not think, from the depreciation of the money that I Shall be paid half what in justice I am intitled to, the freedom with which I write to Your Excellency I dare Say from my Knowledge of you[,] you will pardon, for you may be assured it does not arise from presumption I know your heart, it is a great, a good one, and amongst Your admirers, there is Know one who can Sub[s]cribe himself with more propriety, your assured freind and affectionate Humb. Sert than

Stephen Moylan


2No letter from Moylan to GW on this subject has been found, but for GW’s complaint regarding the excessiveness of Moylan’s expenditures for intelligence operations, see GW to Moylan, 12 August.

3No orders from GW to Moylan, which were written at the time of the main army’s departure from its Middlebrook, N.J., winter encampment in early June, have been found, but see GW’s orders to Moylan of 28 June.

4For GW’s orders to Moylan to take command of the cavalry regiments in New Jersey, see GW to Moylan, 20 March 1778. The other communications between Moylan and GW were presumably verbal.

5Moylan is referring to his operations in 1777; see Moylan to GW, 22, 23, and 24 July 1777.

6Moylan is referring to the movements of the army in late July 1777 (see GW’s third letter to John Hancock of 25 July 1777, and GW to Hancock, 27 July 1777).

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