George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major Benjamin Tallmadge, 28 August 1779

To Major Benjamin Tallmadge

West-point Augt 28th 79.


The period is now come (in the arrival of the enemys reinforcement1) when the intelligence of C——r Junr2 may be interesting and important—To delay his communications till they are matters of public notoriety, is answering no valuable purpose but to be early—precise—and well informed in the several accts transmitted, is essential—To know as nearly as may be the amount of the enemy’s reinforcement with Arbuthnot—how many, & the names of the compleat Corps wch compose it—whether there is any bustle in preparing for a movement of Troops by Land or Water, or both—and the destination of it, as far as can be discovered from appearances, information, or surmise are much to be wished and if you can, with safety, request these matters of him I shall thank you.3 I am Sir, Yr Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, in private hands; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The ALS was sold at the Sotheby’s sale of 26 June 2001.

1GW is referring to the British army reinforcements, convoyed by the naval squadron of Vice Adm. Marriot Arbuthnot, which had arrived at New York on 25 Aug. (see GW to John Jay, 24–27 Aug., and n.8 to that document); for GW’s defensive preparations, see GW to Jay, 11 Aug., n.5.

2GW is referring to Samuel Culper, Jr., one of the members of the Culper spy ring in New York who was managed by Tallmadge (see Culper Spy Ring Intelligence, 6–17 Aug.).

3GW’s receipt of information from Townsend on the reinforcements would be delayed nearly a month because of the destruction of two of Townsend’s reports by a courier who feared detection (see GW to Tallmadge, 22 and 24 Sept.).

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