George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Anthony Wayne, 7 September 1779

From Brigadier General Anthony Wayne

Fort Mont[gomer]y [N.Y.] 7th Sepr 1779

Dear Genl

I returned late last evening from Reconnoitring the Enemy at Stoney point, & find that they have nearly Completed their works1—which Consist of One Advanced Redoubt on the Hill Commanding the ferry, way enclosed & finished, with a good Abbatis & Block House to fire over the parapet in barbet.

The large work is also Enclosed the parapet raised much higher than usual & fraised in the most Capital manner & Surrounded with a Wide & formidable Abbatis—within this is a Citidal Independant of the Other work with a Strong high parapet ⟨with fraised⟩ and a Block House which ⟨fires⟩ in Barbett the top of all the parapets neatly & almost Completely ⟨sodded⟩.

They have about Eight Guns mounted & Six more laying on the out side the main work on Garrison or Ships Carriages.

In short—they have appearantly done more work since they reposse[sse]d that post than all our Army have Effected the whole Campaign.

A forage or Rather Marauding party of about 300 men were out the night before last & after sweeping the Country in the V[i]cinity of Cattle & Sheep got back early yesterday Morni[n]g to an Island or point of Land on the River Opposite the White House2 from where⟨in⟩ they carried off their plunder & men by water to the Fort. I wished to have struck them, but the Intelligence came too late—however we put them to some trouble & probably caused them to lay on their arms all night.

no Additional number of Shipping at the point.

I was not a little surprised to find the Enclosed Letter from Colo. Schammel laying on my table this morning—as I could not believe that any man could be so lost to every proper sense of feeling as Capt. Ashmead appears to be.3

I would wish to know your Excellency⟨’s⟩ pleasure, whether Colo. Butler is to be tried by a Genl Court Martial of the Line or of the Light Infantry—as it Consists of Officers from each State ⟨illegible⟩ Absence cannot prudently be dispensed with, in our present Situation.

I believe the Colonel has a Matereal Obje[c]tion to be tryed by the same Court which acquitted Capt. Ashmead with Honor—as they must Inevitably Censure him, or be guilty of Duplicity of Conduct,4 I shall wait Your Answer & am with true Esteem Your Most Obet Hume Sevt

Anty Wayne

ADfS, PHi: Wayne Papers.

1British officer Archibald Robertson says in his diary entry for 18, 19, and 20 Sept. that three British regiments, which had been “completing the Works at Stoney Point,” left King’s Ferry, N.Y., on those dates (Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries, description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends 202–3).

2Wayne is referring to the house of William Smith, a prominent Loyalist (see Map 2; see also Wayne to GW, 27 July, and n.2 to that document). The point of land probably was Grassy Point, N.Y., a piece of land jutting into Haverstraw Bay one and a half miles below Stony Point.

3The enclosed letter has not been identified.

4For the dispute between Capt. Jacob Ashmead and Col. Richard Butler, see the charges in the reports of courts-martial in General Orders, 5 and 21 September. For the court-martial that acquitted Ashmead and GW’s disapproval of the acquittal, see General Orders, 5 September.

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