George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major Benjamin Tallmadge, 22 September 1779

To Major Benjamin Tallmadge

West Point 22 Sepr 1779

Dr Sir

I have been expecting for some time past a communication from C——. The period which he had fixed was the 11th instant. If you know the cause of his silence—or have had any intimations from him I wish to be informed of them. Very interesting events have taken place which must and have produced circumstances in New-York—deserving of his notice—That he has gone so far beyond his promise makes me rather uneasy on his account and desirous to learn what you may think on the subject.1

Df, in James McHenry’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1The delay in the receipt of the Culper intelligence resulted from the destruction of two of Robert Townsend’s (“Samuel Culper, Jr.”) letters, “No. 5” and “No. 6,” that had followed his “No. 4” letter of 6 August. They had been destroyed by Jonas Hawkins, courier for the Culper spy ring, to avoid detection. Townsend’s letter “No. 6” had contained his report on the arrival of British reinforcements, convoyed by British vice admiral Marriot Arbuthnot’s fleet, which GW had been anxious to have a report on for some time (see GW to Tallmadge, 28 Aug.). Townsend explained the delay and gave GW the report on Arbuthnot’s fleet in his letter “No. 7,” dated 11 Sept. (see GW to Tallmadge, 24 Sept., n.1; see also Culper Spy Ring Intelligence, 6-17 Aug., Document II).

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