George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Robert Howe, 6 October 1779

To Major General Robert Howe

Head Quarters West-point 6th Octr 1779

Dr Sir

I have been duly favored with your two letters of the 4th & 5th inst.1

We have nothing particular in this quarter for your information. You will be pleased to thank the party of horse in my name for the great gallantry with which they behaved.2 I am Dr Sir Your Most obt Servt.

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

1These letters have not been found.

2A letter from Howe to Maj. Gen. William Heath, dated 4 Oct. at Bedford, N.Y., reads in part: “I am sorry to inform you that yesterday about 10 O’Clock as Lieut. [Erasmus] Gill was patrolling near East Chester with twenty four Horse, that a superior Party of the Enemies Horse who were out (as we supposed upon the same occasion) appeared in his rear, the rout by wh[ich] he would retreat was difficult, if at all practicable, & the Enemy appearing in confusion he thought it best by a Vigorous charge to force his way, this he Gallan[t]ly effected, & began to think all over, when a considerable body of Infantry appeared before him, & all that was left him was to surrender, or get thro’ them, he nobly adopted the latter resolution, & charged them with such repidity that he broke them, & had effected his purpose, when his Horse unfortuna[te]ly getting wounded threw him, he was last seen about thirty yards before the Enemy exerting himself to escape, but the Ground being open I much fear he is fallen into their hands. His conduct & spirit upon this & several other occasions do him the highest honour. His whole party except two killed & one taken in action are safe” (MHi: Heath Papers). For Hessian captain Johann Ewald’s account of this action, see Ewald, Diary, description begins Johann Ewald. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven and London, 1979. description ends 178–81.

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