George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General William Woodford, 12 October 1779

To Brigadier General William Woodford

Head Quarters—West-point [12 Oct. 1779]1

Dr Sir.

I have received your favor of the 11th.2

It appears to me that your present position is such as to afford a proper support to the infantry, and preserve at the same time some relation to the succour of this post.3 These were the two principal objects we had in view. A more remote one was the prevention of the enemy’s retreat by land from Stoney point, should any circumstances compel them to this measure.4 You will however have advice from General Wayne or in some other manner when this should become the chief object of your attention. At present you will take no notice of the matter. Tho’ the event is wholly uncertain it should nevertheless be kept secret. I am Dr Sir


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

1The draft is docketed 12 October.

2This letter has not been found.

3Woodford had positioned the Virginia division in the vicinity of Smith’s Tavern, near Kakiat, N.Y. (see Anthony Wayne to GW, 14 Oct.). Woodford was commanding the Virginia division in the absence of Major General Stirling, who had gone to Baskingridge, N.J., to recover his health. GW had not been satisfied with Stirling’s selection of a position near Paramus, N.J., and had ordered him to move the division closer to Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne’s Light Infantry Corps (see GW to Stirling, 7 Oct.).

4See GW to Stirling, 4 Oct.; see also GW to Stirling, 14 September. For GW’s plans for a joint offensive with the French fleet, of which this operation was a part, see Planning for an Allied Attack on New York, c.3–7 October.

Index Entries