George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General John Sullivan, 5 November 1779

From Major General John Sullivan

Smiths Clove [N.Y.] Novemr the 5th 1779

Dear General

I was Last Evening honored with your Excys favor of yesterday1 am making Every preparation for Removing the Troops to the place your Excy has Directed unless the Express which I Sent Yesterday Should previous to our Departure Return with orders for us to March toward Elizabeth Town2 I Shall move for Conklings3 the Moment I can Collect Waggons to move with—I have Much Difficulty in moving as we have but ten Continental Waggons & the Delay arising from Collecting teams from the Inhabitants is very great I wish yr Excy to Direct the Quarter Master to Supply us in future. I have the Honor to be with the most profound Respect Dr Genl yr Excys most obedt Servt

Jno. Sullivan


1GW had written Sullivan, or the officer commanding his division, from West Point on 4 November: “That there may be a proper chain formd & the Troops within supporting distance of each other, I could wish you to advance those under your Command beyond Conklins along the upper road to Kings ferry—They will then be near the division Commanded by Lord Stirling or Genl Woodford” (ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). GW apparently enclosed the recipient’s version of this communication in a letter he wrote Brig. Gen. William Woodford while at Stony Point, N.Y., on the same date: “The letter to Genl. Sullivan, or officer commanding his division, is written on the supposition that those Troops are at Suffrans. If the case is otherwise, and they should have halted at Warwick or between that and Ringwood (as was intended if the order reached them in time for that purpose) the letter herewith sent is not to be forwarded, but returned to me, lest it may serve to confuse. The other letter to Genl. Wayne is to be forwarded immediately” (Fitzpatrick, Writings, description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. 39 vols. Washington, D.C., 1931–44. description ends 17:71; see also Woodford to GW, 6 Nov.).

2Sullivan’s letter to GW of 4 Nov. contained intelligence of an enemy concentration on Staten Island that threatened New Jersey (see also GW to Sullivan, 6 Nov., and Sullivan’s first letter to GW of the same date).

3Concklin (Conklin) was located about six miles northeast of Suffern, N.Y., in Orange, now Rockland, County. The Concklin family owned considerable property in that vicinity (see Cole, Rockland County, description begins David Cole, ed. History of Rockland County, New York, with Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men. New York, 1884. description ends 310–11).

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