George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major Benjamin Tallmadge, 12 August 1780

From Major Benjamin Tallmadge

North Castle [N.Y.] Augt 12th 1780

Dear Genl

By the particular Assistance of Lieut. Rogers of the 2d L.D.1 I have procured the enclosed original Letter to Major Delancy,2 & the Copy of another Letter to a Person whose name I am under solemn Obligations, for the present, to conceal.3 In some future day when I may have the pleasure of seeing your Excellency, I shall unfold the matter more fully. Suffice it for the present to say that I suspect I know the Author of sd Letters; & that Your Excellency may be assisted in the Recollection possibly some of your Family may remember that some time about the Date of the enclosed Letters, a Mister Pool was at or about Hd Qrs with a Servant, a Sulkey & two or three fine Horses—One of your Aids endeavoured to buy a horse of him. I am told, he passed thro’ Fairfield on the 7th inst. from Wilton, & said he was a Volunteer Aid in your Excellency’s Family.4 He is An Inhabitant of N. London, & the Circumstance of his mentioning Genl Saltonstalls Family corroborates my first Opinion—He was formerly a Lieut. in our Regt & I think I know his hand writing—As he is now gone to NewPort I wish to know whether I had not better immediately send to the Officer of our Regt at New London, to secure him, or so to watch him that he cannot escape. I shall wait impatiently for Your Excellency’s Instructions, & am in the Interim, with Esteem & Regard, Your Excellency’s most Obedt Servt

Benja. Tallmadge

P.S. If your Excellency thinks best I will Send Lt Rogers on the business who knows the Man, & the Circumstances which I have related.

ALS, DLC:GW; ADfS, NjP: Benjamin Tallmadge Collection. Tallmadge wrote “Private” and “⅌ Express” on the cover of the ALS. A note on the cover of the ALS in Tallmadge’s writing reads: “The Qr Mr at Stonny Point is Requested to forward this Letter without loss of time—Saturday [12 Aug.] 8 oClock P.M.” The draft does not include the postscript.

1Jedediah Rogers (c.1758–1827), of Connecticut, joined the 2d Continental Dragoons as a cornet in February 1778 and rose to lieutenant the following June. He served until the close of the war. He became a captain in the U.S. Army Light Dragoons in May 1792 and resigned the following October.

2The enclosed letter, signed “D.M.” and addressed to “Major Delancy A.D.C. to G. Clinton N. York,” is dated 5 Aug. at Wilton, Conn., and reads: “I this moment arrived here—Mr W[ashington] began crowsing the N. River befor I reached camp after I left Genl Clinton his army began to cross on the 4the the whole are going over to tanpan [Tappan, N.Y.] Except about … 1000 Continentals wich are to be left at W. Point with betwen 3000 and 4000 militia under the Command of G. Arnold—by what I can find out the reason of G. Washingtons Crossing the N. River is on account of Flour and Forrage as the magazens of those Stores are chefly on the other side of the river—and as His Exelency G. Clinton returned he thought it not proper to attact N. York. I am now on my way to N[ew]port to endeavor to collect something concerning the French Army” (DLC:GW). The troop numbers were a deception (see n.4). For the actual number of troops garrisoning the forts at West Point, N.Y., see Benedict Arnold to GW, this date.

Oliver De Lancey (1749–1822), son of Loyalist brigadier general Oliver De Lancey, joined the British army in October 1766 as a cornet in the 14th Regiment of Light Dragoons and received promotion to lieutenant in December 1770. He transferred to the 17th Regiment of Light Dragoons as a captain in May 1773 and became the regiment’s major in June 1778. In 1780 he was an aide-de-camp to Gen. Henry Clinton. Following the death of Maj. John André, De Lancey became adjutant general of the army at New York. In October 1781, he rose to lieutenant colonel. At the close of the war, he returned with his father to Great Britain, where he continued to rise in the army, becoming a major general and colonel of the 17th Dragoons by 1795, a lieutenant general in 1801, and finally a general in 1812.

3The enclosed copy of a letter, also signed “D.M.” and dated 6 Aug. at Wilton, intended as a cover letter for the letter in n.2, reads: “I take the fredum to write a few scrawls to you without any acquaintanc at all with you—but in the course of two weeks Expect to see you my self—Mr Mathews, of N. York, gave me your name and Mr —— and —— as being good friends to goverment I profess myself so also for that Reason I have inclos’d you a letter for Major Delancy A.D.C. to G. Clinton, which I hope you wount fail Sending of imedietly as it is of the greatest importan[c]e that they should have it imedeadeily—I left G.C. last friday [4 Aug.] in N. York, am going on Eastward on Business for him now. other wise should have calle’d on you myself—but have made an Excuse to the person that I send this by that I wanted to acquanint you of Mrs Sallanstall—of New London, being very ill and that I want you to meet me at Fairfield, imedetly—this is only to blind the Ies of the Bearer, be very carefull obaut matters” (DLC:GW).

4Thomas Pool had resigned his commission as a lieutenant in the 2d Continental Dragoons in September 1778 and was now acting as a double-agent spy for GW (see GW’s reply to Tallmadge of 13 Aug.). For his past work in alerting Continental forces to British operations, see Nathanael Greene to GW, 22 June (both letters [letter 1; letter 2]).

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