George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Benedict Arnold, 21 August 1780

To Major General Benedict Arnold

Head Quarters Orange Town 21st Augt 1780

Dear Sir

I recd your favor of yesterday late last Evening.1 Should you receive intelligence upon which you can depend that any considerable number of the enemy’s shipping have sailed Eastward, or any other matter which you may think interesting to the French Army and Navy, you will be pleased to communicate it to Genl Heath at Newport, as well as to me. There is a Chain of Expresses from Colo. Sheldons quarters to Tower Hill.2

Baron Steuben wishes you to make enquiry, whether there is an Officer in Colo. Livingstons Regt at Kings ferry capable of doing the duty of Dy Adjt Genl and sub Inspector at your post.3 If there is, he will deputize him and send him proper instructions. I am Dear Sir Your most obt and humble servt

Go: Washington

P.S. I have ordered Colo. Malcom to march from Haverstraw and take post near Niack.4

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The postscript appears only on the LS. Arnold replied to GW on 23 August.

1On 20 Aug., Arnold wrote GW from his headquarters at Beverly Robinson’s house: “The Inclosed Copy of a Letter from Coll Wells, this Moment came to hand, as it contains Intelligence which may be of Importance I send off an Express with it.

“Your Excellency’s Letter of Yesterday I received this Morning & shall pay particular Attention to it” (LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, NN: Miscellaneous and Personal, Benedict Arnold). Lt. Col. Levi Wells reported in his letter that he had “recd Intelligence from good Authority, that General Clinton is on his way towards the East End of long Island, that he was on the 16th Instant at a place call’d Bethpage the British Troops at White Stone were then embarking, three Regiments were embarked from the City of New York and a very hot Press was going on there for the Sea service on teusday last” (DLC:GW).

3For the request for an officer to fill this post, see Arnold to GW, 6 Aug. (second letter); see also GW to Arnold, 8 August.

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