George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Captain Thomas Blanch, 24 August 1780

To Captain Thomas Blanch

Head Quarters [near Liberty Pole, N.J.] 24th Augst 1780


I cannot help expressing exceeding great surprize at your not obeying the order you received yesterday, to take post with the men under your command at the Closter Landings1—Nor do I see how you could have answered it to yourself Or Your Country, if any disaster had happened in consequence of Your neglect.

You are to repair thither immediately With the whole of Your Men. The service will not probably keep you there more than two or three days, in which time you cannot suffer much for want of Tents—Our Army before now has been almost a whole Campaign without Tents—And this spring were from the 6th of June till sometime in July, without a single one for either officers or men (making use of bush Bowers) as a substitute.

By the Most trusty & expeditious men you have, you are to communicate the earliest intelligence of any Movement of the Enemy, which you May discover; to Me at this place—Genl Clinton at Fort Lee—And if it should be of a Nature to render the Measure necessary, to Colo. Malcom at Dobbs ferry.

I am very sorry on account of Your sufferings for want of provision—Unfortunately it is but too generally the case with the whole Army at this time, but every Measure is pursuing for relief—In the mean while, you will endeavour to get supplied from the Country & pass Certificates. I am Sir Your Humble Servt

Go. Washington.

P.S. I shall expect the most pointed compliance with these Orders, because they are correspondent with & part of a larger plan.


Instead of sending to Genl Clinton at Fort Lee—Your Communications to the Officer of the Guard opposite to Spiten Devil will do.

Df, in David Humphreys’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Blanch commanded a company of New Jersey state troops, levied for six months and assigned to Bergen County, N.J. (see Anthony Wayne to GW, 18 July, and N.J. Acts 1779, Third Sitting description begins Acts of the General Assembly of the State of New-Jersey, At a Session begun at Trenton on the 26th Day of October, 1779, and continued by Adjournments. Being the third Sitting of the fourth Assembly. Trenton, 1780. description ends , 86–92).

1On this date, Blanch wrote GW from Closter, N.J.: “have received orders to tarry & guard the two Landing places thinks it most proper to remain at the sam⟨e⟩ Quarters having no tents to Shelter us from the weather untill further orders.

“have Stationed A Subs Guard at the Lowr Landing & A Sergt at the upper please to Inform me if not right—am at present much Necessiated for provision—knows not Where to apply pray be So kind as give me Direction how to procure it—hav been Denyed by Several of the Comy by reason A scarcity in Store” (ALS, DLC:GW).

The orders to Blanch have not been identified.

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