George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Stirling, 30 August 1780

To Major General Stirling

Hd Qrs [Bergen County] 30th Aug. 1780

My Lord

As it appears by some recent intelligence, that the Enemy are removing from Long Island to York Island1—And as their movement from the latter (by way of Spiten Devil can be masked & rapid) I request your Lordship to give a standing order—while we remain in this position—to the Regiment on the left of Poors Brigade, in case of a landing and firing at the Picket on their left, to march immediately to its support—taking care not to let the Enemy gain their left flank—This Regt may be followed by others from the same Brigade if necessary, the succeeding Regts to form on their right.

The same order may be given in behalf of Closter landing—to the left Regt in the 4th Massachusetts Brigade &c. I am with much esteem Your Lordships Most Obedient Servt

Go. Washington.

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

Stirling replied to GW from camp on this date: “Your Excellency Letter of this date I have received, and shall immediately give the orders Necessary for Sustaining the Guards at Spiten devil landing and the two Closters. Major Guitieus’s Militia are a fine body of Men and may be of great use in Sustaining the Guards at the two last places; by the last public Orders they were annexed to the Marquiss de la fyate’s Command, wherefore they may have some doubt about receiveing orders from me, to prevent a possibility of their Mistakeing their distination, would it not be best for your Excellency to send them orders that in Case of an Alarm at the two Closters, they immediately go to the Assistance of the Guards there?” (ALS, DLC:GW; see also General Orders, 9 Aug., and GW to John Mauritius Goetschius, 7 Oct.). GW’s aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton responded to Stirling on this date: “The General approves your proposed order and requests you to forward a copy to the respective guards—Tomorrow in general orders, they and the militia will be directed to take their orders from you. Bedkins corps is instructed to join you for the purpose of videts” (NjP: General Manuscripts). The general orders for 31 Aug. do not mention Stirling.

1For this intelligence, see Robert Howe to GW, 29 Aug., source note.

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