George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Benedict Arnold, 8 September 1780

From Major General Benedict Arnold

Head Quarters Robinson’s House September 8th 1780.

Dear Sir,

I do myself the Honor to inclose Your Excellency, Copy of a Letter from Colo. Hay of the 5th inst.1

In Answer to his Letter I informed him, “That our Force on the Lines was already inadequate to the Duty required to be done in that Quarter. And that I did not think it prudent to withdraw the two Companies of Malcoms Brigade Without first advising with Your Excellency on the subject And that I would inform him of the result, as soon as I was favored with your Orders.2 I shall therefore be happy to receive Your Excellency’s Directions in this Matter, by the returning Express.3 I have the Honor to be, with every Sentiment of regard & respect, Your Excellency’s Most Obedt & Very Hble Servt

B. Arnold


1The enclosed letter from Lt. Col. Udny Hay, state agent for New York, to Arnold was written at Fishkill on 5 Sept.: “I am yet for some Time dubious of our being able to furnish the Army, with that supply of Flour absolutely necessary, unless a Company of Men could be procured from the Army to assist for a Couple of Weeks, in threshing out the Quota demanded of their People living in the Vicinity of Mills, that can grind in the present low State of the Water; With this Assistance I think we should run no risque of a plentiful Supply for this Month, & after that Time; I flatter myself all our Difficulties on that score will Vanish.

“If You should approve of this, Colonel Malcom has two Companies of his Brigade who were left on the Lines, would probably be easiest spared & best Answer that Purpose.

“I should be Glad to hear from You on the subject” (DLC:GW).

2See Arnold to Hay, 7 Sept. (DLC:GW).

3GW replied to Arnold from headquarters in Bergen County on 9 Sept.: “I am favd with yours of yesterday. I believe the Army will soon be called upon for every person any ways necessary for its support, but we are drove to such extremities in the article of provision particularly, that to obtain it, we must submit to any terms which are demanded. I would for that reason wish you, if possible, to spare Colo. Hay all or part of the Men required; but if it should be inconvenient to draw off the two Companies of Colo. Malcoms Brigade, who I suppose are particularly well acquainted with the Country below, I would not mean to confine you to them—In short if you can comply with Colo. Hays request—you will do it in the manner which best suits your general arrangement.

“We have not yet received any further accounts of the southern misfortune. … P.S. I have this moment recd a letter from Govr Jefferson by which it appears that above one half the Maryland division had made their retreat good after a most obstinate engagement. I hope now matters are on the mending hand, our next accounts will be yet more favorable” (LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; see also Thomas Jefferson to GW, 3 Sept.). Arnold replied to GW on 11 September.

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