George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Edward Hand, 8 September 1780

From Brigadier General Edward Hand

Infanty Camp Bergen County 8th Septr 178[0]


In compliance with your Excys Orders of the 6th Unstt1 I beg leave to inform you, that considering the present situation of the Southren States, & the Apparent danger of their relinquishing the Idea of farther Opposition if not effectually supported in the course of the ensuing Winter—It is my Opinion that our best plan will be to Strain every nerve to do it, & that our present preperations & dispositions should tend as much as possible to facilitate such an undertaking, whether our expectations of reinforcements be answered or not.

If we obtain a naval superiority and an addition to the land Forces, we can with ease & expedition, after the season for active operations in this quarter is nearly over, transport such a Body of Troops to the Southward as will, in all probability, insure success, and leave a number here which, considering the assistance this Country is Able to give, may in a great measure, restrain the Enemy, untill the Southren Army or Part of it can return.

If we should find ourselves disappointed in our flattering hopes of Succour, it will still, I think, be necessary to draw off a considerable part of the Army to assist the Southren States, and depend on the Militia’s enabling us to act on the defencive here in either case the utmost exertions should be made to erect Magazines of Provisions & Forage, and to provide for the easie Subsistance of the Troops & transportation of their Baggage, &ca should we be reduced to the necessity of a Land March, and the necessity of making speedy levies of men should be strongly recommended & insisted on to such of the Southren States as can afford them.

when I view our own strength & the present Situation of the Enemy I can’t discover a possibility of immediately undertaking any offencive operation with a prospect of success, or consistent with the execution of the plan Already mentioned, nor do I think that we can or Ought to detach to the Southward untill we know what we have to expect from the second division of the French Fleet and Army. I have the Honour to be Sir with much respect your Excys most Obedt & most Hble Servt

Edwd Hand

ALS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

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