George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Nathanael Greene, 18 September 1780

To Major General Nathanael Greene

Hd Qrs Peeks Kill [N.Y.] Sepr 18th 80

Dr Sir,

I have received New York papers confirm⟨ing⟩ the arrival of Rodney with 10 sail of the line.1 Major Jammison says 8 and adds that Clinton has ordered the whole flying army to New York and that 70 transpor⟨ts⟩ were ready to receive them2—West Point I fou⟨nd⟩ is very weak. I would have you move the army to the vicinity of Tappan ⟨in order to⟩ be nearer all the points that interest us—The garrison is so weak that it seems essentia⟨l⟩ to reinforce it—Send a good Continental Regiment for this purpose.3 Take all the pains you can to procure intelligence and give me the quickest advice.4 I am Dr Sir Yr Obedt Ser.


Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC: Hamilton Papers. GW’s aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton wrote on the docket: “I believe this letter was written from West Point just previous to the discovery of Arnolds Treason on a visit to the garrison when the General was on his way to R. Island” (see The Hartford Conference, 20–22 Sept., editorial note).

2Lt. Col. John Jameson wrote GW from North Castle, N.Y., on 17 Sept.: “By two Deserters from Col: Robinson’s Regiment I am informed that Admiral Rodney has arrived at the Hook and that General Clinton has given Orders to the Flying Army to repair from Long Island to New York Where about seventy Transports are Ordered to be in readiness to receive them and Sail at a Moments warning. I should be happy to know whether it is agreable to you to exchange Delanceys Cow Boys that may fall into my hands for such Men as they may take belonging to this Detachment. I am just now inform’d by a Gentleman who has been at West Chester with a flag that he heard one of Delanceys Officers telling another that Admiral Rodney had arrived at the Hook with eight Sail of the Line that he arrived at eight OClock in the morning (what day he did not hear) and Sailed at one OClock the same day” (ALS, DLC:GW; Jameson wrote “⅌ Dragoon” on the cover; GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison

Map 3. Concern over the weakened condition of the West Point garrison led Washington to direct the army to the area of Tappan, N.Y., just north of the New Jersey line on the west side of the Hudson River. (Illustrated by Rick Britton. Copyright Rick Britton 2019)

wrote “ansd 18 1780” on the docket, but no reply from GW to Jameson has been found).

3Greene sent Col. Return Jonathan Meigs’s regiment to West Point (see the “After Orders” with the general orders for this date).

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