George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Nathanael Greene, 26 September 1780

From Major General Nathanael Greene

Camp at Tappan Sept. 26 1780


Your Excellencys letter dated at Robinsons House 7 oClock last Evening came to hand ¼ past three this morning.1 Before the receipt of which I had put the first Pennsylvania brigade in motion; and put the whole Army under Marching orders, in consequence of a letter received from Col. Hambleton dated at VerPlanks Point. As the first brigade had Marched, I thought it most advisable to let the Second follow it, rather than break a division in the left Wing. The Troops marched with out their baggage which is to follow them this morning. The rest of the Army is in perfect readiness to move at the shortest notice.2

I beg leave to congratulate Your Excellency on the happy discovery; but am struck with asstonishment at the horid treason.

The plot being laid open I think the Enemy will be altogether desconcerted for some days to come; and give you full time to make such dispositions for the better security of West Point as you may think necessary. I am with great respect Your Excellencys Most Obedt humble Ser.

N. Greene


1See Document II.

2See Document III, n.2; see also General Orders, 25 Sept., and Ichabod Burnet to William Irvine, same date, in Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 6:312–13. A Continental soldier wrote in his diary entry for 26 Sept.: “Last night, about two o’clock orders came to be in the most perfect readiness to march at the shortest notice. Advice having been rec’d. from His Excellency of Gen’l. Arnold’s treason in being about to deliver up West Point into the hands of the Enemy. … This day the Pennsylvania divisions march’d agreeable to orders” (Nichols, “Doughboy of 1780,” description begins James R. Nichols, ed. “The Doughboy of 1780: Pages from a Revolutionary Diary.” The Atlantic Monthly: A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics 134 (July–December 1924): 459–63. description ends 460). Ensign Jeremiah Greenman had written in his diary entry for 25 Sept.: “Continuing in Orrangetown, this morning the army was all ordered to be under arms at ten oClock, when we marched from our Incampment about two miles where the whole Army formed a Line, then changed the Froont to the right & marched to our Incampment this night about 12.oClock we received orders to hold our Selvs in Readyness to march at a Moments warning on hearing that Genl. Arnold was to give up the forts at West Point—& at the same time this part of the army was to be attack’d” (Greenman, Diary, 182; see also Lt. Col. Henry Dearborn’s journal entry for 25 Sept. in Brown and Peckham, Dearborn Journals description begins Lloyd A. Brown and Howard H. Peckham, eds. Revolutionary War Journals of Henry Dearborn, 1775–1783. 1939. Reprint. New York, 1971. description ends , 205; Col. Israel Angell’s diary entry for the same date in Field, Angell Diary description begins Edward Field, ed. Diary of Colonel Israel Angell, Commanding the Second Rhode Island Continental Regiment during the American Revolution, 1778–1781. Providence, 1899. description ends , 123; General Orders, 26 Sept.; and Document VI, n.1, with Major John André’s Capture and Execution, 23 Sept.–7 Oct., editorial note).

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