George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major Benjamin Tallmadge, 23 October 1780

From Major Benjamin Tallmadge

Pines Bridge [N.Y.] Octo. 23d 1780


I had the honor, a few days ago, to receive Your Excellency’s favor of the 17th inst., & last night that of the 20th came to hand.1 I am this day obliged to attend Col. Sheldon’s Tryal at West Point,2 nevertheless C—shall be immediately notified of the Questions which Your Excellency wishes to have resolved. I have moreover stated the same Points to Lt Col. Jameson, who still remains on the Lines, that he may obtain a Solution of the same thro’ another Channel. He will write Your Excellency specially on the matter very soon.3 With respect to the Intelligence we have lately been able to Collect in this Quarter, the enclosed from Lieut. Col. Jameson will give it in brief.4

Agreeable to your Excellency’s Directions I send enclosed the five Pieces of Gold heretofore mentioned.5 Any Instructions which Your Excellency may have for me, had better pass thro’ Genl Heath’s hands at Present, as I expect to be detained at West Point some time. I have the Honor to be, with great Regard, Sir, Your Excellency’s most Obedt Servt

Benja. Tallmadge

P.S. I should be glad if Your Excellency would send me a little more of the Stain, as C—has wrote m⟨e⟩ to that purport.6


ALS, DLC:GW; copy, NHi: Varick Papers. The postscript only appears on the ALS.

1For GW to Tallmadge, 17 Oct., see Tallmadge to GW, 11 Oct., n.3; for GW to Tallmadge, 20 Oct., see Tallmadge to GW, 17 Oct., source note.

2Tallmadge wrote Connecticut merchant Barnabas Deane from Fishkill, N.Y., on 27–29 Oct. to report that Col. Elisha Sheldon’s court-martial had “adjourned to this Place, & very contrary to my Expectations, it has lasted but three days. I am, in Justice to Col. Sheldon, bound to inform You that I never saw Charges so badly supported in my life” (Deane Papers description begins The Deane Papers: Correspondence Between Silas Deane, His Brothers, and Their Business and Political Associates, 1771–1795. Hartford, 1930. Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, vol. 23. description ends , 155–56; see also General Orders, 8 Oct., and n.3 to that document).

3Lt. Col. John Jameson wrote GW on 31 Oct. about the British embarkation from New York (DLC:GW; see also GW to Samuel Huntington, 17 Oct., n.2).

6The letter from Samuel Culper (Abraham Woodhull’s alias) requesting “stain” has not been identified. Tallmadge means invisible ink, which James Jay supplied and called medicine. Jay had written GW from Fishkill on 19 Sept.: “I am extremely sorry it has not been in my power to supply you sooner with the Medicine. The disagreeable situation which I have hitherto been in, owing to a very considerable loss I am likely to sustain by the new System of Finance, deprived me of that pleasure” (ALS, DLC:GW; see also John Jay’s second letter to GW, 19 Nov. 1778, n.1). For currency reform, see Philip Schuyler to GW, 12 March 1780, and notes 3 and 4 to that document.

GW replied to Tallmadge from headquarters at Preakness on 24 Oct.: “I have received your favor of yesterday. Inclosed you have 5 Guineas to replace those sent to me.

“I send by the Bearer a Phial with a small quantity of the stain, of which I have but little. I have nothing further to give you in charge than what was contained in my last” (LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, NNFTM; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

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