George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major Benjamin Tallmadge, 24 November 1780

From Major Benjamin Tallmadge

Fairfield [Conn.] November 24th [1780] 6 oClock A.M.


I take this earliest opportunity to inform your Excellency that I have returned from Long Island with the Troops ordered for my Command—I have no time to be particular, as I have not yet obtained a Return of the Prisoners, or the Articles taken at fort St George, near Smith’s house, they having not all arrived at this Place1—As I am sure your Excellency must be concerned for the Detachmt having never heard from us since the Commd was ordered, this must serve to inform you that your Excellency’s orders of the 11th inst. have been most punctually executed, and with very little loss on our Part.2 I have the honor to be &c.

B. Tallmadge

ADfS, CtLHi. Tallmadge later added: “N.B. The original was dated the 25th thro’ mistake” (see GW to Tallmadge, 28 Nov., found at Tallmadge to GW, 25 Nov., n.14).

New York City printer Hugh Gaine wrote in his journal entry for this date: “A Report that the Refugee Post at the Sunken Meadows in Long Island are all taken away by the Rebels” (Ford, Journals of Hugh Gaine description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed. The Journals of Hugh Gaine, Printer. 1902. Reprint. [New York] 1970. description ends , 2:105).

1Beginning in September, Loyalists built works known as Fort St. George at William Smith’s Manor of St. George estate, located at the eastern end of Great South Bay in the current hamlet of Shirley, N.Y. (see Tallmadge to GW, 7 Nov., and notes 1 and 6). The fort “was a triangular inclosure of several acres of ground, at two angles of which was a strongly barricaded house, and at the third, a fort, with a deep ditch and wall, encircled by an abattis of sharpened pickets, projecting at an angle of 45 degrees. The fort and houses were entirely connected with a strong stockade, 12 feet high, every piece sharpened, and fastened to each other by a transverse rail, strongly bolted to each. The work was nearly finished, and had embrazures for 6 guns, and but 2 mounted. The Fort was 96 ft. square, and had one gate and sally port, leading into the grand parade” (Onderdonk, Suffolk and Kings Counties description begins Henry Onderdonk, Jr. Revolutionary Incidents of Suffolk and Kings Counties; with an Account of the Battle of Long Island, and the British Prisons and Prison-Ships at New-York. New York, 1849. description ends , 95–96).

2See GW to Tallmadge, 11 Nov., found at Tallmadge to GW, 7 Nov., n.7.

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