George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Israel Shreve, 4 December 1780

From Colonel Israel Shreve

Pompton [N.J.] 4 Decr 1780


Agreeable to the orders of Major Gen. Heath, I marched with the Jersey Brigade, on the 30th Ult.; for this place.1 At King’s-Ferry, on my rout hither, I had the honor to receive your Excellency’s favor, dated at Morristown, 29 Novr 80: But the instructions, to which it referred, have not yet come to hand.2

According to your Excellency’s direction, I left Col. Weltner, with the German Battalion, at Sidman’s Clove;3 The other regiments of the Brigade are at this place; where I am informed we are to hut; but can find no person that can shew me the spot. Should be happy in your Excellency’s further Commands.4 I have the honor to be, With the most perfect respect, Your Excy’s Very hum. servt

I. Shreve Col. Comdt Jersey Brigade


Shreve again wrote GW from Pompton on this date: “I this morning had the honor to address your Excellency, & expected my letter would have met you at Morristown; but apprehensive that this may not be the case, I take the liberty to transmit a duplicate of the same, to New-Windsor” (ALS, DLC:GW).

2While at Morristown, N.J., on 29 Nov., GW had written the officer commanding the New Jersey brigade: “The Jersey Brigade is placed under the general direction of the Officer commanding in this State, and you are to obey his orders, but you are nevertheless to attend to the instructions you have already received from me and those which follow—Copies of which you are to furnish the Commanding Officer in the State with, that he may give none which may clash with them.

“You are to leave a detachment of about one hundred Men properly Officered, and under the command of a Feild Officer, near Sufferans: at or near the place where the old Barracks stood, where, or on the Height South of the Bridge, it may be well to build a Block House proof against Musketry and calculated for Barracks for the above number of Men—or a smaller number—say Sixty.

“You are, in case you should receive such information as you can rely on of the enemy’s moving up the North River in force, to march immediately with the troops under your command to West point—giving the Officer commanding there and in the Jerseys notice thereof.

“You are, as far as it is in your power with prudence, to oppose any incursions of the enemy in the quarter where you lay—particularly in that district of Country between the passaic and North Rivers.

“And you are to afford when it is required, or when in your judgment it is necessary, escorts to the public property passing to and from the Army.

“You are not under any pretence whatever, without leave from me, to suffer a Regiment to be without a Feild Officer, or a Company without one Commissioned Officer at least.

“Every Horse, public and private, that can possibly be dispensed with is to be sent from Camp as soon as you get to your ground. The Officers who are intitled to keep Horses at public expence in Camp will be allowed the expence of keeping them at a distance.

“It is expected that the strictest discipline will be maintained by the troops under your command, and no injury offered to the persons or property of the Inhabitants” (LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, NNGL; ADfS, DLC:GW; copy, PHi: Wayne Papers; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; GW’s draft concludes “Given &ca this 29th day of Novr,” but the dateline has 28 Nov.; see also n.4 below, and Samuel Huntington to GW, 12 Nov., n.5).

3For Sidman’s tavern, see GW to Anthony Wayne, 27 Nov., n.7.

4GW replied to Shreve from headquarters at New Windsor on 7 Dec.: “I returned to this pla⟨ce las⟩t Evening where I found your letter of the 4th: I cannot conceive how my Instructions of the 27th of Novemr could have miscarried—Inclosed you have a Copy of them, which you will follow—I am sorry for the accident which happened to my first orders as you have thereby lost a spell of very fine Weather for hutting” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; place and month from the docket of the draft; see also GW to the officer commanding the New Jersey brigade, 27 Nov., found at General Orders, 26 Nov., n.3).

Shreve replied to GW from Pompton on 11 Dec.: “I was honored with Your Excellency’s favor of the 7th instant, on the morning of the 9th following; accompanied by your instructions of a former date.

“I immediately marched the Brigade to this place, where we are industriously employed in building our huts.

“Our situation is about a mile from the entrance of the Clove mentioned in Your Excellency’s orders; on a bye road, leading from the Ringwood-road to Bloomingdale; & very convenient for wood & water.

“Enclosed is also a letter of intelligence, from a person employed for that purpose” (ALS, DLC:GW; the enclosed intelligence report has not been identified; see also n.2 above).

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