George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Anthony Wayne, 10 December 1780

From Brigadier General Anthony Wayne

Mount Kemble [Jockey Hollow, N.J.] 10th Decr 1780

Dear General

I was this morning honored with your favor of the 7th, & the company of the Count de Custine, & the Marquis de Laval, to breakfast, who have since proceeded on their way to Phila. attended by Lt Colo. Mentges.1

Major Fishbourn has this moment returned from Elizabethtown, with the Inclosed Intelligence & papers, which is Corroborated by the Information of two Deserters from the 54th who left Paulus Hook on thursday.2

our Hutts are nearly Completed, I had trace’d out a kind of Citidal, consisting of three small redoubts, the whole to be joined by a Stockade, but if this Embarkation actually takes place, I believe I shall content myself with some Strong3 Hutts, in the Nature of Block-houses, surrounded by good Abbatis, in which we shall fix the Camp Guards, their position is such, as to give great strength & Security to our Camp.

I expect a person out of N. York tomorrow evening, should he bring any material Intelligence I will communicate it the soonest possible.4

We experience great Difficulties from the total want of Dragoons, I wish a few could be procured.5 I have the Honor to be Your Excellency’s most Obt & very Hume Sert

Anty Wayne

ALS, DLC:GW; ADfS, PHi: Wayne Papers. Peter Kemble owned the house known as Mount Kemble.

1See GW to Wayne, 7 Dec., found at GW’s first letter to Samuel Huntington, 27 Nov., source note.

2Wayne’s draft ends this paragraph with “as well as several reports from N. York by different persons,” rather than “on thursday,” which was 7 December.

Wayne enclosed an intelligence report written at Elizabeth, N.J., on Friday, 8 Dec.: “In the Embarkation 1 Batn Granadiers British 1 [Batn] German 1 Batn Light Infantry 42d Regt British Knythausen’s Regt Germans Drafts of 5 men from Each Company through the Whole Army the Amount of Whole Not known Two Companies horse the[y] Embarked Last Monday Tuesday and Wednesday The horse will Embark this Day.

“the Army under Leslie is Embarked from Virgina and Landed at Cape fear North Carolina A Vessel Arrived on Wednesday Morning and Brought this Account.

“the Destination of the fleet fitting out Thought to be Bound to the Southward Knypthausen Commands them with Genl Phillips the Infamous Arnold is one of the Brigadier Genls.

“A Man of War and A packet is Arrived from England with Dispatches Nothing Material yet Tra[n]spierd” (DLC:GW; see also GW’s first letter to Nathanael Greene, 13 Dec.). The British expedition under Maj. Gen. Alexander Leslie landed at Charleston later in December (see Newsome, “A British Orderly Book,” description begins A. R. Newsome, ed. “A British Orderly Book, 1780–1781 [presumably Alexander Leslie’s].” North Carolina Historical Review 9 (1932): 57–78, 163–86, 273–98, 366–92. description ends 178; see also Nathanael Greene to GW, 31 Oct., n.4). New York City printer Hugh Gaine wrote in his journal entry for 4 Dec.: “The Packet in five weeks from Falmouth by which we have but little News.” He then wrote in his entry for 6 Dec.: “The talked of Expedition laid aside I imagine, in Consequences of the Advices received by the Media” (Ford, Journals of Hugh Gaine description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed. The Journals of Hugh Gaine, Printer. 1902. Reprint. [New York] 1970. description ends , 2:106).


Fig. 4. This depiction of the Pennsylvania line’s 1780–81 winter encampment likely was enclosed in Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne’s letter to GW dated 10 December. (Library of Congress)

Wayne also enclosed an intelligence report that he wrote and signed, evidently on this date, with information from “two Deserters from the 54th who left Paulus Hook last thursday, & arrived at Mount Kemble the 10th Decr: viz. The Grands. Light Infantry 42nd & three Hessian Regments, were in General Orders for Embarkation last sunday—on this day week, & that two Regiments from Europe landed at a place called Yellow Hook on tuesday” (DLC:GW). For the departure of this expedition to Virginia, see GW to Huntington, 27 Dec., and n.2 to that document.

Wayne apparently also enclosed a map of his encampment. It showed a “Citidal” in the center with four camp guard outposts surrounding that installation. The camp guards numbered 1, 2, and 3 contained “30 men in each.” The camp guard numbered 4 contained “a Serjt & 9 Detatched.” Huts for the infantry regiments and artillery were in three rows on two sides of the citadel (DLC:GW; see also Fig. 4, and Wayne to Joseph Reed, 16 Dec., found at GW to Wayne, 27 Nov., n.1).

3Wayne wrote this word on his draft but misrendered it on the ALS.

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