George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Captain Alexander Mitchell, 30 December 1780

To Captain Alexander Mitchell

[New Windsor, 30 Dec. 1780]

To Captain Alexander Mitchell of the — Jersey Regiment1

You will march as soon as possible with the Company under your command, by the most convenient Route, to Wyoming upon Susquehannah, and upon your arrival there deliver the inclosed to Colo. Zebulon Butler, which contains an order to deliver up the post to you and to join the Army with the Men at present in garrison there.2

You will as soon as possible not only make yourself acquainted with the Country in the vicinity of your post, but with inhabitants in different parts on whom you can depend, and who will give you the earliest intelligence of the approach of an Enemy—The principal design of stationing you at Wyoming is to afford cover and protection to the Country in case of an incursion of the Savages, which you will do as far as your force will admit—But you will take especial care never to be drawn so far from your post as to leave it in such a condition, that the Enemy may in your absence possess themselves of it.

In case any thing material happens you will endeavour to give me the earliest notice of it. And if you receive any intelligence of the approach of the enemy, you will communicate it to the Inhabitants upon the River—that they may prepare themselves. Given at Head Quarters at New Windsor this 30th day of Decemr 1780.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Tilghman added the salutation after Col. Israel Shreve supplied the officer’s name (see GW to Shreve, 28 Dec., and n.1). Mitchell then served in the 1st New Jersey Regiment.

2GW enclosed his letter to Col. Zebulon Butler written at New Windsor on 29 Dec.: “The Honble the Congress having, in order to remove all cause of jealousy and discontent between the States of Pennsylvania and Connecticut, directed me to withdraw the present Garrison at Wyoming and to replace them with troops from the Continental Army not belonging to the line of Pennsylvania or Connecticut or Citizens of either of the said States, I have for that purpose ordered Capt. Mitchell of the Jersey line to relieve you—You will therefore upon his arrival deliver up the post to him and march immediately with all the Men at present under your command and join the Army in the neighbourhood of this place. I am well aware of the difficulty which there will be of bringing away the Men of Ransoms Company, but I trust and shall expect that you will exert yourself to do it effectually, because if they remain behind in any numbers, it will seem like an intention to elude the Resolve above recited.

“You will, before you march, give Capt. Mitchell—every necessary information respecting the situation of the Country, and make him acquainted with those characters upon whom he can depend for advice and intelligence in case of an incursion of the Enemy” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript; see also Samuel Huntington to GW, 16 Dec., and GW to Israel Shreve, 29 Dec.). Butler received this letter on 22 Jan. 1781 (see his reply to GW on 24 Feb. in DLC:GW). Capt. Samuel Ransom had raised an independent ranger company from among the Connecticut settlers around Wyoming, Pennsylvania.

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