George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Arthur St. Clair, 10 January 1781

To Major General Arthur St. Clair

Head Quarters New Windsor
10th Jany 1781 [8] OClock P.M.

Dear Sir

Your favors of the 7th and 8th from Morris Town both reached me in the course of this day.1 I cannot conceive how Major Fishbourne could have misunderstood me as to my intention of going down. The postscript of my letter of the 3d to General Wayne, which was added after I had consulted Governor Clinton and the General Officers was to the contrary.2 Upon receiving your letter of the 7th I sent directions to General Heath to assemble all the General Officers and Officers commanding Corps at his Quarters tomorrow Morning, where I will meet them.3 What I have to propose is of too delicate a nature to commit to paper, neither can I say, untill I have had the meeting, whether it will be prudent for me to go down towards Morris—You shall hear from me after the meeting is over.4 I think it appears by the letter which has fallen into your hands that there has not been much, if any intercourse between the Mutineers and Sir H. Clinton. And if the future correspondence can be intercepted, it will embarrass the British and the troops. You will have been the best judges of the kind of answer which it would be proper to give to Sir Henry’s message: But as we had not force sufficient to wish to decoy him out, perhaps it will have been most prudent5 to answer him in the negative.

I am certain that in consequence of my letter to General Wayne, of the 8th, every offer that could with propriety be made has been made.6 What further is to be done can be better judged of by you on the spot, than by me at this distance—The steps you have hitherto taken are judicious and strictly proper.

Be pleased to thank the Marquis and Colo. Laurens for their letters, which a press of business prevents me from answering.7

If I do go down it will be by Chester—Warwick Colo. Sewards—Davenports Mill and to Morris Town You will send Expresses on that Route, but do not let it be known that I mean to take it. I am with great Regard Dear Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, O; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The time does not appear on the LS; it is supplied from the draft, which Tilghman also penned.

1See St. Clair to GW, 7 and 8 January.

5Tilghman first wrote “best” on the LS and continued with “most prudent” after striking out that word. The phrase appears on the draft.

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