George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Arthur St. Clair, 11 January 1781

From Major General Arthur St. Clair

Morris Town [N.J.] Janry 11th 1781


I was favoured last Night with a Letter from the Comittee of Congress dated the 9th Instant; by which I am informed that the Mutineers were on their March to Trenton; that Matters wore a favourable Aspect with regard to them, and there were great Hopes that every thing would be accommodated in an amicable Manner.1 But as there is no mention made of the Principles I fear Governor Reeds Proposals must be the Basis of it; which amounts to a Dissolution of the Line. I have indeed heard that they have gone farther and consented that such Officers as are Most disagreeable to them shall be left out—but this Part of it I cannot credit.2

The Ennemy have made no Movement, trusting I suppose to the Effect of their Proposals which have been rejected and the Persons employed by Sir Henry Clinton arrested, and (I am informed) tried and condemned3—midst the Stain the Mutiny has brought upon them this Instance of Attachment to their Country shines forth with peculiar Lustre.

I have this Moment a Letter from Colonel Barber which informs that the Ennemy are about to return to their former Quarters—the Account is brought by a Person who escaped from Staten Island, and cannot be much depended on4—He is at present at Chatham with the Detachment and is desirous to return, as soon as may be, to the Camp as the Soldiers are ill provided in Cloathing[.]5 If no Troops remain on this Station it will be necessary to remove the Stores from this Place, for small as they are the loss would be felt.

In anxious Expectation to receive your Excellencys Orders I Am with the greatest Esteem and Respect Sir Your most obedient Servant

Ar. St Clair

The Contractor for this County has just informed me that no further Dependance is to be put on this County for Provision, and the Commissary has not a single Pound of Meat on hand.6


1The letter from the Continental Congress Committee on the Pennsylvania Line to St. Clair of 9 Jan. has not been identified.

2The Pennsylvania mutineers had not asked for such a concession.

3For the proposals sent to the mutineers by British general Henry Clinton, see Continental Congress Committee on the Pennsylvania Line to GW, 7 Jan., n.2. For the trial and execution of the emissaries sent by Clinton, see Continental Congress Committee on the Pennsylvania Line to GW, 10–11 Jan., and n.7.

4The letter from Lt. Col. Francis Barber to St. Clair has not been identified.

5For Barber’s detachment from the New Jersey brigade, see Israel Shreve to GW, 8 Jan., and n.1 to that document.

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