George Washington Papers

General Orders, 8 February 1781

General Orders

Head Quarters New Windsor Thursday February 8. 1781.

Parole Countersigns [  ]

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

On this date, Lt. William Colfax, commandant of GW’s guard, wrote Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne from New Windsor: “His Excellency has ordered me to enclose & send you a list of the Names of the Penn[sylvani]a[n]s serving in his Guard; & request you to ascertain the terms of their inlistments, respectively, and give me the necessary information, that those Men who appear to be entitled to a discharge, if any there be, may accordingly have justice done them, & their wishes gratified.

“The General, in answer to a Petition from these Men, has informed them, through me, that they may not expect to avail themselves of any benefit, in consequence of the Mutiny in the line: and that only such will be discharged, as appears, by unequivocal evidence, to have inlisted for three years. Therefore I wish your return to particularly mention those men inlisted for the War; those whose inlistments are lost: & those who are inlisted for three years or the War. That I may not do injustice to the public. All your Men, serving in the Guard, before March 1780, except one, considered themselves as legally inlisted for the War; and received the 100 dollars gratuity, accordingly. those taken from the line since, or some of them, say the money force’d on them: but we never heard a complaint from them, ’till this affair in the line. Those inlistements, or the Muster Rolls of the Regiment, must finally determine the matter” (PHi: Wayne Papers). The petition has not been found. No reply from Wayne to Colfax has been identified.

On this date, Abraham Woodhull, using his alias Samuel Culper, wrote from Setauket, N.Y., to Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge, alias John Bolton. The letter, with a few words in code, reads: “I returned from 727 [New York] 709 [yesterday] But have nothing of much importance to communicate—The English Fleet of Transports and Merchantmen of about Seventy Sail left Sandy Hook about the middle of last week—A private Ship arrived from England, On Fryday last with the Kings Speech (See the papers Inclosed) And an Account of Adml [George] Darby with Thirty four Sail of the line being in Sight of the Combined Fleets Consisting of Fifty Sail—The Enemies papers gives a large Account of Arnolds Success in Virginia but is not fully beleived—Genl Clinton is Said to be dissatisfied with Arnolds Conduct—We have nothing from the Carolinas Or any other quarter Worthy of notice—The prisoners Are used very hard, Numbers are confined in the Dungeions, And condemned Rooms Supportd only on bread and water—In particular one Mr Saml Townsend Said to be one of your Commissarys who Suffers beyond expression—I can Say but little about the Situation of the Army—The 17 Drago[o]ns is at Heampstead, Coll Ludloes Regmt of Delancys Brigade And the Jersey Volunteers is at Loyds Neck, A very considerable part of the Yaugers And Anspach Reegmt are Cantoned from Oyster bay to Herricks—Three Battallions of Hessian Granedeers are Cantond from Jamaica to Flushing And think the 37 Regmt is also at Flushing All the Granedeers and Infantry are Cantoned at Bedford and Newtown—the 17 of Foot is at Flatbush thers one Battallion of Hessian Granedeers on York Island near Kings Bridge Which is all I can Say with any certainty—To conclude The Enemy expect a large French Fleet in the Spring—And their Spirits are very low—The principal Inhabitants that are most obnoxious to you—Still continue to offer their property to Sail, It appears to me that we need not doubt of Success—And that it is not far distant—But nevertheless must urge you to be vigilant and active—In particular be watchfull of the Enemies Amongs you Who are dayly forwarding Supplies to the Enemy I could mention numbers that I know are Guilty and many Circumstances that migh[t] detect others but am fearfull it would lead to a discouvery at all Hazerds, I will mention one Robert Brown of Shrewsbery in Jersey that I assure you keeps up a conection with the Refugees and hath frequently had them at his house—I have given you Such information as this repeatdly but could never hear you made any us[e] of it ⟨mutilated⟩ not long ago that I declared to you of a ⟨mutilated⟩ person being in your lines and in the Ene⟨mutilated⟩ Service—And but a few days ago he found his way into 727 And waitd on the Commander in Chief—It is now a full year that I have Supported this corresspondence And have forwarded frequent dispaches—And the expence incured amounts to 107£.18s.0—And all I have receivd is 29 Gines which is 54.2.8—The Ballance is due me and in want thereof wish it could be forward Soon—Agreeabl to your request hope Shall Soon be able to place a person at 727 as heretofore” (DLC:GW). The notice of the arrival of the ship from Bristol, England, and the newspaper reports mentioned by Woodhull appeared in the 5 Feb. edition of The New-York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury.

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