George Washington Papers

To George Washington from David Forman, 23 June 1780

Freehold 23d June 1780


I had the Honor of receiveing your Excly Favr of the 21st last Evening, wherein your Excly expresses an opinion that Sr Henry Clintons object at present is West Point—My Want of knoledge of that place hardly permits my Attempting to form a Judgement of the Appearances that might indicate an Attack—Yet the Mind will on [su]tch Important Subjects attempt forming a Judgment—My Last Information to Your Excly was that report said a Number of Sr Harrys [of] had gone up the North River without Stoping at New York—[   ] Report preveild here Untill yesterday—When a Gent. from below [w]hose Attachment I am well Assured—Informed me that a Number [   ] the Troops from Carolina were Landed on Stratin Island—he [g]ave full Credit to the Report—and allthough he got it from the disaffected Imagined full confidence might be given the Report.

the Enclosed Diary down to Tewsday Evening will Inform Your Excly that at Least all the British Ships of Considerable force are gone to Sea or Laying at the Hook—from an opinion that I have Recd that Ships of War would be absolutely Necessary to Sir Henry Clintons Attack on West Point Induced me to give Credit to the Acct of his Troops Landing on Stratin Island & to Imagine Nothing was Immideately intended up the North River.

On Tewsday Evening last about 150 of the refugees Landed in this County—They Took Ten of the Inhabitants from there Houses and Plundered them of Every thing and drove off a Considerable Number of Stock—Before they Got off they were Attacked by the Militia—they retook all the Stock and report Says killed and wounded Several—the Enemy Took off there Prisoners and all there portable plunder—The Militia Took one prisoner.

On his Examination he Confesses he is not a Soldier—Neither was he to Receive any pay—that there Sole Business was to take [a] Number of the Inhabitants from there Houses and to Plunder & that the plunder was to be divided amongst them—The fact is they were properly a Marauding Gang—Genl Sir William How while the British Army Lay in this State published an order declaring all persons not uniformed & Acting without a Commissioned Officer if Taken Should be hang’d Immediately as Marauding.

Some Sutch Example is I am Sure necessary in this part of the Country to deter that Class of People—or property Can No Longer be secure for a Night—My Next dispatch shall Cover for Your Excly perusal the Prisoners Confession at Large in which I shall be happy to have Your Excly opinion and if Agreeable to the Rules of War prisoners Taken in that way sho[uld] be Executed Beg your Excly direct Sutch Order—Docr Campb[ell] the Bareirs Impatience to Set out Will not permit my Copy[ing] the Prisonors Examination. I have the Honr to be Your Exclys Obdt Humble Servt

David Forman

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


18-20 June 1780

first Sunday Morning June the 18

the Weather Cloudy Small Showers the Wind S. W. thirty Said Came in Several Large Ships of War the Weather Dark I Could Not Tell their force—Between 6 OClock and 9 Came in Upwards of twenty More Some Small in this fleet there May be 9 or 10 Above 50 Guns besides frigates and Smaller Ships of War.

Sunday After Noon the Wind Very hard at 10 N.W.—Came Down and Went to Sea—3 Ships of War.

Sunday Evening the Wind Abating Some Ships Lying at Anchor in [the offing].

Monday Morning the 19

The Weather Clear the Wind 10 N.W. 4 Ships Went up

Monday Evening Came Down 5 Ships of War 4 Went to Sea one of 64 Guns (With A flag at foretopmast) Head Lies at Sandy Hook.

Lies 6 Ships of War Without the Hook 2 of 64 one of 50 the Others about 40 Guns.

A Severe Press[s] at New York for Seamen.

Tuesday Morning the [20]

Clear Wind, West [   ] Large Ships that Lay at [Anchor] Without the Hook put to Sea and are gone.

the Admiral Lies at the Hook 1 Ship of 60 Guns 1 of 44 Guns [   ] frigates Lies to Keep him Company the Small fleet for Sink[   ] Lies there Still.

Tuesday Evening the Weather Cloudy the Wind S. Nothing in Particular Appearing but Small Vessels Co[mmon]lly Passing and Repassing.

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