George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Nathanael Greene, 6 October 1780

6 October 1780


You will take the command of the two divisions consisting of the Jersey and York Brigades, and Starkes and late Poors Brigades with which you will march by the directest route to West Point—The Troops will go all the way by Land, sending their baggage and Artillery by Water from Kings ferry for the security of which you will take effectual precautions. I wish the Troops to arrive at their destination as soon as it can be done without fatigueing them.

The first Pennsylvania Brigade marches tomorrow to join the Army, and General St Clair is directed, to move the second Pennsylvania Brigade and Meig’s Regiment to the Army as soon as a sufficient Corps arrives to replace them. I wish them to be enabled to begin their march as soon as it can be conveniently done. St Clair waits till he is relieved by a Major General.

You will observe the instructions already given to the commanding Officers of the Post, of which the inclosed are copies with the following additions—So soon as you arrive with the Troops you will discharge all the New Hampshire and Massachusetts Militia with my thanks for their services. You will send off all the spare Waggon and riding horses, and use every other expedient in your power to œconomise your forage, which you know is an article of the greatest importance—You will exert your self to complete the works and put them in the most perfect state of defence. This is essential, under the knowledge the Enemy have of their present state, as a change in their situation, will not only render them in reality more defensible, but will diminish the usefulness of the information, Arnold has it in his power to give—The approaching reduction of the Army adds to the necessity of having this important post in the most respectable state of defence. Lieut. Colonel Gouvion has my orders to join you for this purpose, with his Corps. You will keep such parties as you judge safe and expedient advanced towards the Enemy on the East side of the River for the purpose of restraining their depredations and protecting the Country. You will begin to form winter covering at West Point and its dependencies for a Garrison of about the number of your present command and you will prosecute measures for ample magazines of wood.

Besides the four Brigades already mentioned, the Artillery and the Corps of Sappers and Miners, you will have under your command, Livingstons Regiment and Sheldons dragoons. There are also two Connecticut State Regiments stationed on the Sound, which on an emergency you may call to your aid, and with whom in the meantime you can communicate for intelligence of what passes in the Sound.

You will inform General McDougal that his division, Starkes and late Poors Brigades, are with you. His private affairs may demand his attention awhile after which he will probably join you.

When you have made your disposition, you will report it to me—I commit this important Post to your care in full confidence in your prudence vigilance activity and good conduct. Given at Head Quarters Tapan Octr 6th 1780.

Go: Washington

MHi: Heath Papers.

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