George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Arthur St. Clair, 12 January 1781

Head Quarters New Windsor 12 Jany 1781.

Dear Sir

The Receipt of your letter of the 9th inclosing one from General Wayne has, if possible, added to my embarrassments—I had heard from Genl Sullivan and Lord Stirling that the Mutineers had delivered up the British Emissaries immediately upon their arrival in princetown—From this, I was in hopes that they had precluded themselves from all assistance from that quarter, and that the reduction of them by force, should matters come to extremities, would not be difficult—But now their conduct appears to me in this light they have made known the propositions offered by Sir H. Clinton, only by way of threat, and seem to say, if you do not grant us terms we can obtain them elsewhere.

At the meeting with the General and Field Officers yesterday, it was almost the universal opinion that their men might be depended on, I therefore gave directions for a detachment of 1000 to be prepared & held in readiness—If things are in a train of negociation, as would seem to be the case from General Waynes postscript; to move a force between Trenton and the Enemy might create suspicions in the minds of the Mutineers and make them fly to the Enemy to safety. I do not think it prudent to write to the Committee of Congress—to Governor Reed—or to General Wayne, lest my letters should be stopped—I think therefore from a consideration of the subject in every light, that it will be best for you to go down to the Pennsylvania side opposite Trenton and send for some of the Gentlemen over—There enquire minutely in to the situation of Affairs, and if there are no hopes of a resonable compromize, get from them an opinion of what ought ultimately to be done—If force should be determined upon, the Governors of Pennsylvania and Jersey should instantly make an argument for bringing out as many of the Militia as can be collected while the detachmt above mentd is marchg from h[ence] that the intercourse between Trenton and this place may be as expeditious as possible, desire Colo. Nelson to fix a relay of Expresses from the neighbourhood of Trenton to Morris Town, and let the Quarter Master at Morris town continue them from thence to this place I am Dr Sr

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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