George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Greaton, 14 June 1782

14 June 1782

To Colo. Greaton

With your Regt you are to receive the Garrisons of the Posts at Dobbs & King’s Ferries, those at the latter, viz., Stony & Verplanks Points, are to be relieved by whole Companies, consisting, as nearly as may be, of the same number of Men which are now Stationed there, with these you will leave a Field Officer; and proceed yourself with the remainder of the Regt to the Post of Dobb’s ferry, where you will relieve the Garrison of the Block House in such manner as you shall judge proper, and encamp the rest of your Regt immediately under the cover of the Block House.

As the mode of doing Duty by Corps enables an Officer to have his Men constantly under his own eye, & to be responsible for their behaivour; I must recommend that you will be perticularly attentive to the dicipline & good Order of your Regt, that where it is impracticable to exercise & manouvre the Men collectively, you will have them instructed and practised in the use of Arms by detail.

To keep up the reputation of the Corps, it will be essential to preserve the utmost regularity, to prevent any abuses of the Persons or Property of the Inhabitants, & to restrain the Soldiers from straggling without permission from their Quarters.

Every possible precaution should be made use of to prevent desertion, if it should begin to prevail, the Rolls must be called every hour in the day time, and the Quarters or Tents must be visited, by an Officer or non-commissioned Officer, every hour in the night; besides which Patroles & small Scouts of trusty Men, should be frequently sent out, as well for the sake of apprehending Deserters, as to prevent surprise from the Enemy; For notwithstanding all the pacific expressions of the British, you are hereby strictly directed to make use of the utmost vigilance, & not put any confidence in their pretended plan of defensive War, for should there be an oppertunity of making a stroke at you, with a probability of success, you may depend upon it the enemy would instantly seize the occasion.

As the Post of Dobbs ferry is now the only avenue of intercourse with the Enemy, by Flags, and as there is great danger the same illicit practises may prevail there which have taken place at other Posts of the same kind; a principle object of your Command is to prevent, absolutely, all kind of commerce or illegal communications with the Enemy.

All Flags from the Enemy are to be stopped at your out Post, the dispatches there received from them, & the Flags sent back as soon as the business is performed; a guard with an Officer or non-commissioned Officer should always, in the meantime, be kept on board.

No Military Character from the Enemy, is to be permitted to land, nor is any Citizen or private person to be suffered to come within our Lines, untill permission, in writing for that purpose, shall be obtained from the Executive of the State into which he or she is desireous of passing.

No Passport is to be deemed sufficient for granting a Flag to pass to the Enemies Lines, but from Congress, the Secretary at War, the Executives of the States or Major Genel Heath; except you shall receive perticular Instructions from me to the contrary.

Capt. Prey who has long commanded at that Post, & who has acquitted himself, in that service with great reputation, is still to retain the command of the Water Guard; he will undoubtedly be able to give you every usefull information respecting the state of the Country, the disposition & character of the individuals, and the sources of intelligence from the Enemy; I wish you on the other hand to give him every aid in your power for promoting the service, & if necessary, that you will furnish him with some oarsmen for the additional Boat or Boats he may be supplied with; these Men to remain on that Duty only untill your Regt shall be relieved.

On any emergency, for which perticular directions cannot be given, you are to act agreeably to the best of your discretion.

You will be pleased to communicate to me immediately, every extraordinary occurrence, together with any intelligence perticularly of the State, strength or movement of the Enemy, which you may obtain.

Upon your being relieved, you will deliver over these Instructions to the relieving Officer, as a standing Regulation for the direction of the Commandant at the beforementioned Posts; and on your arrival in Camp, will make a general Report to me in writing, of your Command, noteing the casualties, and every other remarkable event within the sphere of your observation. Given at Head Quarters Newburgh June 14th 1782.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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