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Letter to Henry Knox, July 2, 1781

TRANSCRIPT GLC 2437.53.027

George Washington.  Letter signed: Head Quarters Peekskill, to Brigadier General Henry Knox, 1781 July 02.  3 p. + addr. + doc.


Head Quarters Peekskill 2d. July 1781.


[inserted - different hand: Washington]


Dear Sir


I have recd. Your favor of the 29th. ulto.  The arrangement which you have made for the periods of transportation of the heavy Stores from Philada. agrees perfectly with my Ideas of the matter, as I think we must be certainly able to determine ultimately upon our plan of operations, by the time they are to be in motion –


An enterprize, which I have long had in contemplation, will be executed in the course of this night, if Genl. Lincoln, who commands the operating party, finds the attack advisable upon reconnoitring the situation of the enemy, and he can do it by surprise.  The enterprise is against the posts upon the North End of York Island [2] – The remainder of the Army marched this morning towards Kingsbridge. [inserted: part of] The French Troops were last night at Ridgebury and will be at Bedford this evening.  They will, in the course of tomorrow, be at hand to support us should there be occasion.  At the same time that the posts upon York Island are attempted, I have planned a surprise upon Delanceys Corps at Morrisania, which is to be executed by the Duke de Lazun in conjunction with Sheldons Regt and Waterbury’s State Troops.


Should we succeed in the attempt upon the posts, every effort will be made to hold them, and your assistance will be materially necessary.  I shall take the speediest method of communicating the event to Genl Mc.dougal at West point, who will fire the Alarm [3] Guns and Beacons as signals for the Governor, who will bring out the Militia to our support.  You will therefore take it for granted that we have succeeded, if you see or hear the signals.  You will, in such case immediately down, leaving Colo. Stevens every thing in readiness to follow.


I am with very great
Dear Sir
Your most obt
Go: Washington


Brig. Genl. Knox.


From his Excellency
General Washington
[?] July 1781 –
No: 36 –


Brigr. Genl. Knox
<?> Park
New Windsor
Go: Washington



Notes:  Published in Fitzpatrick, John C. The Writings of George Washington. v 22: 372.