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Letter to William Stephens Smith, December 16, 1782

George Washington. Letter signed: Head Quarters, to Col. William Stephens Smith, 1782 Dec. 16. 2 p. + doc.

Head Quarters 16th Decr 1782

Dear Sir

Your Letter of the 12 Instant was deliver’d me yesterday with its several inclosures, and I am to thank you for the intelligence it contains.

I have myself seen the Work at Dobbs ferry, but cannot agree with you as to its indefensible State; it never was calculated to withstand a serious attack, but has always been supposed equal to any small party that might attempt it by a Coup de Main, and as that Post is assigned for the only communication we have with the Enemy, it appears, if not the only, at least the best place where the duties of your Office can be performed.

The intercourse which you say is daily increasing between the inhabitants of the lower country and the Enemy is indeed alarming and if possible should be broke up – I wish as you are upon the spot and acquainted with the circumstance and nature of it, that you would suggest the measures which you think will be most [2] effectual for that purpose, and I will give them every support in my power.

The refugee you mention is at Westpoint – you may send him on Parole if he cannot be exchanged. –

With great regard
I am Dear Sir
Your most obedient
Go: Washington

Colo. Smith

from H. Qr. Decr. 16th. 1782
ansd. 25th.
George Washington

Notes: Published in Fitzpatrick, John C. The Writings of George Washington. v. 25: 438.