George Washington Papers


References to
Nathaniel Sackett

References to
Adjutant Peter Sackett

References to
Doctor James Sackett

References to
Captain Samuel Sackett

References to
Captain William Sackett

William Duer to George Washington, 28 January 1777

Camp in Westchester County [N.Y.] Jany 28th 1777

I beg Leave to introduce to your Excellency's Acquaintance Mr Sacket, a member of the Convention of the State, a Man of Honor, and of firm Attachment to the American Cause.
He will communicate to your Excellency some Measures taken by him, and myself which if properly prosecuted may be of infinite Utility to the present military Operations. I have therefore recommended it to him to wait on you in Person in hope that some Systematical Plan may be adopted and prosecuted for facilitating your Manoeuvres against the British army.
To say more in a Letter might be imprudent. I shall therefore content myself with observing that Mr Sacket is (as I know by Experience) a Person of Intrigue [integrity?] and Secrecy well calculated to prosecute such Measures as you shall think conducive to give Success to your generous Exertions in the Cause of America.

Your Excellency will likewise receive from Mr Sacket a Confidential Acct of our Operations in this Quarter. I wish I could say they had been conducted in such a Manner as to create either a Diversion in favor of the Army in Jersey or at least to drive the Enemy from this County. On the Contrary it is obvious to every discerning Person that we have been insulted by a handful of traitorous Banditti, and that we run a risque of either being routed or cut off by a Night Surprise, or of abandoning this Part of the Country with Disgrace.

As I have been appointed by the Convention of the State of New York as a Member of a Committee for cooperating with the Design formed by your Excellency for driving the Enemy from this Quarter, I esteem it my Duty to inform you that I have no Manner of doubt but it has been in our Power to cut off the Communication of Fort Independence with York Island and to make ourselves Masters of the Garrison with a Loss no Ways proportionable to the Benefits which would inevitably result from such a Measure. This is still in our Power but how long it will continue so I will not pretend to determine. Certain I am that unless a decisive and systematic Plan is devised and prosecuted in a very Short Time, that your Success will be counterbalanced by our Disgrace, that many good Officers and Men who have come down as Volunteers will return home, that the Militia (should any remain) will grow Languid, that our Enemies will triumph, and that the Timid Whigs who have been roused from their late Lethargy or Despair from your Excellency's Successful Efforts will either relapse into the same Supineness, or take an Active Part with our Enemies.

It would be needless and impertinent in me to point out to your Excellency the very great Advantages wh would result from our making ourselves Masters of this County. I shall only content myself with observing that, if no other Purposes were to be answered by this Expedition, but those of laying up Magazines of Forage for the next Campaign, the raising of Recruits for the Continental Army, and preventing the disaffected from taking Part with the Enemy, it is an Object worth our greatest Exertions.

Brigr Genl Parsons, who came down with us From Peek's Kill is gone to Connecticut, not choosing as I conceive, to run the risque of his Reputation by a longer Stay here. Colo Duboys who has come down with the York Militia as a Volunteer, and who has repeatedly offerd his Service to destroy Kings bridge will I fear return to morrow, Despairing to see any thing Effectual done.

Should your Excellency wish to know to what our Want of Success is to be attributed, I must beg Leave to refer to your own Judgement of the Character of Men, observing only that it is my Private Opinion that if Measures could be devised without injuring the Public Service that either Genl Mifflin, Genl Parsons, or Genl Clinton, could direct our Operations in this Part of the County of West Chester, that the Enemy would not only be driven from this County, but other Measures might probably be devised for pushing our Success, and harassing the Enemy. At the request of Genl Heath I devised Means of his obtaining the best Intelligence of the Enemies Strength and Disposition—Would to Heaven we had profited by it—I write with an aching heart, and in a great hurry so that your Excellency will excuse both my Freedom, and Inaccuracy. I have long intended to return, but shall wait the Return of Mr Sacket in hopes that some more regular Counsels may be formed, and more vigorous Measures prosecuted in this Quarter.

As I am informed that your Excellency is raising Several new Battalions, the Officers of wh are to be of your Appointment, I beg leave to inform your Excellency that Mr John Livingston a Son of Mr Robert Livingston, Lord of the Manor of that Name is anxious to enter the Service in a Regiment to be Commanded by Gentlemen. He is a Young Gentleman, of a high Spirit of Honor, and undoubted Bravery. I have therefore no doubt but he will raise his own Reputation, and do justice to your Appointment if you should think proper to give him the Offer of a Lt Colonel's Commission. I beg to know from your Excellency whether my Application can be complied with. It is with great Reluctance I ever venture to recommend but I know this Young Gentleman so well that I will risque my Reputation upon his behaving himself with distinguished Resolution Should he have an Opportunity of Embracing the military Profession.

I am, with great Respect, Your Excellency's most Obedt Hble Servt
Wm Duer

His Excellency
Genl Washington

Camp on West Chester County
Jany 28th 1777

Website The Papers of George Washington, University of Virginia ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

George Washington to William Duer, 3 February 1777

To William Duer Esquire ... of New York

Head Quarters, Morris Town, 3 Febry 1777.

Dr Sir,

I had the pleasure of receiving yours of the 28th January by Mr Sacket, who communicated to me the measures which had been planned by you and him, for forwarding the military operations on your side, and which I most sincerely wish had been carried into Execution.

[Note by editor of book: Nathaniel Sacket. He, later, furnished secret intelligence to Washington.]

I attribute our ill success in the neighbourhood of Kingsbridge to the same cause that you do. I was apprehensive from the manner in which the scene opened that nothing great was to be expected, but I hoped that the Country was not to be given up, altho' no attempt was made upon the Fort.

I shall say but little to you by way of Letter, as I shall communicate my sentiments in a Confidential Manner to Mr Sacket. I will only observe that altho' I could easily find a pretence for changing the Command in your Quarter, it would answer no end to appoint either of the three Brigadier Generals that you mention because they would be Commanded by the two provincial Major Generals already there.

From the Accounts which I have received from Colo Henry Livingston, I do not find that there is a probability of filling more Regiments in the State of New York than are already Commissioned; if there was, I should take a pleasure in conferring the Command, which you desire, upon Mr John Livingston tho' a stranger to me, but for one reason, and that is that the appointment of a young Gentn who has never served to so high a Rank, would probably give disgust to many officers of long standing, who are still in inferior Stations. But I would wave the objection provided I could be any ways assured that Mr Livingston's Interest in conjunction with that of a good Colonel and Major would raise a Regiment. Have you fixed upon any person in your own mind proper for the Command? If you have not, what think you of Lieut Col Weissenfels, he is an excellent officer and of approved Bravery. There is also Colo Malcom to whom I offered a Regiment, but he candidly told me that he did not think he could raise one upon his own Interest. Perhaps his joined to Mr Livingston's might do it. I shall be glad to hear your Sentiments on this Matter.

I have the Honor to be &c
G Washington

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 3g Varick transcripts, letterbook 1, image 409. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).
Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

George Washington to Nathaniel Sackett, 4 February 1777

To Mr Nathl Sacket


The advantage of obtaining the earliest and best Intelligence of the designs of the Enemy, the good character given of you by Colo Duer, and your capacity for an undertaking of this kind, have induced me to entrust the management of this business to your care till further orders on this head.

For your own trouble in this business I agree, on behalf of the Public, to allow you Fifty Dollars pr Kallendar Month, and herewith give you a warrant upon the Paymaster Genl for the sum of Five hundred Dollars to pay those whom you may find necessary to Imploy in the transaction of this business, an acct of the disbursements of which you are to render to me.

Given at Head Quarters at
Morristown this 4th day of Feby
G Washington


copy of Mr Nathl
Sackets appt
4th Feb: 1777
No 50. B.II. 266

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4. General correspondence, image 11. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).
Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 3g Varick transcripts, letterbook 2, image 266. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

John Davis to Nathaniel Sackett and Benjamin Tallmadge, 25 February 1777, abstract by William Duer sent to George Washington 2 March 1777

Abstract of a letter from Captn Davis to Mr Nathl Sackett giving Intelligence recd from Long Island by one Nathl Conchling, dated 25th Feby 1777.

That Edmund Fanning and Captn Hudson and a Number of Officers had lately been down to the East end of Long Island, in Order to Raise Recruits for the Ministerial Army but without success that said Fanning Informed the officers and Men on his Departure that he should be with them again in about 4 weeks when he would take a Different method and draft every fourth Man, that many young Men in Consequence thereof went over to Connecticut. That from Intelligence from Huntington by a letter Directed to Corpl Jarvis from his wife at said place, there were three Companies of Tories stationed at that place (but not a Man to the Eastward) and about 10 or 12 Regular Officers without any men and that these Tory officers Distress the Friends of American Liberty much.

That the Main store of Arms ammunition &c are kept in Huntington. That one Frederick Hudson a Captn of a Tory Company on Long Island had lately brought a very large quantity of Goods from New York and also one Henry Herrick of Southhampton.

That Edmund Fanning had agreed with some shoe makers in Easthampton to make 3 or 400 pairs of shoes for the Ministerial Army saying that the Rebels had taken a Considerable Number from them and that they were almost Barefooted.

That one Morrison of Long Island had Bought and was buying a Number of Vessels in Order to Carry Grain and Hay &c from the end of Long Island to New York saying it were wanted much.

That South and East Hampton had unanimously agreed not to turn out men for the Ministerial army but said they were obliged to Comply with these unRighteous Measures.

That it was his Opinion that a small Number of Men would be able take and Destroy the Nest of Pirates upon the Island.

I do hereby upon Honor that this Intelligence I received as abovementioned.

John Davis Captn in 4th New York Regt
The above is a true Copy of the original
W Duer

Abstract of a Letter from Mr Talmadge to Mr N. Sackett dated 25th Feby 1777

Mr Talmadge writes that he received Intelligence from Long Island by one John Clarke that there were no Troops at Satauket but part of two Companies at Huntington and one Company at Oyster Bay. That the said Clark saw the Companies at Huntington that the Militia of Suffolk County was Ordered to Meet on the 16th Febry in order to be drafted for the Ministerial Service but that they were Determined not to serve, however if their services were Insisted upon, they were Determined to make their Escape in time.

That they are but few who are not friendly to the Cause. That they had beat up for Volunteers in the Western part of the County but that only three had inlisted.

I do hereby Certify that the Intelligence I have Communicated to Mr Sackett that came from Long Island I took from Gentn whose Truth and Veracity may I think be Depended on.

John Davis Captn 4th New York Regt

The above is a true Copy
Wm Duer

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4. General correspondence, image 466. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

William Duer on behalf of New York Legislature Committee of Correspondence to George Washington, 2 March 1777

Harrisons Precint in Westchester County [N.Y.] March 2nd 1777

I should have done myself the Honour of Answering your Excellency's Letter of the 3d Febry last but have not as yet been Able to Learn from Colo Weisenfelts, or Mr John Livingston whether, with the Assistance of a proper Major, they would engage to raise a 6th Battallion in this State.

I expect to see Mr Livingston here every Moment, and shall then Inform your Excellency with the Result of our Joint Opinions on this Matter.

By what I can learn at present Colo Livingston's, Cortlandt's and Dubois's Regiments are not quite half full, so that I am afraid we shall not be Able to complete more than the five Regiments which this State engaged to raise. The raising of the Bounty in the Eastern States especially in Connecticut, which borders on us, has greatly Impeded the Recruiting within, and, I fear, we shall be under the sad Necessity of persuing the same fatal Method.

I am Sorry to inform your Excellency, that the Number of Troops in this Quarter of the County, Since Genl Heath's Departure, has been by no Means Adequate for the purpose of Carrying on the Foraging with proper Spirit, much less for extending ourselves from the sound to the North River in Such a manner, as to cut off Supplies of provisions &c from the Enemy's Army. Genl Heath left Directions with Genl Wooster, to consult with myself, and other Members of the Committee of Convention in this County Concerning the Deposition of the Troops, which were destined to Secure this County, In Consequence of which we recommended it to Genl Wooster to Post the Troops in the following Manner vizt.

500 of the Connecticut Troops betwixt the Towns of New Rochelle and Eastchester in the Most Compact manner possible; 300 New York Troops from the House of Stephen Ward to the House of Mr Benjamin Drake, and the remainder of the Connecticut Troops at Turkeyhoe, which lies betwixt Wards and the North River. We then thought from the Accounts of General Heath that The Troops under the Command of General Wooster consisted at least of 1000 Men; but as we found upon conversing with Genl Wooster that they were far short of that Number, we were therefore unable to extend farther West than Wards, by which means a Considerable Chasm has been left open, through which the Enemy have received some supplies of Provisions. On the 22 Feby The Committee recommended it to Genl Wooster to Destroy all the Forage and Grain within certain Limits in the lower parts of the County of Westchester which it was impracticable, with our present Strength of Men or Teams, to bring off, in consequence of which Genl Wooster informed them that his force was so weak that he could not think of Hazarding Such an Enterprize, that the whole Army including the New York Troops did not exceed Six Hundred Men, that the Enemy Meditated an Attack upon him, from Long Island, and that in case he was not Soon Reinforced, he should think it unsafe to remain at New Rochelle much longer. To our great Mortification, and Surprize about two oClock in the Morning of the 24 Feby last an Express was Sent to our Advanced Post at Wards to Inform the Commanding Officer of the New York Troops, that Genl Wooster was Retreated, and recommending to him to move further back. Lieut. Colo Renselaer who commanded at the Post did not think it Adviseable to move 'till he Sent to us for Direction.

It happened fortunately that the Committee were not Struck with the same Panic as Genl Wooster, and gave Orders to Colo Renselaer to Maintain the Post at Wards, 'till Obliged to retreat before a superior force; Since that time the New York Troops Consisting of about 160 men have kept that Station, and Genl Wooster's Division has retreated to Rye Neck; and I am very Confident in a few days will be all in the State of Connecticut.

The Business of foraging has been much Impeded by this Manuvre, and the public Cause much Injured, for at a time when the Minds of the Inhabitants were fluctuating whether they should take the Oath of Allegiance to this State, or fly for Protection to the Enemy, nothing Surely could have more been impolitic than this Sudden Flight, for I Cannot either Dignify this Manuvre or that of his Predecessor with the Name of a retreat. We have Applied to the Convention of this State, and to Genl McDougall for a Reinforcement; but have not much hopes of being Able to Obtain any. We are therefore Endeavouring to form as Many of the Militia of this County as possible into Companies of Rangers under the Command of Active Officers, who are Acquainted with the Grounds, in Order to protect the Inhabitants from the Outrages of the Enemy's Rangers.

In Answer to a Letter which we have wrote to Genl McDougall on the subject, he informs us that his Force is so Small at Peeks Kill, that he shall not be Able to Send us a Reinforcement. He informs us however that in Case Genl Wooster does not Advance to his former Post that Colo Livingston's Regiment of Continental Troops which is under Marching Order will be Ordered down.

I could wish if possible that any other Expedient than that of calling out the Continental Regiments before they are compleated, could be Adopted, it will undoubtedly be injurious to their Discipline, and Impede the Recruiting. The Protection however of the Magazine of Forage which is at present at Wrights Mills, and Consists of about five Hundred Tons of Hay, and Wheat in the Sheaf, (Exclusive of Corn &c) is an Object of the Utmost Importance, and cannot be Effected by any other Means that I know than that of calling in the Continental Troops raised in this State. As for the Militia under Genl Wooster, my Duty Obliges me to Say what I know from Experience, that no Dependance is to put on them; Exclusive of this their time of Disservice expires on the 15th of this Month, when, if some means are not devised in time, the Inhabitants, who have taken the Oath of Allegiance, as well as the Magazine of forage, will be again exposed to the Attacks of the Enemy; for in Spite of all our Endeavours, from the Badness of the Road, and the Weakness of our Teams We Shall not be Able to remove it in that time to A place of Security in the more Interior part of the Country. I shall this day Write to Genl McDougal concerning the properest place for Establishing a Magazine, and Shall Order all the Teams I can possibly procure to proceed to move it. I have had three Presses erected at Wrights Mills and have employed Persons to press the Hay in Order to enable the Teames to Carry Larger loads. The Enemy's Strength near the Bridge, your Excellency will learn from the Examination of a Deserter who left Rogers Regiment on the 27th Instant. It Corresponds so well with other Accounts, which I have received, that I have no Manner of doubt it is very near the truth.

I imagine your Excellency has been before this time well informed that the Enemy have drawn from New York the principal part of their Force, that the Inhabitants have been Obliged to take the Oath of Allegiance to the King of Great Britain, and to bear Arms, That the whole of the Regular, and foreign Troops on the Island, including the Guard at Mount Washington cannot exceed 1200, That Fresh provisions are highly Scarce, that Numbers of the Inhabitants murmer at being Obliged to bear Arms; and the dread of a French War is very General: all Accounts Agree that they mean to collect all their Force, and to push for Philadelphia, but for my own part, I must confess, that I think it a feint in Order to draw all our Attention to that Quarter. I think they will not easily give up the Attempt of forming a Junction, if possible, with Carlton by Means of the North River; they can reimbark from Amboy, and push up the North River, much Sooner than our Army can possibly follow them and as they can by Means of their Armed Vessels Occupy the Navign of Hudson's River, the crossing of Troops from the Southward will be prodigiously Obstructed. This however I am informed from Intilligence which I trust may be Depended on, that they purpose, as Soon as the season will possibly Admit, to push a Number of their Vessels up the North River. I entertain no doubt for my own part but that they may find favourable Opportunities and press our Forts, and, if ever they should be in the County of Dutchess, they will not only be Joined by a Number of Malignants and Interested persons, but be Amply Supplied with provisions of all kinds. There are large Magazines of Wheat and a good deal of Flour contiguous to the River, which Ought Immediately to be moved and purchased for the use of the Continental Army. They will otherwise be Exposed to the Enemy's Shipping and we shall be deprived of a large Quantity of Grain which will undoubtedly be wanted for our Army.

Notwithstanding the Commissary and Quarter Master General of the Continental Army have left in the hands of Different Agents, Money for the Purchase both of Forage and Wheat to be Manufactured into flour, there is no way of Tempting Persons to part with it, notwithstanding very large prices have been Offered for it. This proceeds from the Disaffection of many, and the hope, which all entertain of an Encreasing profit. Unless therefore the Convention of this State Speedily interfere and Enact Laws to Oblige Persons to part with Forage, and Produce which is wanted for the use of the Army at liberal, and Stated Prices, the Consequences may be fatal. My Regard to the Public Cause Obliges me to mention this Matter to your Excellency, and to request the favour of you to give to the Convention your Opinion in this Matter. I am Sensible that one Word from you will Spur them more than a Hundred from myself.

I owe many Apologies for detaining so much of your time, but I must Trespass a little further in giving my Opinion on another Matter, the Execution of which is very practicable, and which may be Attended with the most happy Consequences to the General Cause, I mean an Expedition on Long Island. You will Observe by the Substance of the Information herewith transmitted to your Excellency, that the Enemy's Force there is extreamly Weak, and that the Inhabitants are much dissatisfied with their New Masters. If an Active and Enterprizing Officer at the head of six or seven Hundred Men were to cross over into that Island, and to Carry with them six or seven Hundred Stand of spare Arms, I entertain no Doubt, from the Various Accounts, wh I have received through Channels to be Depended on, but that those, who are in Arms against us may be Subdued, and that our Friends would flock to the American Standard, and Fight with the spirit of Men rendered desperate by the Injuries of an Insulting and Tyrannical Enemy.

It must Appear I think to your Excellency that many Advantages would certainly result from this Manouvre. It would not only Deprive the Enemy of Considerable Supplies of provisions, and Forage, but be the means in all probability of making ourselves Masters of Considerable Stores of Ammunition, as well as of the persons of many of the Ringleaders of the Tory faction in this State. The great Advantage however to be reaped from Such a Measure remains unmentioned; and that is the powerfull Diversion, which it would inevitably make in favour of your Excellency's Operations in the Jersey, against which the Enemy are now bending their whole force, for fifteen Hundred Men under the Command of a Good Officer would make themselves Masters of the whole Island, and if they extended themselves across the Brushy Plains would be equal to Four Thousand Troops of the Enemy. I some time ago Conversed with General Parsons on the subject, who informed me that boats may be procured in New England for that purpose; and Expressed a Wish of Undertaking it, if it should be thought Advancive of the General Good.

300 Volunteers, which Genl Parsons could raise, and Colo Livingston's Regiment would be Amply Sufficient for the purpose. It Appears to me that the sending that Regiment would be highly Necessary, as Several of the Officers and Men are Inhabitants of Long Island, who wish for an Opportunity of revenging the Injuries of their Friends; I have likewise no manner of doubt, but that Colo Livingston would fill his Regiment and that many other Recruits, might be Engaged for the Continental Army. Should the Enemy send over a superior Force, they could Always have timely Intelligence, and notwithstanding their Vessels might Watch a favourable Opportunity and Cross over from some part or other of the Island, but Supposing the Worst of all, that the Six Hundred Men should be cut off or taken prisoners; they would not fall an easy Sacrifice, and the Advantages to be reaped from the Diversion, it would Occasion, and the Destruction of the Stores of Provision, Forage, Waggons, Horses &ca would greatly overbalance this Loss. The Enemy have so little Force at New York, that it is not probable they would be Able to Spare any of it to send over to Long Island; but to prevent this, if a Body of about 2000 Men under the Command of a Spirited and Active General Officer were to be Marched down towards Kings Bridge, and Harlem River, they would either totally prevent any Relief being Sent from York Island; or in Case they should Attempt it, by Crossing at Morrisania, might undoubtedly make themselves Masters of the City; for the Inhabitants who have been embodied will be struck with such a Panic, as to make little, if any Opposition.

I think that Genl McDougal and Genl George Clinton, or Genls McDougal and Arnold would be well Calculated for Such an Enterprize, and I should imagine that this Force might in a few Days be Collected out of the Continental Regiments, from this State and Connecticut, and Such Volunteers as Might be raised, for the space of one Month for that purpose. As Secrecy would be Necessary in Executing an Expedition to Long Island, I conceive that it might be prudent to leave the Execution of this plan to four or five persons, in whom your Excellency could place Confidence. What does your Excellency think of Genl Parsons, Mr John Slaus Hobart, Colo. H. Livingston and Mr Sackett for that purpose? I have Reason to think that they would chearfully undertake it, and I doubt not but under their Auspices, it would be well Conducted.

I flatter myself your Excellency will excuse me for taking up so much of your time; but the Advantages to be Reaped from this Expedition Strike me so forcibly, that I could not avoid communicating my thoughts by Express—and Shall with Impatience wait for your Answer on this Subject. I had almost forgot to Mention that I have received Intilligence that the Enemy have a Magazine of Forage at Jamaica, and that they have Several Hundred Barrels of Pork at Different Parts of the Island; if Such an Enterprize should be Adopted, there will be no Want of Necessary Intilligence, in General.

Mr S. [this was Nathaniel Sackett], who was lately with your Excellency, to conferr a Certain Matter, hinted at in my last Letter, requests me to inform you that Matters are in a proper Train for Executing the Business proposed on a Regular System. I flatter myself great Benefits will be derived from it. The Committee of Convention, have Ordered all the stock in the lower part of the County of Westchester to be driven back out of the Power of the Enemy; in Consequence of which, upwards of 400 Horned Cattle have been Secured. Yesterday Notwithstanding the Weakness of our force here we made an Expedition on Frogs Neck, from which we drove back 150 Head of horned Cattle, 50 Horses and a Number of Hogs and Sheep which the Tories had driven there, as to a place of Security; in Order to Amuse the Enemy, while this Business was Executing, we Ordered a party of Men to Shew themselves to the North East of fort Independence in Sight of the Fort. We shall proceed if possible to Scour all the lower part of the County. Whilst the business of Securing Frogs Neck and Willett Neck was Executing, the Enemy fired at a party of our Men under Williams, tho without any Execution, as they fired at a great distance and Shewed every possible mark of Cowardice.

I have the Honor to be with great Respect, Your Obedt Hble servt
Wm Duer

Website The Papers of George Washington, University of Virginia ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

George Washington to Continental Congress Governing Committee, 2 March 1777

Head Quarters, Morris Town, March 2, 1777.

Gentn.: I was last night honored with yours of the 26th last Month, inclosing the late Resolves of Congress. My opinions upon the parts that relate to Genl. Lee, you will find at length in mine to the Congress of this date, which after perusing, you will please to forward by Colo Walker who goes immediately to Baltimore, if the Congress should not have adjourned from thence. If they have, I agree with you, that Lancaster will be the Safest and properest place for them to sit.

I never meant that the Public Stores should be removed in such a manner, as would give any Alarm to the Inhabitants, and I gave early notice, that they might be began upon in time, and carried off by degrees. By these means the Business may be done imperceptibly as it were, and the people not distracted by Fears that may prove groundless. I am &c.

[Note by book editor: In the writing of Tench Tilghman.
The following brief of a letter, in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison, dated Mar. 2, 1777, is entered on the verso of William Duer's intelligence of February 25 from Long Island, N.Y., through Nathaniel Sackett. It is, doubtless, a letter to Duer, no copy of which is found in the Washington Papers: "The forage in West Chester. The consequence resulting from the retreat of Heath and Wooster for mtg. [mustering] Militia to prevent outrages of Rangers. Calling Conl. Troops by parts injurious, Forage should be got off as soon as possible or sooner. The Enemy drawn their Force from N. York and design Phila. The Enemy going up North River, The Convn. should certly. inter pose about purchase of provision. Expedn. to Long Isld. Mr. S."]

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress: The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

George Washington to William Duer, March 6, 1777

To William Duer Esquire, of New York
Head Quarters, Morris Town, 6th March 1777.

Dr Sir,

On Thursday evening, I was favored with your letter of the 2d Inst. The slow progress in the recruiting service gives me much concern, as the situation of our affairs requires the most early succours. I was always sensible the bounty given by the Eastern States would prove extremely injurious; and remonstrated against it as soon as it came to my knowledge.

I am sorry the securing and removal of the Forage has been attended with so many difficulties. It is a matter of infinite importance, and yet I trust, that by your exertions and the Committee with you, that it will be accomplished. If the whole cannot be got away, the part remaining had better be destroyed than suffered to fall into the Enemy's Hands. Driving off the stock is also of considerable moment and none should be left within their reach.

The disposition recommended to the Troops under General Wooster seems to have been well calculated for the ends in view and I heartily wish they had maintained their Port. Their departure, I am satisfied, would be attended with bad consequences and it would disagreeeably effect the minds of the wavering and the timid. It is only to be lamented that we have not Troops raised upon a different footing who could and would afford protection to the Inhabitants and firmly fix them in our interest. I know no way to effect this but by calling some of the Militia as you propose to secure them and their property from the ravages & depredations of the Rangers.

We have been long satisfied that the Enemy were drawing nearly the whole, or at least, the main Body of their forces into Jersey and I think they will make a push for Philadelphia as soon as the roads will allow them to move. They may mean a feint, as you suggest; however, it is more likely that the other is their object. It will be happy for us if we can be prepared for either event. Lest your apprehensions should prove true, the Wheat and Flour, contiguous to the Water, should be secured, and removed into the more Interior part of the State. The holders of it should not demand an unreasonable price, and it will be worthy the attention of the Convention to examine the Matter and give the Commissary and his Agents every aid in their Power.

I have maturely weighed the proposed expedition to Long Island, and should be happy if the execution was as practicable as it appears to be eligible. I am well assured many important advantages would be derived from it; But the Enemy's Force, now collected in this Quarter, calling for every possible aid, it cannot be attempted. However, I should think it will be extremely proper for an Idea of the sort to be spread with some address and management, which will be greatly favored if a requisition I have made to Governor Trumbull for two thousand Militia can be complied with. This I mention to you in confidence that the hint may be improved, as far as your prudence and discretion directs.

I am glad Mr S    's plan is nearly compleated and I am persuaded the benefits resulting from it will be great. The sooner it can be executed, the more beneficial it will be.

I have the honor to be &c
G Washington

[Note by editor of book: Mr S.: Nathaniel Sackett. He was arranging for a system of secret intelligence.]

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 3g Varick transcripts, letterbook 2, image 29. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).
Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor. (Researched by Chris Sackett).

Nathaniel Sackett to Alexander McDougall, March 12, 1777
(enclosed with letter of same date, McDougall to George Washington)

Cromwell 12th March 1777

Yours of the 9th Inst. we are honored with, and is now before us, in which you tell us that Colo Livingston's Regiment would be at your posts that Evening and at the same time Express your doubts of the propriety of sending it to this Quarter. Arising from previous Orders you received from the General dated the 6th Inst. an Extract of which you was pleased to Inclose, and that you expected the arrival of the Express on the Evening of the 10th Inst. by whom the General's Approbation or Disapprobation of Colo Livingston's Regiment being posted in this part of the state would be known. We could wish that the General could Consistently Comply with our Requisitions, as we conceive the following Arguments must have great weight with him: first, as we have Already Collected a Magazine at Waights Mills Consisting of at least 318182 weight of fresh Hay, 2630 Bushels of wheat, 60 Bushels Rye, 166 Bushels of Oats, 1283 Bushels Indian Corn, 18 Bushels of Salt, 66 Bushels Buckwheat some Hides and other stores, and a very Considerable Quantity more may be secured if we maintain our posts as low down as Eastahedes? and across to W. Wards, and from thence to the North River which may easily be done with 600 Men. Is it not likely that the Enemy will make it an object either to destroy or use their Exertions to Monopolize the Magazines, and forage that is not already Collected? Add to this the Distresses it must involve our Friends in, in this County; the Advantage it must give the Enemy to possess themselves of a County of so large an Extent, and perhaps the best calculated for Graizing than any other, on the Continent. Secondly, if we could be supplied with the above Number of Men, it would be in our Power Continually to harrass the Enemy, and by that means draw off a part of their attention to other parts, but on the contrary if we should not have this supply we shudder at the Consequences; for we must inevitably loose the persons and properties of the people in this County; enable the Enemy to take the field must [much?] sooner in the spring than our own forces; it's true we have Expected a Number of Volunteers from the Militia for some days, but they do not yet appear and we have Ordered Colo Thomas to draw out 4 or 5 Companies of his Regiment to Rendevous at Wards this day; what Progress he has made, can't yet learn; Friday is very near when Genl Wooster Division will be discharged and unless we should have a New Supply of Troops thrown in before that time, this whole County will be Defended with only 80 or 90 men; exposed to an attack from 4 or 500 of our Enemies which are already in Possession of a small part of the County, and it's Impossible to know the Number of our Internal Enemies. The Tories already appear Insolent and there is not the least doubt but the Enemy will have the earliest Intelligence of our Situations. These Arguments we are of opinion are Cogent and Conclusive and submit the Expediency of ordering Colo Livingston with his Regiment Immediately to the lower part of this County — shall be much obliged to you for an Immediate answer.

I am Sir
By Order of Committee
Your Obedt Hble Servt
Nathl Sackett

Brigr Genl McDougall


On Public Service
Brigr Genl McDougall
Ceek's Hill
By Express

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4. General correspondence, image 739. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

Richard Platt to Adjutant Sackett, 7 May 1777


Youl Turn out all the men of your Regt except those warned for Duty and let them be properly officered. Major Ledyard is to go along with them. They must parade with Arms, Accoutrements and three days provision. The party ordered yesterday must parade at Head Quarters as soon as possible. No officers warned for Court Martial to go.

By Order of the Genl
Richd Platt
B[rigade] Major

Adjutant Sackett
7 May 1777

A true copy Taken from
the original
George Smith Lieut

[Note: This letter is described on Library of Congress website as from Richard Platt to Nathaniel Sackett. Nathaniel Sackett was not in the military. Adjutant Sackett would have been Adjutant Peter Sackett of 4th New York Regiment. A handwritten note on the letter reads, "Enclosed in 1777 May 19, Livingston to Washington", but the letter of that date gives no further clue to the identity of Adjutant Sackett.]

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4. General correspondence, image 777. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

George Washington, January–May, 1777, Revolutionary War Expense Account

[Annotations by editor of book] 1777, January 1—From the Warrant Books of the Commander-in-Chief we find that Lawrence Mascoll was paid August 23, 1776, for going into the enemy's line to obtain information and September 29, Joshua Davis was paid for a like service. Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Reed expended $238 for secret services, January 25, 1777, and February 4 Nathaniel Sacket was paid $500 for his efforts to obtain secret intelligence. Major-General Adam Stephen was granted $200 for secret service expenditures in April, 1777, and in May Major-General Benjamin Lincoln was given $450 for arms and secret service.

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: George Washington's Accounts of Expenses While Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army 1775-1783. With Annotations by John C. Fitzpatrick. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

George Washington, April 14, 1778, General Orders

Head Quarters Valley-Forge Tuesday April 14th 1778.
Parole Denmark— CSigns
{ Delaware
{ Dartmouth.

[Various orders not transcribed]

At a General Court Martial whereof Colonel Vose was President (April 6th 1778) Doctor Sackett Surgeon's Mate of 14th Virginia Regiment tried first, For repeatedly neglecting to visit and procure necessaries for the sick of the Regiment, 2ndly For absenting himself and going to the State of New York without leave, acquitted of the first charge, but found guilty of the second, being a breach of 5th Article of 14th Section of the Articles of War & sentenced to be reprimanded by the Commanding Officer of the Regiment to which he belongs.

The Commander in Chief approves the sentence and orders it to take place tomorrow.

[Note by editor of book: Dr. James Sackett. He resigned Apr. 24, 1778.]

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 3g Varick transcripts, letterbook 3, image 157. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).
Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

George Washington, 3 August 1778, General Orders

Head Quarters White Plains Monday, Augt 3rd 1778
Parole Alexandria—CSign { Boxford { Cambridge

The Connecticutt Militia Light Horse commanded by Captain Skinner are discharged and have his Excellency's thanks for their good services.

At a General Court Martial whereof Colo Stewart was President July 29th 1778, Lieutenant Colo Regnier tried 1st—In leaving his Regiment when alarmed by the firing of the Patrols upon the lines on the morning of the 29th of June last and not joining it again 'till the Alarm was over—2ndly For purchasing a horse from a soldier which property belonged to the Continent—3rd for treating Adjt Sackett in an unofficer and ungentlemanlike manner. The Court having considered the Charges and the Evidence are unanimously of opinion that Lieutt Colo Regnier is not guilty of either of the Charges exhibited against him, and are farther of opinion that they are groundless, vexatious and dictated by private Pique & Malice. They do acquit him with honor.

[Note by editor of book: Adjt. Peter Sackett, of the Fourth New York Regiment. He resigned in September, 1778.]

At the same Court Martial July 31st Captn Silleron acting as a Volunteer in the 4th New-York Regiment was tried 1st—For calling Adjutant Sackett a Liar and drawing his sword on him when unarmed—2ndly for insinuating that he was a Coward and challenging him to fight a Duel. The Court having considered the first Charge and Evidence are of Opinion that Captn Silleron is guilty thereof, but as the Abuse was reciprocal and as Captain Silleron could not mean by drawing his sword to take Advantage of Ajt Sackett's being unarmed, the Court think the Punishment of lying in Arrest (a punishment pointed out in the Articles of War of which his Crime is a breach and which Captn Silleron has already suffered) is adequate to the fault he has committed. They are likewise of opinion that Captain Silleron is guilty of the Second Charge exhibited against him, but as the challenge was given by him immediately, as it proceeded from the instantaneous Resentment of an incensed Gentleman and was not sent on cool reflection, the Court are of opinion that Captain Silleron has not been guilty of a breach of the Articles of War which prohibits sending challenges and do determine that he does not merit Censure.

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 3g Varick transcripts, letterbook 3, image 314. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).
Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

Samuel Sacket et al to Pierre Regnier, 5 November 1778

Camp Continental Village Nov 5 1778

As we are Informed there are some Troops to be stationed upon the Sound with a Design to make Excursions upon Long Island to Harrass the Enemy Collect Intelligence &c, We would beg the favor of you to Apply to his Excellency to have our Regt Stationed in some place where we can act in that manner, as we conceive none can be of more Service to our Country than we, as the Chief of the Officers and Considerable part of the Men in the Regt are Perfectly Acquainted with the Island, and the Inhabitants, and many have already served in that Station, and given General Satisfaction to the people upon the Island, and by that means will be the most likely to do Justice by Collecting the Earliest Intelligence.

For these Reasons we would desire you to make mention of the Matter & if his Excellency will grant the request, think we shall undoubtedly be of more service in this way than any Other for this Winter.

With respect, we are your most [obedt] Servts
[Signed by] Saml Sacket Capt
[& 8 other officers]

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4. General correspondence, image 1159. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

The Diaries of George Washington

28 June 1781

Having determined to attempt to surprize the Enemys Posts at the No. end of Yk. Island, if the prospt. of success continued favourable, & having fixed upon the Night of the 2d. of July for this purpose and having moreover combined with it an attempt to cut off Delancy's And other light Corps without Kingsbridge and fixed upon Genl. Lincoln to Commd. the first detachment & the Duke de Lauzen the 2d. every thing was put in train for it and the Count de Rochambeau requested to file of from Ridgebury to Bedford & hasten his March—while the Duke de Lauzen was to do the same & to assemble his command (which was to consist of abt. 3 or 400 Connecticut State Troops under the Command of Genl. Waterbury—abt. 100 York Troops under Captn. Sacket—Sheldons Legion of 200, & his own proper Corps.). Genl. Lincolns command was to consist of Scammells light Troops and other detachments to the amt. of 800 Rank & file properly officerd—150 watermen and 60 artillerists.

[Note by book editors] William Sackett, a captain of New York state levies, was in command of three companies of New York state troops at Bedford. GW's instructions to him, 30 June, are in DLC:GW.

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: The Diaries of George Washington. Vol. 3. Donald Jackson, ed.; Dorothy Twohig, assoc. ed. The Papers of George Washington. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

George Washington to William Sacket, 30 June 1781

Head Quarters Peekskill June 30th 1781


On the first day of July (that is tomorrow) you will assemble all the Men of the three Companies of the State Troops of New York under your Command at Bedford, where you will meet with Colonel Sheldon at or before night, from whom you will be pleased to receive your Orders. It will be necessary for you previously to draw four days Provision for the Men & have their Arms, Accoutrements & Ammunition in the most perfect readiness for use. I request, in the most earnest manner, that you will not show this letter, or mention the subject of it to any person, or make any extraordinary noise, or give any occasion to a suspicion, either among your own Officers or Men, or the Country people, that you are making preparations for any movement whatever. On your punctual compliance with this Order, your reputation as an officer must depend.

I am Sir Your Most Obedt Servt
G Washington

Capt Sacket or the
Commandg Officer of the 3 Companies of
N. York Levies


Peekskill 30th June 1781
Capt Sacket
No 420. B.XIV. 50

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4. General correspondence, image 212. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).
Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 3g Varick transcripts, letterbook 14, image 50. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

George Washington to Armand Louis de Gontaut Brione, Duc de Lauzun, 1 July 1781

To the Duke De Lauzun.

Head Quarters, Peekskill July 1st 1781.


I had yesterday the honour of informing the Count De Rochambeau of a Plan I had in contemplation of attempting to surprise some of the Enemy's Posts, before they were alarmed by the junction of the French and American Armies and requested the aid of your Corps in the executing of the design. In consequence of the answer of the Count, and upon the presumption that you will be at Bedford by 12 OClock tomorrow, I have directed Lieutenant Colonel Hull to repair to that place and communicate to you verbally my wishes and intentions, he being perfectly acquainted with the different parts of my plan. I beg leave to refer you to him.

You will be informed that there are two Enterprises in contemplation: the one under the command of Major General Lincoln against the Posts on the North End of York Island; the other an attempt to cut off Delancey's and other Light Corps of the Enemy at Morrissania with the Troops under your command.

The Troops which will compose your command (exclusive of your own Legion) will consist of the Connecticut State Troops, under the command of Brigadier General Waterbury, Colonel Sheldon's Legion and three Companies of the State Troops of New York, with the two latter you will form a junction at Bedford, should you arrive by 12 OClock as is proposed; and with the former (General Waterbury) at Kingstreet, if you should reach that place by Sunset. They have directions to put themselves under your Orders.

As the success of the Enterprise under Major General Lincoln, which would be of infinite consequence to us will depend entirely upon his reaching the point of debarkation, landing his Men and making the attack upon the Enemy's works before they shall be alarmed, it will be necessary for you to regulate the movement of the Corps under your command in such a mannner as that you will be at West Chester, or in the neighbourhood of it, between the break of day and Sunrise. By this means you will be at hand soon enough to strike the Blow by surprise, and not so early as to frustrate the expedition under General Lincoln. General Waterbury, Colonel Sheldon, Captain Sacket and Captain Williams of the York Troops having a perfect knowledge of the Country, the route, the distance, and the position of the Enemy, I need only suggest that it may be expedient to consult with them respecting the Roads, the time of march, the disposition for the attack &c; they will be able to furnish you with good Guides and all the necessary information.

Should the object which is to be attempted by General Lincoln, from any circumstances, be laid aside, he will land above Kingsbridge to support you. At all events I shall be with the Army in the vicinity of that place. It will therefore be expedient for you when you approach towards Williams's Bridge to open a communication with the American troops on the Road near the North River, by sending an Officer with an Escort to that Road.

I am very apprehensive, from the long march you will have to make on the 2d of July and the Night succeeding it, that the Infantry of your Legion will not be able to be brought on to Morrissania in time. I would advise in that case that they should be left behind to come up at their leisure, and that your Cavalry (which will not probably be so much fatigued) should advance with the other Infantry to the attack.

Colonel Hull being an Officer of great Merit and perfectly acquainted with the Ground at and near Morrisania, and having formerly been employed in a successful enterprise against the Enemy at the place, I take the liberty to recommend him to you as a Gentleman who will be extremely useful in assisting you to make the necessary dispositions, and who will be happy to afford you every aid in his power.

It [is] unnecessary to recommend that every possible precaution should be used to keep the design a perfect secret from the Enemy, from the Country people, and even from the Troops (except such Officers as it is necessary to advise with) until the moment of your arrival at the Enemy's Lines.

I have the honour to be, &c.
G Washington

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 3g Varick transcripts, letterbook 1, image 292. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

George Washington, 31 July 1781, General Orders

Head Quarters near Dobbs Ferry Tuesday July 31st 1781
Parole Montmorency Countersigns Strasburgh; Havre
For the Day Tomorrow
{ Major General Howe
{ Lieutenant Colonel Mellen
{ For Picquet Major Keith
{ Inspector Captain Smith

The Light Companies of the first and second regiments of New York (upon their arrival in Camp) with the two companies of York Levies under command of Captains Sackett and Williams will form a Battalion under command of Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton and Major Fish.

[Note by editor of book: Capts. William Sackett and Daniel Williams.]

After the formation of the Battalion Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton will join the Advanced Corps under the Orders of Colonel Scammell.

At a Division General Court Martial held by order of Major General Lincoln whereof Colonel Putnam was President.

John Henley Private in the Seventh Massachusetts regiment charged with "Desertion" was tried found guilty and sentenced to suffer Death.

The Commander in Chief approves the sentence but from the late good behaviour of the Army he is induced to pardon him expecting his future behaviour will be such as may justify this Act of Clemency.

[Further Orders on this day not transcribed]

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 3g Varick transcripts, letterbook 5, image 356. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).
Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor. (Researched by Chris Sackett).

George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, 9 August 1781

To Lieut Col Alexander Hamilton. Lt Infantry

Head Quarters. August 9th 1781.

Dear Sir,

I have received your letter of the 7th. Shoes will be issued to the State Companies under your command upon your Return. I will only recommend that proper precautions should be taken respecting the delivery, and that the Men of the State Companies should be made accountable for them. The same mode will be pursued in supplying the other Companies as has been formerly practiced.

I am, &c.
G Washington

P.S. Captain Sacket and Captain Williams should become responsible to the Clothier, that the Shoes are properly accounted for. The Shoes may be drawn and issued through the Channel of the same person who is imployed by Colonel Scammell for the same purpose.

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 3g Varick transcripts, letterbook 14, image 126. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

The Diaries of George Washington

19 August 1781

The detachment from the American [army] is composed of the light Infantry under Scammell—two light companies of York to be joined by the like Number from the Connecticut line—the remainder of the Jersey line—two Regiments of York—Hazens Regiment & the Regiment of Rhode Island—together with Lambs regiment of Artillery with Cannon and other Ordnance for the field & Siege.

[Note by book editors] GW's General Orders for 31 July 1781 had stated that the light infantry companies "of the first and second regiments of New York (upon their arrival in Camp) with the two companies of [New] York Levies under command of Captains [William] Sackett and [Daniel] Williams will form a Battalion under command of Lieutenant Colonel [Alexander] Hamilton and Major [Nicholas] Fish.
"After the formation of the Battalion Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton will join the Advanced Corps under the Orders of Colonel [Alexander] Scammell" (DLC:GW).

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: The Diaries of George Washington. Vol. 3. Donald Jackson, ed.; Dorothy Twohig, assoc. ed. The Papers of George Washington. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

George Washington, 13 May 1782, General Orders

Head Quarters Newburgh Monday May 13. 1782

Parole . . . CSigns.

Mr Nathaniel Sackett has obtained permission from the Commander in Chief to Suttle to the Army untill further orders, upon conforming to the regulations for Conducting that business which will be pointed out to him by the Quarter Master General.

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 3g Varick transcripts, letterbook 6, image 154. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).
Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

George Washington to Benjamin Tallmadge, 15 October 1782

Head Quarters, October 15, 1782.

Sir: Your favor of yesterday has just been delivered to me, with the intelligence inclosed therein. Tho' I should consider it a very desirable thing, for the Corps of Cavalry which has gone to the East end of Long Island to be cut off yet under the peculiar circumstances of the present Moment I should not wish the Enterprise to be undertaken, unless there should be almost a certainty of success. With such a prospect I will by no means discourage the attempt.

[Note by editor of book: Tallmadge had suggested an attempt on Col. Benjamin Thompson's (later Count Rumford) corps of King's American Dragoons.]

I must therefore advise you, Sir, before you think seriously of undertaking it, to digest the Plan thoroughly, to obtain the minutest intelligence of the strength of the Corps, the situation and position where you can make the stroke, and the same time to estimate and consider well the number of Men that will be necessary to insure success, and above all the number of Boats that will be wanted and the practicability of obtaining them in time and with secrecy. You will after making yourself as perfectly master of the subject as possible, and calculating the chances of succeeding or miscarrying in the execution of the Project, (if you should think it eligible to prosecute the affair) give me your farther sentiments thereon and expect to hear from Sir, Yours etc.

[Note by editor: The draft is in the writing of David Humphreys.
On October 15 Trumbull wrote, in the third person, a brief note of thanks for Washington to Nathaniel Sackett for a cheese. This note is in Washington Headquarters at Newburgh, N.Y.]

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).

The Diaries of George Washington

Tuesday 1st November 1785

A Mr. Sacket from Tygers Valley on the Monongahela, and another person came here before Dinner and shewed me some propositions they had to make to Congress for a large territory of Country West of the Ohio, which I discouraged them from offering, as I was sure they never would be acceded to by that body.

[Note by book editors] MR. SACKET: possibly Nathaniel Sackett of New York who had, during the Revolution, supplied GW with intelligence from behind the British lines. He laid before Congress on 22 Aug. 1785 a plan for making a "new state intended for the relief of all our distressed and neglected citizens." For this purpose, Sackett wanted a grant of western lands bounded by the Ohio, Scioto, and Muskingum rivers and Lake Erie. Congress did not act on the memorial, and so Sackett again presented the plan with 340 supporting signatures on 28 Dec. Nothing ever came of the scheme (Sackett to GW, 23 May 1789, DNA: PCC, Item 78; Sackett to GW, 7 April 1777, GW to Sackett, 8 April 1777, NNebgGW; BOND [2], 273; JCC, 29:650, n.3, 788, n.1, 909). GW's designation "from Tygers Valley" may have meant that Sackett had just come from a visit to Tygart Valley River.

Website George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: The Diaries of George Washington. Vol. IV. 1784-June 1786. Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978. ( (Researched by Chris Sackett).