Colonel Mordecai Gist addresses General George Washington

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Colonel Mordecai Gist addresses General George Washington


Troop Movement


This is an apparent contemporary copy of a letter Gist sent to General Washington while encamped at the Head of Sassafras(River, Maryland). Drafted in the hand of Gist's secretary, the letter addresses difficulties encountered with militia, movement of the British Fleet in the Chesapeake Bay and the disposition of British prisoners. The letter is signed, 'M.Gist'


Colonel Mordecai Gist


Camp at the Head of Sassafras 5th Sept 1777


I have to inform your Excellency that I arrived here the 2nd instant where I found General Cadwalader with about 300 militia in very confused Order their complaints of being carried out contrary to law has become very general among them which has induced me to promise them to adopt the rule of calling out only the first classes as ordered by the assembly of this state for the better regulating of the militia, this appears to be satisfactory to the whole and will put me upon a more respectable footing in Command as I can afterwards compel them to pay more attention to Order. I expect Mr. Paca to my assistance in the morning when I make not the least doubt that a few days will supply me with the number recommended by Congress.
The principal Division of the Enemies fleet consisting of about 150 Sail have fallen down to the mouth of this river and stretch their line from Grove Point to Howells point. The Isis, the Roebuck and a 40 gun ship lay off Col’o Loyd’s a little below Pooles Island. The Sphynx will continue at anchor at Elk a 50 gun ship has been some time fast aground on Stony Point where she still lies in that condition. I have this information from such authority as I think may be depended on. I learn from a midshipman of the Swift Sloop of war who we took prisoner yesterday that he understood when he left the ship (on Saturday last) that the whole of the Fleet was preparing to go round to Delaware.
I am just informed that [illeg] few ships past Annapolis yesterday – we have sent 14 deserters and 4 prisoners to Col’o Richardsons Battalion arrived here to day and has joined the Militia under my command.
As I apprehend the design of the fleet is to rob and plunder the defenseless inhabitants on the Coast.
I have detached a party to Howells Point to drive off the stock. I have another party in pursuit of a Tory Company in arms against the state as will appear by the inclosed . I expect a good account of them tomorrow.

I have the Honour to be
Your Mo Obdt. H. servt’


His Excellency
General Washington
At Camp at Wilmington