Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO MAJOR BENJAMIN TALLMADGE. 1 - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VII (1778-1779)
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TO MAJOR BENJAMIN TALLMADGE. 1 - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VII (1778-1779) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VII (1778-1779).
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TO MAJOR BENJAMIN TALLMADGE.1
New Windsor, 27 June, 1779.
Your letter of yesterday came safe to my hands, and by the Dragoon, who was the bearer of it, I send you ten guineas for C—r.2 His successor, whose name I have no desire to be informed of, provided his intelligence is good and seasonably transmitted, should endeavor to hit upon some certain mode of conveying his informations quickly, for it is of little avail to be told of things after they have become matter of public notoriety and known to every body. This new agent should communicate his signature, and the private marks by which genuine papers are to be distinguished from counterfeits. There is a man on York Island, living at or near the North River, by the name of George Higday, who, I am told, hath given signal proofs of his attachment to us, and at the same time stands well with the enemy. If, upon inquiry, this is found to be the case, (and such caution should be used in investigating the matter as well on his own acct. as on that of Higday) he will be a fit instrument to convey intelligence to me, while I am on the West side of the North River, as he is enterprising and connected with people in Bergen county, who will assist in forming a chain to me, in any manner they shall agree on.
I do not know whom H— employs; but from H— I obtain intelligence; and his name and business should be kept profoundly secret, otherwise we not only lose the benefits derived from it, but may subject him to some unhappy fate. I observe what you say respecting your position at Bedford, and the fatigue of the Horse. With regard to the first, when Bedford was pointed out, it was descriptive only of a central place between the two Rivers, and as near the enemy as you could, with military prudence, take post for the purpose of covering the Inhabitants, and preventing the ravages of small parties. The judgment of the officer commanding is, under the idea just expressed, to direct the particular spot and choice of ground, which ought to be varied continually, while you are near enough the enemy to give assistance to the People. With respect to the second matter, I have only to add, that I do not wish to have the Horse unnecessarily exposed or fatigued; but if, in the discharge of accustomed duties, they should get worn down, there is no help for it. Colo. Moylan’s regiment is on its march to join you, which will render the duty easier, and ye Troops there more respectable. I wish you to use every method in your power, through H—and others, to obtain information of the enemy’s situation, and as far as it is to be come at designs. C—r speaks of the Enemy’s force up the River as not exceeding eight thousand men; but as I know he is mistaken, if he comprehends their whole force, I should be glad if his successor were cautioned against giving positive numbers by guess. This is deceptious; let him ascertain the particular corps, which can be no difficult matter to do, and he will soon, by taking a little pains indirectly, come at the strength of them and where they lye. I am, Sir, yours, &c.1
[1 ]Major Tallmadge was an officer of the second regiment of Light Dragoons, and, on account of his activity, vigilance, and ability, he was often stationed near the enemy’s lines. He held constant correspondence directly with the Commander-in-chief, whose confidence he seems to have enjoyed in a marked degree.
[2 ]A spy, by the name of Culper, who had been long employed in New York, and whose intelligence had been of great importance. There was also a Culper, Jr.
[1 ]In a letter of the 29th Washington requested Major Henry Lee to endeavor to employ some spy to go into the works at Stony Point, or at least make as careful an examination of the particular kind of works, the strength of the garrison, and other points.