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Stephen Moylan letter to Nathaniel Green

Identifier: Mss 0021

Scope and Contents

The Stephen Moylan letter to Nathaniel Greene is dated 15 October 1779 and is primarily a letter of introduction for Moylan's brother John, who was to take charge of the "Clothing Department." Moylan requests Greene's advice and assistance on behalf of his brother. The letter was apparently written from a camp at Pinesbridge.


  • Creation: 15 October 1779

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

All materials available in this collection (unless otherwise noted) are the property of the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center and Seton Hall University, which reserves the right to limit access to or reproduction of these materials. Reproduction of materials or content is subject to United States copyright restrictions and may be subject to federal or state privacy regulations. Permission to publish exact reproductions must be obtained from the Director of the Archives and Special Collections Center.

Biographical / Historical

Stephen Moylan was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1737 to a wealthy family. He had at least two brothers, Francis (later Bishop of Cork) and John. He was educated in England or Paris before moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1768 to run a shipping business. He was also the first president of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick in Philadelphia.

Moylan joined the Continental Army in 1775 and, possibly through connections with John Dickinson of Philadelphia, became secretary to George Washington before being appointed Quartermaster General in the American Continental Army on 5 June 1776. After some difficulty in this post, he resigned on 28 September 1776 but remained in the Army, commanding a company of light dragoons with distinction. He was brevetted to brigadier general on 3 November 1783.

In 1778 Moylan married Mary Ricketts Van Horne and they had a daughter, Elizabeth. The family lived in Philadelphia, where Moylan was Commissioner of Loans. He died on 11 April 1811 and was buried at St. Mary's Church in Philadelphia.

John Moylan served as Clothier General of the United States. He was probably born in Ireland and moved to America at an unknown date.

Nathanael Greene was born 7 August 1742 in Warwick, Rhode Island. His father was a Quaker preacher. He educated himself, particularly in military studies, in spite of a conflict between his interest in the study of war and his Quaker beliefs.

Greene helped organize a militia in 1774 and joined the Continental Army in 1775. He was rapidly promoted from private to Brigadier General, and served with George Washington in operations throughout New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. He was appointed Quartermaster General 2 March 1778, and remained so until August 1780, continuing to command troops throughout. He later commanded troops throughout the South, and was instrumental in a number of important battles including the Battle of Guilford Court House in North Carolina.

After the war, Greene refused the post of Secretary of War and eventually settled in Georgia, near Savannah. He married Catharine Littlefield of Rhode Island in 1774 and was president of the Rhode Island Society of Cincinnati from 1783 until his death. Greene died of sunstroke in 1786.


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Language of Materials



Stephen Moylan was born in Ireland in 1737, immigrated to Philadelphia, Penn., joined the Continental Army in 1775 and served with George Washington, and was appointed Quartermaster General for the Continental Army in 1776. Nathanael Greene was born in Rhode Island in 1742, joined the Continental Army in 1775, and was appointed Quartermaster General in 1778, in which post he served until 1780. The Stephen Moylan letter to Nathanael Greene was written 15 October 1779 and is a letter of introduction from Stephen Moylan regarding his brother, John Moylan, who had been appointed to the post of Clothier General for the Contintental Army, and requests Nathanael Greene's assistance to John Moylan in this office.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection was purchased for the Archives and Special Collections Center by the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission in 1981. Accession number 1981.0001.Mss.

Related Materials

Daniel Carpenter commission to the New Jersey militia, 1832, Mss 0080, in the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center, Seton Hall University.

Processing Information

Finding aid was created by Tracy M. Jackson, 2013.

Stephen Moylan letter to Nathaniel Green, 15 October 1779
Tracy M. Jackson
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Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the The Monsignor Field Archives & Special Collection Center Repository

Archives, Walsh Library
400 South Orange Ave
South Orange NJ 07079 US