To Joshua Mersereau1
[Preakness, New Jersey, October 24, 1780]
By intelligence just received from New York, we have reason to believe the enemy have some attempt in view by way of Staten Island, the execution of which will probably take place on thursday evening; if so the troops from New York will probably be past upon Staten Island thursday morning. ⟨The⟩ General wishes you to have ⟨one⟩ trusty person over on the ⟨Isl⟩and, to ascertain, whether any troops do come from New York and whether there are any movemen⟨ts⟩ more than common among the enemy on the Island. He mu⟨st⟩ leave the Island thursday morning so as to meet you at some convenient place that you may have time to get the intelligence and bring it to Head Quarters by Thursday evening six oClock. In your way you will call upon the Commanding officer of the troops near Cranes Gap,2 as it is possible the design may be against them. It is of great importance you should be punctual.
Yr most Obedt servant
Alex Hamilton ADC
The troops near Cranes Gap will be about a mile or a mile & a half from Crane’s town, below Newark Mountains.
ALS, New-York Historical Society, New York City.
1. Mersereau (spelled Mercereau by H) lived at Staten Island, New York. He was a deputy commissary of prisoners, and he frequently supplied Washington with information concerning the enemy. He was a member of the New York Assembly in 1777, 1778, 1779 to 1783, and 1784 to 1786.
2. In the vicinity of Cranetown, former name of Montclair, New Jersey. The Gap is in the Watchung Mountains.