George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Hancock, 17 April 1776

From John Hancock

Philadelphia 17th Aprl 1776


I have it in Charge from the Congress to Direct that Two Companies of Colonell Dayton’s Battalion of New Jersey Troops be Station’d at Cape May, for the protection of the Property and Navigation in that Quarter, and you will please to Issue the necessary Directions accordingly.1 I am Sir Your very hume servt

John Hancock Presidt

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 12A.

1In response to a petition written in behalf of the committee of inspection in Cape May County, N.J., by Thomas Learning, Jr., “setting forth the defenceless state of that part of the country,” the Continental Congress resolved on 17 April to send these two companies there and to sell Leaming 200 pounds of gunpowder for the use of the county militia (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 4:284–85, 291). GW found it necessary to include Dayton’s regiment in the reinforcements for Canada, however, and on 17 June Congress ordered two companies of the forces in Delaware to go to Cape May in place of Dayton’s companies (ibid., 5:452; see GW to Hancock, 25–26 April, and General Orders, 27 April 1776).

Elias Dayton (1737–1807), who served as a lieutenant in the “Jersey Blues” at Quebec in 1759 and as a provincial captain during Pontiac’s Conspiracy in 1763, was elected a colonel in the Continental army by Congress on 9 Feb. 1776. A native of Elizabeth, Dayton commanded the 3d New Jersey Regiment until January 1781 when he became colonel of the 2d New Jersey Regiment. Although Dayton led a brigade during the Yorktown campaign, he was not promoted to brigadier general until January 1783.

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