George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety, 15 June 1776

From the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety

In Committee of Safety Philada 15th June 1776


By the Inclosed Resolution of Congress, Your Excellency will perceive there is an Intention of erecting some Works of Defence at Billingsport, on the River Delaware, under the Direction of the Committee of Safety.1 As they are extremely desirous of rendering that important Post as strong as the Nature of its situation will permit, a skilful Engineer should be on the spot to View the Ground, and furnish suitable plans, our deficien[c]ies in that Respect, put us under the necessity of applying to your Excellency, to furnish us with a proper Person for that purpose, And we hope the situation of New York will not be such as to make it improper to comply with our request2—By order of the Board I have the Honor to be your Excellen[c]ies most obedt hum. Servt

Geo. Clymer Chairman

LS, in Clymer’s writing, DLC:GW.

George Clymer (1739–1813), a prominent merchant in Philadelphia, was at this time a captain in one of the city’s battalions of associators and one of the two treasurers of the Continental Congress in addition to being chairman of the Pennsylvania committee of safety. A strong advocate of independence, Clymer was among the Pennsylvanians elected to Congress on 20 July 1776 to replace members of the state’s delegation who refused to sign the Declaration of Independence. He served in Congress to September 1777 and from November 1780 to November 1782.

1The preamble to the enclosed resolution of 14 June 1776, signed by Charles Thomson, indicates that GW may have assisted in inspecting the site of these proposed works during his recent visit to Philadelphia: “A Memorial from the Committee of Safety of Pennsylvania was presented to Congress and Read, setting forth that a Committee of Assembly accompanied by the General officers lately in Town and a skilful Engineer, have viewed the River Delaware and the Fortifications and defences erected at the Expence of the Colony of Pennsylvania to Oppose and prevent the passage of the Enemys Ships; and that they have judged it necessary for further security that a Redoubt should be erected at Billingsport [now Paulsboro] in New Jersey and that a Boom should be there thrown a Cross, or some other Obstructions fixed in the Channel.” Congress empowered the Pennsylvania committee of safety to erect that redoubt and obstruct the river at Continental expense (DLC:GW; see also 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 , 5:443).

2For GW’s reply, see his letter to Clymer of 17 June.

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