George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Egbert Benson and Brigadier General George Clinton, 13 July 1776

To Egbert Benson and Brigadier General George Clinton

Head Quarters N. Yk July 13th 1776.


Two ships of force with their Tenders have Sailed up Hudsons River1—I am apprehensive that they design to seize the passes in the Highlands by Land wh[ich] I am informed may be done by a small body of Men. I must therefore request you instantly to desire Genl Ten Broeck to March down as great force as he can Collect to secure them, particularly the post where the Road runs over Anthonies nose2—send off an Express directly (if you please) to the West parts of Connecticut, desireing them to Collect all their force at the same point since I have the highest reason to believe it will be absolutely necessary if it was only to prevent an insurrection of your Own Tories. I am sir Yrs &c.


P.S. A return must be immediately made to Me of the number of Men—You collect.

LB, in Samuel Blachley Webb’s writing, DLC:GW; two Varick transcripts, DLC:GW. The LB is addressed “to Egbert Benson Esqr. Chairman of the Committee of Dutchess County,” and it is followed in the letter book by a memorandum, also in Webb’s writing, which reads: “Similar Letter to the above wrote to Genl Clinton at New Windsor Ulster County.” The Varick transcripts are identical in wording. One of them is addressed “to the Committee of Dutchess County” and is dated 13 July. The other one is addressed “to B. General George Clinton” and is dated 12 July. Webb initially dated the LB 12 July and then changed its date to 13 July.

Egbert Benson (1746–1833), an active Patriot who practiced law at Red Hook in Dutchess County, served as chairman of his county’s committee of safety during 1776. From 1777 to 1778 Benson was a member of the New York council of safety, and from 1777 to 1787 he held the office of state attorney general. Benson also served in the Continental Congress from 1781 to 1784. He was a delegate to the Annapolis Convention in 1786, a member of the first two federal congresses, and a justice of the New York Supreme Court from 1794 to 1801.

1For the sailing of these British warships up the Hudson, see GW to Hancock, 12 July.

2Abraham Ten Broeck (1734–1810), an Albany merchant and a member of the New York provincial congress and convention, served as colonel of the 3d Regiment of Albany County militia from October 1775 to June 1778, when he became a brigadier general of militia. Ten Broeck resigned his commission in March 1781. He was mayor of Albany from 1779 to 1783, a member of the state senate from 1780 to 1783, and a judge of the court of common pleas from 1781 to 1784. For a description of Anthony’s Nose, a 900-foot-high promontory on the east side of the Hudson River across from Fort Montgomery, see Stirling to GW, 1 June 1776.

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