George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Nathaniel Woodhull, 13 July 1776

From Nathaniel Woodhull

In Convention of the Representatives of the
State of New York—White Plains July 13th 1776


On being informed Yesterday Afternoon that two Ships of War had gone into the North River and passed by all the Fortifications on York Island; the Convention immediately sent an Express to the commanding Officer of the Fort at the high Lands advising him thereof.1

Last Evening Advice arrived that two Frigates and two or three Tenders were at Anchor at Tarry Town, whereupon the Convention sent the Inhabitants a supply of Powder & Ball and took immediate Measures for reinforcing the Inhabitants along that Shore. This Morning the Convention were informed that the Frigates and Tenders still lay there at Anchor and that several Barges were busy in s[o]unding the River. Another Detachment of the Militia has been directed to guard the Stores in that Neighborhood in which are sundry Effects belonging to the Publick.2

The Convention will endeavour to prevent their making Incursions into the Country, and beg leave to suggest to Your Excellency the Propriety of keeping a strong Guard at Kings Bridge, the Destruction of which they apprehend to be an Object with the Enemy. I have the Honor to be Your Excellency’s most Obedient humble Servant

By Order.

Nathll Woodhull Presid.

LS, DLC:GW. The New York convention approved a draft of this letter this morning (N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:523). The wording of the printed draft is the same as that of the LS.

1The news about the British warships sailing up the Hudson was brought to White Plains from New York City by Sampson Duyckinck. The New York convention then appointed a committee headed by John Jay “to take such measures on this occasion, as to calling out such parts of the militia, sending expresses to the forts in the Highlands, and all such other measures as they shall think necessary” (ibid., 522).

2The provincial congress on this date wrote Lt. Col. James Hamman of the 1st Westchester County Militia Regiment: “We last evening ordered Col. [Thomas] Thomas [of the 2d Westchester Regiment] to send you a reinforcement of 40 or 50 men, together with 100 lbs. of lead, and 2 quarter casks of gunpowder. . . . There is no great reason to apprehend that any considerable incursions into the country will be made by parties from the ships in the river, and therefore are of opinion it would not be expedient for great numbers of the militia to leave their farms at this busy season of the year” (ibid., 522–23). The New York convention also wrote on this date to Col. Pierre Van Cortlandt of the 3d Westchester Regiment: “Be pleased to order such a number of your regiment to guard the stores in which provisions and other effects belonging to the public, are lodged at and near Peekskill, as you may think necessary. . . . As it would not be prudent on every little alarm to call great numbers of the inhabitants from their farms, we hope the detachments you may order in service, will not be greater than the exigency of affairs may require” (ibid., 522).

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