George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Orange County Committee of Safety, 16 July 1776

From the Orange County Committee of Safety

Haverstraw [N.Y.] July 16th 1776

In Consequence of your Excellys Desire to receive timely Information of every Mœnuver which the Enemy on Hudsons River may make, to distress the Inhabitants at this extreme Busy Season, we can inform your Excelly that this Morng between the Hours of 10 & 11, the whole Fleet consisting of 2 Men of War and 3 Tenders made Sail from Niac, and about 12 came into Haverstraw Bay 40 Miles up the River from New York where after the Shipping came to Anchor the Tenders continued parading the Bay for half an Hour they came all to Anchor opposite to the House of captain Thiers, when four Barges fully manned, attempted to Land with a View as we conjecture to take of some Sheep and Cattle, which we had previously drove off—Notwithstanding they brought their Tenders so nigh the Shore as to cover the Landing of the Men in the Barges—yet having but a few Men we carried a firm Countenance to them, and with a few Shot being well levelled they thought proper to retreat without doing any Damage with their Cannon1—If your Excellency can possibly spare a small Detachment from the continental Forces for a few Days, untill the Farmers can take in their Crops as it is now in the Height of their Harvest you will render us essential Service and a few Days now is of the utmost Consequence to them—When the Harvest is in we shall with the utmost Chearfullness lend every Assistance in our power to promote the common weal of the Community.

We shall not press this Matter upon your Excellency, but doubt not you will see the Necessity which urges this Request and with due Respect remain your Excellys very humble Serts

Pr Order of Committee

John Coe deputy Chairman

P.S. We can further inform your Excely that the Enemy have sounded the Channel as far up as the mouth of the Highlands.

LS, DLC:GW. The addressed cover of the letter includes the notation “By Theunis Ramson. Express.” The letter is endorsed in Samuel Blachley Webb’s writing “Answerd 17th,” but no reply of that date to the Orange County committee from GW or on his behalf has been found.

John Coe (1719–1782) served as deputy chairman of the Orange County committee from 1776 to 1777. Coe was also a member of the provincial congress in 1775 and the state assembly from 1778 to 1780 and sat as a judge in Orange County from 1775 to 1778.

1The journal on one of the two British warships, H.M.S. Phoenix, says that the Phoenix anchored in Haverstraw Bay at 11:00 A.M. on this date and that “the Tryal Schooner and the two tenders Anchor’d near the Shore with an intention to land some Men to bring off Cattle; at 3 the Tryal and Tenders Anchor’d in the Bay not being able to Effect their design being prevented by a Number of the Rebels having Assembled” (Clark and Morgan, Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964—. description ends , 5:1101–2). The “captain Theirs” mentioned here might be Daniel Tier who in 1780 was one of the provision contractors for Orange County at Kakiat (now part of Rockland County; see GW to the contractors of Bergen and Orange counties, 5 Oct. 1780, DLC:GW).

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