From Abraham Yates, Jr.
In Committee of Safety for the State of
New York—Fishkill Septr 4th 1776.
I enclose to your Excellency by the order of the Committee of Safety, a copy of a report which relates to a part of your Letter of the first Instant, respecting the calling out more of the Militia of this State for the purpose of reinforcing the Posts at Kings Bridge—It is with extreme concern that the Committee of Safety see their Inability to assist further in maintaining those important posts; they flatter themselves that the Reasons which they have offered will appear As Satisfactory to your Excellency as they did to the Committee.1
I am however directed to assure your Excellency that the whole Militia of the Counties of Ulster Orange Dutches and West Chester shall be ready to march whenever your Excellency or General Clinton shall think it absolutely necessary—And to inform you that the Committee of Safety will immediately exert themselves in arming with Lances, all Such of the well Affected Militia, as are destitute of Arms.2 I have the Honor to be most respectfully Sir your most obedient humble Servant
Abm Yates, Jun. President
LS, DLC:GW. The draft of this letter that the committee of safety approved late this afternoon contains only a few minor variations in wording (see 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 , 1:606–7; see also note 2).
1. The enclosed report of this date gives three reasons for not calling out additional militia from Orange, Dutchess, Westchester, and Ulster counties: “1st That from the best Information they have been able to obtain the number of Armed and well affected Militia in the said Counties do not exceed three thousand one hundred; the number of disarmed & disaffected Persons, two thousand three hundred, and the Number of Slaves two Thousand three hundred—From a Comparison of these Numbers and from our firm opinion that the disaffected only wait an Opportunity of rising; that General Howe is actually endeavouring to enlist Men in most of those Counties, and that our Enemies would not scruple to Stir up our Slaves to bear arms against us, it would be [extremely hazardous] to the internal Peace of the said Counties to draw out at present any more of their Militia.
“2d That from the Situation of the County of West Chester, which borders both on the Sound and Hudsons River, and the Counties of Dutches Ulster and Orange, on the North River (the Channel of which we have no reason to think sufficiently obstructed) the Enemy might Land to the Northward of our Posts at Kings Bridge, and take possession of those Counties, without any possibility of a Resistance from the Militia.
“3d That from the want of Tents or sufficient Houses the Militia would be extremely exposed to the Inclemencies of Weather, and other Hardships; which added to the Arts of the Tories in Construing into a Defeat the late Prudent retreat from Long Island; and the present inconvenient Season of the year, would we fear prove too Severe a Trial for the Virtue and patriotism of Common Soldiers, and disgust them so as to prevent their being of Service to the State on a Still more critical Occasion—This appears to have been lately the Case both of the Militia and New Levies on Nassau [Long] Island” (DLC:GW; see also 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 , 1:606).
2. The draft reads: “as are at present destitute of firearms” (ibid., 606–7).