George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel Henry Beekman Livingston, 24 September 1776

From Lieutenant Colonel Henry Beekman Livingston

Say Brook [Conn.] 24th Sepr 1776


since my Last I have made a little excursion upon Long Island and braught off 3,129 Sheep and 400 Head of Horned Cattle from Shenecock Plains about thirty Miles from Sag Harbour1 there Hearing a Mr Richard Miller and some others were raiseing Companies to aid and Assist General How I dispatched Captain Roe with about thirty Men to Seize their Leaders and hinder the People from Collecting, at the Time of Captain Roe’s Arrival at Satauket he found that Mr Millar had inlisted about 40 Men and was on his way to Head his Company, when he fell in with Captain Roe and his Party who lay in wait for him in hopes to make him their Prisoner he was hailed several times and Ordered to Stop but attempting to make his Escape was Shot through the Body, I have thought proper to be thus particular with regaurd to this Transaction lest it Should be misrepresented as the Young Gentleman has Many Freinds, he is said to have been recomended to the Notice of Lord How by Judge Ludlow.2 Oliver Delancey is a Brigadier General under Lord How as Your Excellency may see by the inclosed Copies of Orders sent to Colonel Finehas Fanning I was premitted a sight of the Originals on Condition they should be again Returned.3 A Reward of £500 is offered for my Head by General Delancey I am told, I am in Great hopes of being even with him soon if Your Excellency pleases to Continue Me on this Station, if it was possible for me to Obtain a few More Men I beleive it would be in My Power to make their Quarters very Warm for them at Jamaica as I am informed most of their Army have Crossed the East River however Should this not be a Fact it is Certain that Lord How has Ordered all Grain Hay &c. to be Valued and reserved for the Use of the B[ri]t[is]h Army the defending or destroying this would be advantageous I should Immajine The New England People are very Backward in supplying Vessels to Carry Off Stock Otherwise I Should have removed treble the Quantity Most of those I have[,] have been pressed for that purpose and Given them Certificates on the Conventi⟨on⟩ of New York in payment for The time they were Employed—Any Directions Your Excellency will be pleased to Honour me with Shall be Strictly Complied with. I remain Your Excellencies Mos⟨t⟩ Obt Humble Servt

Henry B. Liv⟨ingston⟩

ALS, enclosed in GW to Hancock, 2 Oct. 1776, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169. The portions of the text within angle brackets are mutilated.

1Livingston had written GW most recently on 11 September. The low sandy Shinnecock Hills, located about twenty miles west of Sag Harbor, were one of the principal grazing grounds on Long Island.

2Richard Miller, Jr., a Suffolk County Loyalist who had refused to sign the Brookhaven association in 1775, died from his wounds. Daniel Roe (1740–1820), a member of the Suffolk County committee of safety, commanded a company of minutemen during 1775, and in April 1776 he joined Col. James Clinton’s 2d New York Regiment, serving as a captain in Livingston’s detachment. Roe became a captain in Livingston’s 4th New York Regiment in November 1776. Setauket is on the north shore of Long Island directly across the sound from Bridgeport, Connecticut.

3Phineas Fanning, a cousin of Gen. Nathaniel Woodhull and a veteran of the French and Indian War, was appointed by the provincial congress in July 1775 as mustermaster for troops raised in Suffolk County, and in August 1775 he commanded the militia ordered to protect the livestock in eastern Long Island from British foraging parties. The enclosed copies of De Lancey’s orders of 1, 2, 5, and 11 Sept. are in DNA:PCC, item 152. The order of 1 Sept. conveys General Howe’s willingness to accept the submission of the inhabitants of Suffolk, and the one of 2 Sept. directs Fanning to order the captains in the 3d battalion of the county’s militia to assemble their men and command them to lay down their arms and swear allegiance to the king. The order of 5 Sept. concerns the raising of troops in the county for British service. The order of 11 Sept. directs Fanning to drive “all the fat Cattle and Sheep in Suffolk County” to Jamaica (DNA:PCC, item 152). For Livingston’s subsequent capture of Fanning and Fanning’s success in convincing the New York convention that he was a friend of the American cause, see Livingston to GW, 14 October.

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