George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Henry Beekman Livingston, 29 March 1777

From Colonel Henry Beekman Livingston

Peaks Kill [N.Y.]
29th March 1777

May it Please Your Excellency

Since I received Your Favour we have had a Visit from the Enemy at this Post abot 500 in Number1 after waiting untill they were Landed Colo. Courtlandts Regiment and my own being all the Men that were present were Orderd to a Hill Back of Mrs Mandeviles House2—the Enemy Drew up Opposite on an Eminence fronting us about 400 Yards Disstant when we received Orders from Genl McDougal to Retreat which was done with Regularity after destroying all Stores our Strength being insufficient to remove them this Happened on Sunday last3 on the Monday following in the Evening their Advanced Guard was Attacked Briskly by one Hundred Men under the Command of Lt Colo: Willett who Obliged them to retire with precipitation to their Main Body4 no Pursuit being Made the Enemy Reimbarkqued without Molestation and on Tuesday Made sail for New York—The Necessary Occasions of the Regiment Obliges me to Request Your Excellency to Transmit by the Bearer Capt. Lawrence Nine thousand Dollars5 by the time this Reaches Your Excellency they will have five Months Pay due to them—You will be so Obliging as to Excuse this Scrall as our Inconveniencies are Many at this Place Occasioned by the Greatest Part of our Barracks being Burnt. After Most Respectful Complimts to Mrs Washington I Am with Essteem Your Excellencies Most Obt Servt

Henry B. Livingston


1GW had last written to Livingston on 20 Feb. 1777. For a more detailed account of the British raid on Peekskill, N.Y., of 23–25 Mar., see Alexander McDougall to GW, this date.

2Livingston is referring to the house of Rachel Mandeville, widow of Cornelius Mandeville (d. 1768).

3The previous Sunday was 23 March.

4Marinus Willett (1740–1830), who had been commissioned a captain in the 1st New York Regiment in June 1775 and had been promoted to major of that regiment in May 1776, became lieutenant colonel of the 3d New York Regiment in November 1776. He was named lieutenant colonel commandant of the 5th New York on 1 July 1780, and he was promoted to colonel the following November with rank dating from 22 Dec. 1779. Willett retired from the Continental army on 1 Jan. 1781, and the following April he took command of a regiment of New York militia levies. Willett included a brief account of the British raid on Peekskill when he wrote his memoirs later in life (see Willett, Willett’s Narrative description begins William M. Willett, ed. A Narrative of the Military Actions of Colonel Marinus Willett, Taken Chiefly from His Own Manuscript. New York, 1831. description ends , 40–42).

5John Laurance, who was General McDougall’s son-in-law, was paymaster of Livingston’s 4th New York Regiment at this time. On 1 April GW gave Laurance a warrant for $5,000 for the use of Livingston’s regiment (warrant book no. 2, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 18), and on 10 April GW appointed Laurance judge advocate general of the army (see General Orders, that date).

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