George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Livingston, 23 March 1778

From William Livingston

Trenton 23d March 1778

Dr Sir

Perhaps upon the representation of our affairs below in the inclosed, your Excellency will think it expedient to order the Jersey Battalion to our relief1—It is true part of our Misfortunes, that of not providing pay for the militia is our own fault—Yet it is pity that the Country should be ravaged upon that account—I know your Excellency will do what is proper, & shall therefore not pretend to urge any particular measure—Collo. Shreve is this night at Burlington. I have advised him to proceed to morrow to Gloucester upon his addressing me upon the Subject of his movements.2 I hope he will soon be joined by our Militia from those parts. Nor do I believe the Enemy in Salem is so numerous as was at first represented. I am with great Respect your Excellencys most humble Sr.

Wil: Livingston


1Writing from Haddonfield, N.J., on this date, Col. Joseph Ellis of the Gloucester County militia informed Livingston, “I received yours of the 21st Instant & hope the Militia of Hunterdon & Sussex will turn out well, as there cannot be greater Occasion for them than at present—I have repeatedly call’d on the Colls at Burlington but without Effect: not a single man of them appears, nor do I hear there is any motion of the kind among them—We can get but very few from Salem or Cumberland as they plead the necessity of guarding their own Coast, which I think not unreasonable—Gloucester of late is little better, they being discouraged at the Weakness of the Post in part, & partly for want of their Pay, which with some Company’s is several months in Arrear—Coll [Bodo] Otto’s Battalion have chiefly revolted to the Enemy & have made Prisoners of a Number of their Officers, those who have eskaped dare not stay at their Homes; Coll [Richard] Somers’s Battalion upon the last call for two Classes have not sent twenty men—The Market to Philadelphia is now open nor is it in my Power to stop it with about fifty men which is all I have at present—I hope the Arrival of a few continental Troops will change the face of Affairs & encourage the Militia to turn out—The few East Jersey Militia that came from Middlesex & Monmouth County’s some time ago—one Company’s Time was near expired at their Arrival & the rest deserted in a few days—On the Enemy’s first embarking to go down the River I received intelligence of their design [(]which was to forage in Salem & Cumberland County’s) and sent Express immediately—They have since landed at Salem and are ravaging that part of the Country, Of the particulars of which I expect you will be informed of by Express gone thro’ here yesterday—I think it not safe for Capt. Cluns Artillery to come here ’till we are reinforced by some Infantry to support them—The Militia from above should come properly equipped as we have not Arms or Amunition sufficient to supply them—I would just beg leave to remark that without some standing force we have little to expect from the Militia who being alone not sufficient to prevent the incursions of the Enemy, each one naturally consults his own Safety by not being found in Arms, which will I hope be remedied on Coll Shreeves Arrival” (DLC:GW).

2See Livingston to Israel Shreve, 23 Mar., in Prince, Livingston Papers description begins Carl E. Prince et al., eds. The Papers of William Livingston. 5 vols. Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J., 1979–88. description ends , 2:269.

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