George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to the Brigadier Generals of Militia of Western Massachusetts and New Hampshire, 18 July 1777

To the Brigadier Generals of Militia of Western Massachusetts and New Hampshire

Head Quarters at the Clove [N.Y.] 18th July 1777

Gentlemen

The evacuation of Ticonderoga has opened a door for the Enemy, unless speedily and vigorously opposed, to penetrate the Northern part of the State of New York and the Western parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts Bay. It is also to be feared that they will form a junction by the way of the North River with General Howe and thereby cut off the communication between the Eastern and Southern States. I need not represent to you how fatal such a measure would prove to the interests & Liberties of the united States. It cannot be supposed that the small number of Continental Troops at present assembled at Fort Edward are alone sufficient to check the progress of the Enemy, to the Militia therefore we must look for support in this time of Tryal; and I trust that you will immediately upon the Rect of this, if you have not done it already, march with at least a third part of the Militia under your command and rendezvous at Saratogha unless directed to some other place by Genl Schuyler or Arnold. I would recommend it to you to engage your men to remain in service for a limited time to be regularly releived by others at the expiration of that time.1 We shall then know what force we have to depend upon, and it will be also more convenient for the Men, part of whom may be gathering their Harvests while the others are bravely defending their Country.

Genl Arnold who is so well known to you all, goes up at my request to take the command of the Militia in particular, and I have no doubt but you will, under his Conduct and direction, repel an Enemy from your Borders who not content with hiring Mercenaries to lay waste your Country, have now brought Savages with the avowed & express intent of adding murder to desolation. I am &c.

G. W——n

P.S. This to be forwarded by express from one Brigadier to the other.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The draft, addressed “to the Brigadiers in the Western Parts of Massachusets & New Hampshire,” is docketed “to the Brigadiers Genl of the Militia of the Western parts of Massachusets & New Hampshire.” The Varick transcript, however, was inadvertently addressed to the brigadier generals of militia in the western parts of the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut. The unfound letter sent was enclosed in GW’s letter of this date to Robert R. Livingston.

1On the draft this sentence and the last part of the previous one initially read: “if you have not done it already, march with a part of the Militia under your command and join Genl Schuyler wherever he shall make his Stand. I would recommend it to you to march the whole of your Brigade, but only a proportionable part, engaged to remain in service for a limited time to be regularly releived by others at the expiration of that time.”

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