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To George Washington from Major General Benjamin Lincoln, 12 April 1777

From Major General Benjamin Lincoln

Bound brook [N.J.] April 12th [1777]

Dear Genl

I am inducd to write you in consequence of a [letter I] have just receivd from Lord stirling acquainting me that some troops from Virginia were on their march to join the army and that he had directions to quarter them between Baskenridge, and the first ridge of mountains next to Boundbrook as thereby in case of necessity, they would be well situated to march to the assistance of either quarter.1 I have heretofore mentiond to your Excellency the scituation of this post—no material alteration hath taken place since I wrote you on this subject unless that hits strength is decreasd.

Colo. Broadhead, who waits on you herewith will I trust convince yr Excellency of the impossibility there is that troops quartered as above mentioned, can render the least assistance to this post, in case it is attacked by the enemy, save to cover a retreat, the necessity of doing which is painful in idea.2

By a line receivd yesterday from Col. Tilghman, I am informd it is yr Excellencys desire that the Carriages be kept in order ready to move on the shortest notice3—the weakness of our post, hath induced us at all times to take this precaution and I have been informd by the officers, they have all things in order for a sudden movement. I am with esteem yr Excellencys most obedient humble Servant.

Df, MHi: Lincoln Papers.

1These troops belonged to Col. Alexander Spotswood’s 2d Virginia Regiment and Col. Alexander McClanachan’s 7th Virginia Regiment. Tench Tilghman wrote Stirling on 10 April that GW “approves of the post you have assigned for the Virginians when they arrive” (NN: U.S. Army, 1775–89). On 12 April Stirling wrote Alexander Hamilton: “The Troops under Colonel McClanagan which I expected at their Quarters between the first & Second Mountains yesterday, I find took the Route by Pluckhimen and loodged there last Night; I sent this Morning at day break a Messenger to bring them into the boundbrook Road at Boylans; I understand Col: Spotswoods Regiment is on the March by the Same Route” (DLC: Hamilton Papers).

2Lincoln wrote Stirling on or about this date: “I should have been extreemly happy if Your Lordship had been with me in sentiment that the public safety & interest would have been better promoted by having the 2d Virginia Battali[o]n stationed in & near Bound brook rather than between the mountains—but when I differ from a Gentleman in opinion whose attachment to the public interest is at lea[s]t equall with my own & who are stimulated by motives as disinterested & whose military knowledge & Exper[i]ence is far Super[i]or (which I am sure is the case with your Lordship) I am ready to conclude that the difference arises from want of information on my part[.] Your Lordship will consider that we have less than five hundred men at this post fit for duty” (MHi: Lincoln Papers).

On 15 April Lincoln’s aide-de-camp Nathan Rice wrote Capt. Everard Meade of the 2d Virginia Regiment: “General Lincoln has just received a line from Lord stirling acquainting him it is his Excllencys General Washingtons order that the 2d Virginia Regiment commanded by Colo. Spotswood, be posted at Boundbrook only reserving a Subalterns guard of twenty four privates, a sergt Corpl &c. to go to Baskingridge this morning in order to guard the Stores &c. there—the Genl directs me to acquaint you with the above order, and that the guard which you send to Baskenridge, must guard the money, to that place, and then that you hold the remainder of the men now under your command in readiness to march to this place” (MHi: Lincoln Papers).

3This letter has not been identified. On 10 April Tilghman wrote Stirling: “As we may have occasion to move suddenly the General [GW] wishes you to give the Quarter Master orders to see that his Waggons are all in order, the best way to do it, is to make them put their Horses to, and drive them a little way out, by this means they see that their Gears are compleat and whole” (NN: U.S. Army, 1775–89).

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