George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Elizabethtown Committee of Safety, 3 July 1776

From the Elizabethtown Committee of Safety

Elizabeth Town [N.J.] in Committee
3d July 1776

May it please your Excellency

This Morning we have been Alarmd with a Party of the Enemy landing on Staten Island & proceeding to the point within two Miles of this Town where they took off the plank of a Draw Bridge & retreated to a House about a Mile from the Bridge. From the best intelligence we can get there are several Parties on the Island.1 The few remaining Militia we have are Collecting, but we are in distress for Powder and Ball, especially for four double Fortified three pounders which we have here but without a Single Cartrige.

The Necessity of the Case Justifies our earnest Application for such a supply as your Excellency may be able to Spare with propriety—The Bearer will be a proper person to take Charge of Whatever may be afforded us on the occasion. We are with great respect your Excellencies very Humble Sers.

By Order of Committee

Isaac Woodruff D. Chairman2

P.S. The diameter of our Cannon in the Bore are exactly 2½ Inches.

LS, NNGL: Knox Papers.

1Part of the British fleet passed through the Narrows on 2 July and landed some troops on the eastern shore of Staten Island that evening. Early the next morning General Howe and another detachment landed. Then, British engineer Archibald Robertson says: “all the Troops ashore, about 2300, march’d along the North side of the Island by Deckers Ferry, and part advanced to Elizabeth Ferry, Richmond, etc.” (Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends , 86–87). The rest of the British army landed on Staten Island during this and the following day and established an encampment there.

2Isaac Woodruff (1722–1803) was barrack master at Elizabethtown during 1776 and a provincial commissioner for purchasing stores. He also served as a local judge from 1777 to 1788 and was a member of the New Jersey general assembly in 1778.

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