From Nathaniel Woodhull
In Convention of the Representatives of the
State of New York—White Plains July 18th 1776
I have the Honor to enclose Your Excellency a Copy of a Letter this Moment received from Colonel Van Cortland and Captain Zephaniah Platt, who were sent from this Convention for the purpose of Providing for and stationing the Militia that might come down the Country to guard the River & assist the other Militia at the Forts in the high Lands.1 I am with the greatest Respect Your Excellencys most Obedient Servant
Nathll Woodhull Presidt
LS, DLC:GW. The addressed cover includes the notation “Pr Mr Dyckman.” The New York convention approved a draft of this letter this afternoon and ordered it to be “transmitted by Sampson Dyckman” (N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:530). The wording of the printed draft is the same as that of the LS. The bearer Samson Dyckman of Westchester County was a strong supporter of the American cause despite the fact that his younger brother States Morris Dyckman was a prominent Loyalist.
1. The convention gave Pierre Van Cortlandt and Zephaniah Platt their assignment on the morning of 16 July, and on this date the two men wrote the convention from Peekskill: “We proceeded in Con[se]quence of Your Orders up the River when we came to Croton found the [British] Ships anchored in haverstraw Bay we posted Coll Hammen [James Hamman] with 140 Men on the Banks of the River to the best Advantage and proceeded to peeks Kill ralleing as we went along the people near the River to keep proper Centerys out along the River to watch the Motion of the Enemy as soon as we came here we dispatched an express to Dutchess County to call in half of the Militia & forward Your Letter to Capt. Vansant [Jacobus Van Zandt] &ca at the same Time sent out for half of the Militia of Cortlandts Mannor to march immediately to this place—Wednesday morning [17 July] went over to fort Montgomery to confer with Genl Clinton when to our Great Joy we found six hundred of the Militia of Orange and Ulster Countys and great Numbers had been sent back all in high Spirits we then returned back in order to go up to fort Constitution but on our return being informed that a Number of Troops were within 6 or 8 Miles of this from Connecticut we thought prudent to stay until they came in—in order to provide for them & fix their Stations, about this period one of the Tenders hove in sight beating up into peekkill Bay she beat up within about two Miles of fort Montgomery and then bore away and stood down the River when our people at the fort fired one Gun at her she run round the point of the Dunder Bergh [Dunderberg Mountain]—She Sent her Barge on Shore and plundered a poor Mans house & Garden stole a hog and put off—as She went down between Vanplankss [Verplank’s] point and the West Shore our Men gauled her Much with their Muskettry the Tender in her turn returned a heavy fire with her Cannon but did no Damage that we have heared of—About three Oclock Major [Ebenezer] Gay of Sharon [Conn.] came in with 260 Men, soon after Genl Ten Broock from Dutchess County and Genll Fellows from Massachusetts arrived with part of their Brigades and many More on their March we sent an express Last Evening to Genl Clinton to send for Coll Clinton to meet us at fort Montgomery at 10 Oclock this Morning to confer with us & Genlls Ten Brock & Fellows in order to form a General plan of Opperation. The Returns are not properly made out as yet but conclude their is about 600 men now here and expect there will be by Night 1200” (DLC:GW; see also N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:525, 530).
Zephaniah Platt (1735–1807), an attorney from Poughkeepsie, represented Dutchess County in the provincial congress and convention from 1775 to 1777 and in the state senate from 1777 to 1783. In September 1776 Platt was appointed to the New York committee for detecting conspiracies, and in October 1779 he became colonel of a regiment of associated exempts. Platt was a judge in Dutchess County from 1781 to 1795 and a member of the Continental Congress in 1785 and 1786. Founder of the town of Plattsburg, N.Y., he moved there in 1798.