George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Abraham Yates, Jr., 28 August 1776

To Abraham Yates, Jr.

Long Island Augst 28th 1776


I was just now honored with your favor of this date with Genl Woodhulls Letter & should esteem myself happy were it in my power to afford the assistance required; but the enemy having landed a considerable part of their force here & at the same time may have reserved Some to attack New York, it is the opinion not only of myself but of all my General Officers I have had an opportunity of consulting with that the men we have are not more than competent to the defence of these Lines & the Several posts which must be defended—This reason & this only prevents my complying with your request—I Shall beg leave to mention in confidence that a few days ago upon the Enemys first landing here, I wrote to Governor Trumbull recommending him to throw over a body of a 1000 men on the Island to annoy the enemy in their rear If the state of the Colony would admit of it1—Whether it will be done I cannot determine, that Colony having furnished a large proportion of men I was & Still am doubtfull whether it could be done—If it could I am Satisfied it would from the zeal & readiness they have ever shewn to give every possible Succour—I am hopefull they will be in a condition to do it, & if they are[,] those troops I doubt not will be ready & Willing to give Genl Woodhull any assistance he may want—But cannot the Militia effect what he wishes to do? They I believe must be depended on in the present instance for relief. I have the honor to be Yours &c.

Go. Washington

Transcript, MH: Jared Sparks Collection. The New York convention read this letter late this afternoon, and it is printed in the 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 , 1:599. That text, which presumably was taken from the unfound receiver’s copy, is nearly identical in wording to the Sparks transcript.

Index Entries