George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General James Clinton, 8 September 1776

From Brigadier General James Clinton

Fort Montgomery [N.Y.]
Septr 8th 1776

May it Please Your Excellency

Inclosed I Send you A Return of the Number of men at Each of the Fortifications in the Highlands And A Return of the Artillery Stores and Ordinance at Each place.1

we are at Present Buissily Employed in Fortifying the Post on the South Side of the Pouplops Kill we have four twelve Pounders Mounted there and Expects Soon to have More2 we are Likewise Employed in Building three Barracks Viz. one at Fort Constitution one at the South Side of the Said Kill and the other at Red Hook near Peeks Kill A Post Ordered to be Fortified by the Provincial Congress where there is A Major and about 150 Men of my Brothers Brigade3 we are very Much in want of the Barracks but we have no Nails to finish them I have Sent an Order to the Q. M. Genl for such Nails as we want and am in hopes he Can suply us.

Our Men is but Indifferently Suplyed with Arms though I have taken what pains I Could to procure them and get them Repaired by the Armourers we have Near our Compliment if they were but good but many of those Sent here by the Different Committees and those taken from the Disafected persons in Dutchess County were as bad arms as ever I Seen and Can Never be Made Suitable for A Regt as their Bores are Small & Barrells thin & Weak But we are Determind to make them answer as well as we Can there was A Committee from Congress here a few Days Ago to Inspect our works and See what Necessaries were wanting for the Garrisons A Return of which I give them4 Your Excellency will see by the Inclosed Returns that our Fortifications is but Scarce of men in Case of an Attack. I am Your Excellencys Most Obedient Humble Servant

James Clinton Brigr General

ALS, MH: Jared Sparks Collection.

1These returns have not been identified, but for a report of the number of troops in the Hudson highlands at this time, see note 4.

2This post on Popolopen Creek subsequently was named Fort Clinton (see George Clinton to GW, 23 July).

3The fort that the provincial congress on 8 Aug. authorized to be constructed at Roa Hook near Peekskill was called Red Hook at this time and later became known as Fort Independence (see 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 , 1:563). Maj. Israel Thompson commanded the three companies stationed there (see Thompson to George Clinton, 20 Aug., in Hastings, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 1:317–18).

4The New York committee of safety on 2 Sept. appointed a committee of four members to visit forts Constitution and Montgomery in order to gain “a full and clear view of these important fortresses” (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 , 1:604). Clinton informed the committee that there were 764 men in the Highlands, including 398 at Fort Montgomery and 216 at Fort Constitution (ibid., 1:613). After hearing the committee’s report on 5 Sept., the convention resolved on 7 Sept. to reinforce the forts with 600 militia levies from Albany, Dutchess, Ulster, and Orange counties (ibid., 611, 613–14).

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