George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel John Glover, 17 September 1776

To Colonel John Glover

Head Quarters Col. Morriss’s Sept. 17th 1776.


On the receipt of your letter communicating the intelligence from Col. Durkie, respecting the desertion of the militia from Powles hook, I have ordered Col. Williams regiment of militia, amounting to about five hundred men, to march immedy, as a reinforcement to Col. Durkie; Col. Knox will direct what shot & shells, are to be sent over, & I shall give orders that boats be prepared to transport the waggons.1 Col. Putnam has marked out some works, near Burdetts ferry in order to defend & secure that post; These I request and desire may be carried on with all possible expedition; I think your incampment on the low grounds is altogether improper, and ought to be removed immediately to the heights as I am clear of opinion that when you are attacked by the enemy, it will be in your rear. Yr hhble Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. Col. Glover will send the letters to Col. Durkie & Genl Mercer immediately.2

LS, in William Grayson’s writing, owned (1993) by Mr. Joseph Rubinfine, West Palm Beach, Florida.

1Glover’s letter, which has not been found, apparently reported the panicstricken retreat of Col. John Duyckinck’s regiment of Middlesex County, N.J., militia from Paulus Hook to Bergen on the morning of 16 Sept., when the British warship Renown fired several broadsides at that post (see the Renown’s journal entry for that date, in Clark and Morgan, Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964–. description ends , 6:861, and Extract from a Journal Kept by the Chaplain of Colonel Durkee’s Regiment, 15–23 Sept., in Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 2:460–62). The flight of the militia left only “about three hundred effective men” of Col. John Durkee’s 20th Continental Regiment at Paulus Hook (ibid.).

William Williams (1731–1811), a successful merchant from Lebanon, Conn., and a son-in-law of Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, was colonel of the 12th Connecticut Regiment of militia, one of the nine militia regiments that the state council of safety recently had ordered to march towards New York. At this time, however, Williams was in Philadelphia attending the Continental Congress, to which he had been elected in October 1775, and in his absence Lt. Col. Obadiah Hosford (Horsford) commanded the regiment (see Conn. Hist. Soc., Collections, 8:159, and Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 2:909–10). Williams was reelected to Congress in October 1776, and in December, citing the overwhelming pressures of his civil duties, he resigned his commission as colonel of the 12th Regiment. A member of the Connecticut house of representatives from 1757 to 1776 and from 1781 to 1784, Williams served as its speaker in 1775 and from 1781 to 1783. He was elected to Congress in 1783 and 1784 but did not attend.

2GW apparently is referring to unidentified letters written to these officers by William Grayson on 16 Sept. (see Mercer to GW, this date, and Glover to GW, 18 Sept.).

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