George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Livingston, 27 November 1776

From William Livingston

Burlington [N.J.] 27 Nov. 1776

Dear Sir

I have directed General Williamson to order all the militia of the Counties of Bergen Essex Morris Sommerset Middlesex & Sussex (having myself ordered that of Hunterdon) immediately to march & join the Army under your Command & to continue in Service for the defence of this State for a time not exceeding six weeks to be computed from the time of their joining the said Army.1

The Legislature of this state has made Provision for raising four Battalions of 8 Companies each & 90 men to be inlisted till the first of April which will be carried into Execution with all possible Dispatch.2

I can easily form some Idea of the Difficulties under which you labour, & particularly of one for which the public can make no allowance, because your Prudence & Fidelity to the Cause will not suffer you to reveal it to the public, an instance of Magnanimity superior perhaps to any that can be shewn in Battle—But depend upon it my dear Sir the impartial World will do you ample Justice before Long—May God support you under that Fatigue both of Body & Mind to which you must be constantly exposed—I am with Sentiments of the greatest Respect your most obedt & most humble Ser.

Wil: Livingston

P.S. The printed Copy is what I issued some days ago to our Colos. before I knew whether there would be a necessity for marching.3

ALS, DLC:GW. The cover is addressed: “To His Excellency General Washington At Head Quarters.” Robert Hanson Harrison docketed the letter: “Govr Livingston Private 27th Novr Approvg Genls conduct Ansd 30th.”

1Livingston wrote Matthias Williamson on 25 Nov.: “By Intelligence just received of the Enemy’s having made a Descent into this State who will doubtless take Encouragement from not meeting with the opposition which it is in our Power to give to ravage the Country I think it necessary that you should immediately call out the whole militia of this State & march them towards Newark as fast as they are raised taking their orders in their march from General Washington” (Livingston Papers description begins Carl E. Prince et al., eds. The Papers of William Livingston. 5 vols. Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J., 1979–88. description ends , 1:188–89).

2The undated copy of this act of 27 Nov. that Livingston enclosed with this letter says that these men were “to enter as Volunteers out of the Militia, to have a Bounty of 6 Dollars, & be entitled to one Pair of Shoes & one Pair of Stockings. The 4 Battalions to form one Brigade under Brigdr Genl Williamson” (DLC:GW). By the time this brigade’s term of service expired, it was expected that the state’s quota of four Continental regiments would be raised for the new army (see ibid., 188, n.2).

3This unsigned document, which is dated “Burlington Nov. [ ] 1776,” contains a long, rousing call to arms culminating in orders to the colonel of each of the state’s militia regiments to have his regiment “ready to march on the shortest Notice” (DLC:GW; see also ibid., 177–79).

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