To the Officer Commanding at Raritan, New Jersey
Head Quarters, Morris Town March 13th 1777
I discover from a general return made to me, of the number and state of the Troops at Rariton by Brigadier General Dickinson, that the proportion of officers, vastly exceeds the number of Men at your post;1 whereby the Public is burdened with the unnecessary expence of useless Officers—I by no means condemn the good spirit that urges these Gentlemen to take the Field, but cannot help observing that they may be more usefull by going into the Country, and bringing out such a farther number of Men as would amount to their respective commands. In future I desire that no more officers may be retain’d, than are necessary to command the Men & that without Loss of time—You regulate the Number of Officers now with you—the supernumerary ones must not expect pay after this day. I am Your most hum. Servt
Df, in the writing of Richard Kidder Meade and George Johnston, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. This return has not been identified, but returns made on 15 Mar. 1777 of the Continental army and militia troops stationed in New Jersey show 99 Continental and 423 militia rank and file trops fit for duty at Raritan (see Return of the American Forces in New Jersey, 15 Mar. 1777). The returns do not give the numbers of officers stationed in the area, however. The Continental soldiers at Raritan were from Wyoming, Pa., and the militia troops were from New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia.