George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General George Clinton, 1 July 1777

To Brigadier General George Clinton

Head Quarters Camp at Middle Brook July 1st 1777

Sir,

From intelligence just received from the Northward; there can be little doubt that the enemy are operating against Ticonderoga and its dependencies;1 and from the evacuation of the Jerseys, and the reason of the thing itself, there can be as little room to doubt, that General Howe will cooperate with the Northern army, and make a sudden descent upon Peeks Kill, in order, if possible to get possession of the passes, before the troops to defend them can be reinforced by this army. Indeed I am at this moment informed that all the enemy’s tents were struck to day at eight oClock, and ’tis supposed they have all embarked, as the ships have all sailed out from Prince’s bay where they lay—So that you may probably have a very hasty visit. The urgency of the occasion and the necessity of employing all our resources to baffle the first attempts of the enemy, obliges me to request in the strongest terms, that you will exert yourself to call forth a respectable body of the militia of your state to strengthen the force already at Peeks-Kill and its appendages, ’till circumstances will permit this army to be brought to their assistance. No time should be lost in doing this.2 The call is to the last degree pressing; and the least delay may be productive of the most fatal consequences. Let every nerve be strained to forward your preparations, and put you in the best posture of defence possible. I am Dr Sr Your most Obedt servant

Go: Washington

General Parson’s & Genl Varnum’s Brigade march tomorrow morning very early for Peeks-Kill.

LS, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, enclosed in GW to Israel Putnam, this date, DLC:GW, ser. 9; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The LS was part of the Caesar Rodney collection of manuscripts that was sold at auction in Philadelphia on 13 June 1919 (Stan. V. Henkels Catalog, 13 June 1919, item 240). Clinton sent copies of this letter to the president of the New York council of safety and to the colonels of the New York militia on 2 July 1777 (see Clinton’s letter to the president, and Clinton’s orders to the colonels, that date, 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 , 2:61–62, 64). None of those copies has been found. The New York council of safety read this letter on 3 July (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 , 1:985–86).

1For this intelligence, see Philip Schuyler to GW, 28 June 1777, and notes.

2Clinton ordered out eight regiments of New York militia on 2 July, four of which were sent to Peekskill, three to Fort Montgomery, and one to the post near Sydnam’s Bridge (see Clinton’s letter to the president of the New York council of safety, and Clinton’s orders to the colonels, both 2 July, 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 , 2:61–62, 64).

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