To Major General John Sullivan
Head Quarters [White Plains] 13th Septem. 1778
I duly received your favor of the 11th Inst.
Repeated accounts from different quarters, announce some great and general movement on the part of the enemy—And tho’ the facts with which I have been hitherto furnished are not sufficiently pointed to determine clearly whether the result may be an attack on this army, an enterprise against the french Squadron—or finally a simple evacuation of N. York unconnected with any offensive operation in the territories of the United States—yet the conduct of General Gray, & return of Genl Clinton to N.Y. without troops, require us to be very particularly on our guard against any operations which they may meditate eastward.
The immediate embodying of the Militia might be attended with the disadvantages of a heavy expence, to the State—and disgusting the men by premature Service—but it will be of the utmost importance, to have every preparatory Step taken for collecting them on the Shortest Notice—The establishing known Signals for this purpose in every proper place—that an alarm may be rapidly communicated—is an object of the first attention—every thing that regards provision, Amunition and the means of transporting them, I suppose to be already in a proper train.
I need not suggest to you how important it will be to give powerful opposition to the enemys first attempts, and by checking their progress afford the more time for the arrival of Troops from this Army—but persuaded that your foresight & activity will make the best use of the means you have, I remain &c.
Df, in John Laurens’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.