George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Livingston, 8 February 1779

From William Livingston

Elizth Town [N.J.] 8 Feby 1779

Dear Sir

I have just received your Excellencys favor of the 31st Jany; & am much obliged to your Excellency for ordering the Party under Col: North into Monmouth County. Could you form any guess concerning the time of their continuance there, it might regulate me in dismissing the additional Militia I lately ordered into that from the Neighbouring Counties; or at least (since their Month will soon expire) in countermanding my Orders for their relief.1

Lord Stirling (to whom I applyed in your Excellencys Absence from Camp) has given such Orders respecting the Deserters from the Convention Troops confined in Morris, as I doubt not will prevent their farther desertion from thence, which was my principal uneasiness;2 tho from the Inconvenience of the numbers in that Goal, I am perswaded your Excellency will order their removal whenever they can be conveniently disposed of. I have the honour to be with the greatest regard Dear Sir Your Excellencys, most obedient Servt.

LB, NN: Lyon Letter Book.

1On 15 Jan. the New Jersey privy council had advised Livingston to call out various classes of militia from Burlington, Hunterdon, Middlesex, and Monmouth counties “to be Stationed under the Command and in such parts of Monmouth County as Colonel Asher Holmes shall think best adapted to Guard the Frontier of that County from the inroads of the Enemy, and to be reviewed Monthly” (Bernstein, N.J., Privy Council Minutes, 112–13).

2Livingston had written to Major General Stirling on 30 Jan. from Morristown that “Of the twenty odd convention Troops who deserted on their march thro this State & were Committed to Morris Gaol, there are but thirteen left. As they constantly escape, I fear they will soon be all at New York unless they are removed from hence” (Prince, 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 , 3:27–28). Stirling had already acted to rectify that problem on 29 Jan., when he wrote from Middlebrook to James Abeel, deputy quartermaster general at Morristown, that the Convention Army prisoners there were to “be immediately Secured in Irons and fed on bread & Water only, ’till they Come to proper Behavior. I shall this day direct the Adjutant General to Strengthen the Morristown Guard” (NHi: Stirling Papers).

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