George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Livingston, 1 August 1780

To William Livingston

Peeks Kill August 1st 1780

Dr Sir

From our present advices a considerable part of the Enemy’s force are gone to Rhode Island with a view of reducing the Armament from France. We can give them no succour from hence by detaching, on account of the distance and the difficulty there would be if not impracticability, of subsisting the Troops with bread. There is no other mode which promises them relief, so far as it may depend on us, but our moving against New York immediately and acting against it with rapidity & vigor, as far as circumstances will admit. For this end the whole of the Continental Troops are in motion and as every aid will be essential—I intreat that your Excellency will order your State Regiment and the militia called for by the Committee of Congress,1 to march as soon as possible for Dobbs’s ferry, subject to my direction where the Officers will receive further orders. I would also beg leave to suggest that I think it adviseable that Your Excellency should order the whole of the Militia to hold themselves in readiness, to march, in case of orders, as events may arise to make their aid highly essential and important for a few days. It will not be called for but in this case, and I have the utmost confidence that they will give me support whenever it may be requisite.

I am much concerned that so few Levies have joined the Regiments belonging to the State.2 They amount but to a mere handful. I pray that Your Excellency will use your best endeavours to have them forwarded with all possible expedition. The service and our most essential interests require it.3 I have the honor to be With very great respect & regard Dr Sir Your Most Obet Servt

Go: Washington

P.s. Besides writing to Your Excellency I have written a line to the Commanding Officer at Morris Town to forward on the militia required by the Committee to Dobbs’s ferry.4

LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, NN: William Livingston Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW signed the cover of the LS.

1For the call for militia, see Circular to the States, 2 June, and n.1 (see also Circular to the States, 30 June).

To facilitate the harvest of vital crops, GW had agreed with Livingston to postpone the rendezvous of the New Jersey militia reinforcements, originally set for 25 July, until this date (see Livingston to the Colonels of the New Jersey Militia, 17 July, in 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 , 4:12–13).

2For the call to provide new recruits to raise the Continental regiments to full strength, see GW to the Committee at Headquarters, 25 May, and n.5; see also Livingston to GW, 19 June.

3Livingston replied to GW on 4 August.

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