George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel Francis Barber, 12 February 1781

From Lieutenant Colonel Francis Barber

Pompton [N.J.] Huts Feb’y 12th 1781


Agreeably to your Excellency’s instructions to the commanding officer of the Brigade,1 I detached Captain Holmes with his company, completed to forty men, to Sydman’s clove,2 and I have ordered Captain Ballard with his company of the same number of men to remain in the neighbourhood of Pompton. The latter is instructed to detach a subaltern & fourteen men of his command to Ringwood for the purpose of guarding the stores at that place, and with the rest of his company to lie near the Yellow Tavern, in order to protect the transportation of stores.

The brigade will march for Morris town tomorrow morning. The difficulty of procuring sleads for the conveyence of our baggage has prevented an earlier movement. The commands at the Blockhouse,3 Sydmans & Hackensack I expect will arrive this evening.

I had not the least idea, but that the appointment of Major Barber was admissible upon the present system or I should not have troubled your Excellency with the request. It was excited by his earnest desire to continue in the army & to serve with the Jersey troops as also an encouragement from Colonel Scammell that the appointment, if recommended would take place; but I would by [no] means make the request, unless it be strictly conformable to the Regulations.4 I am Sir, with themost sincere respect and esteem, your Excellency’s very humble servant

F. Barber Lieut; Col.


2Barber refers to the gap in the Ramapo Mountains just north of the New Jersey-New York border. The road leading from Suffern, N.Y., into Smiths Clove passed through this gap. Sydnam’s (Sydman’s, Sidnam’s, Sidman’s) Bridge across the Ramapo River was located in the gap, as was Sidman’s tavern.

John Holmes joined the 1st New Jersey regiment as a second lieutenant in February 1776 and rose to first lieutenant in January 1777. He became a captain in February 1779 and left the army in April 1783.

3Barber refers to the blockhouse at Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. (see William Heath to GW, 10 Feb., and n.1 to that document).

4See Barber to GW, 6 Feb., and n.5.

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