Camp at Totowa 2nd Novr 1780
We have frequently experienced every possible extreme of cold & fatigue in errecting Hutts at a late Season, which from a Variety of Intervening circumstances, could not be avoided—however at present I can not see anything to prevent us from taking time by the forelock, and making use of the new levies in building houses for the reception of such men as we now have, or may receive for the War, in the course of the Winter.
For which purpose I would advise your Excellency to move Immediately & make the best disposition that your little Army will admit of for the security of West Point & covering the Country & Communication between that Important post & Phila.
from a Comparitive view of the State & number of the troops under Your Excellency’s Immediate command & that of the Enemy in the Vicinity of New York, I do not think it advisable to Detach from this Army (unless you can Command part of the french troops from Rhode Island to reinforce West Point) in which case the Pennsa Line may look Southward—Otherwise you probably will have occation for the Utmost exertions of every man that will continue in service after the first of January—for should Sr Henry Clinton at last open his eyes—should he profit from former Error & commence the General, he will not forge the Crisis in which you are most vulnerable, & he is not to learn that period.
I have been thus concise upon the Subject matter committed by your Excellency to the consideration of the General Officers the day before yesterday—as I am confident that your own good judgment will be the best Criterion to determine the proper position for the Cantonment of the troops.
I will only beg leave to Suggest that the Inclemency of yesterday & last evening points out the Immediate necessity of coming to a Decision.* I have the honour to be with every sentiment of esteem Your Excellency’s most Obt & very Huml. Sert
DLC: Papers of George Washington.