Letter from General Washington to General Mercer, directing a return of a portion of the Militia of New-Jersey



Head-Quarters, July 4, 1776 — 9 o' clock P˙ M.

DEAR SIR: I am to acknowledge the receipt of your favours of yesterday and this morning, and approve much of the steps you have taken for securing the ferries, as well as quieting the apprehensions of the inhabitants of Newark by stationing some troops there.

Upon full consideration of all circumstances, I have concluded to send the Militia home, except five hundred to guard Bergen Neck, which I deem an important post, and capable of being used very much to our prejudice. I am also of opinion that a body about Woodbridge and Amboy would be very useful. I propose to retain the Morris County Militia for the first purpose, and leave it to General Livingston to order the security of the other places. As to the Militia who have marched from distant parts, I suppose, like all others, they are impatient to return to their farms and business, and as others are discharged, it will be difficult to keep them. However, that I leave to General Livingston, who, if he thinks they are necessary for the defence of the Province, will give them his orders; but I do not require their service any longer.

I cannot spare Captain Burr any swivels, the row-galleys requiring all I have.

I would by all means recommend to you to place a guard at the two ferries, Hackensack and Passaick. I shall send over an Engineer to-morrow to erect some works for the security of these places. The Militia of distant parts are better in such cases than the Militia of the neighbourhood.

In detaining troops you will please to distinguish, and inculcate upon others the distinction, between the new levies and Militia. Every man of the former I expect with all expedition.

I am, sir, your most obedient servant,


To Brigadier-General Hugh Mercer, in New-Jersey.