Letter to General Washington


A draft of a Letter to General Washington, in answer to his received this day, was read and approved , and is in the words following, to wit:

"August 31, 1776.

"SIR: We had the honour of your Excellency' s letter of yesterday, and see the weight of the reasons which induced you to quit the lines on Long-Island. We acknowledge the difficulty of managing the Militia so as to render them useful, which is in some measure owing to their being ill-appointed and unused to camps, and of consequence suffering more than those who have got into a regular way of providing against inconveniences. We are so fully satisfied of the enemy' s design to land above New-York, and of the mischiefs that will result therefrom, that we cannot, by any means, advise your Excellency to trust for its prevention to any Militia which we can at this time call out, who, after the great draughts we have already made, cannot be expeditiously collected well, ill armed, and we fear some of them not so well affected as we would wish. We know no country so capable of being defended as that above the bridge. Should the enemy once occupy it, we have reason to dread the consequences. We take the liberty to hint these things to your Excellency, though we are persuaded they have not


escaped your observation, in order to convince our constituents and the rest of the Continent engaged in the same cause that we are willing to make any sacrifices which the general interest demands.

"We enclose a resolution for the removal of the cattle from the Island of New-York, which your Excellency will cause to be executed if you think it necessary, as we have no force that we can trust with its execution. We cannot but hope that the Commissary will give every relief to the inhabitants by purchasing from them all the stock that are fit for the use of the Army

"We have directed Colonel Smith to go to Long-Island, in order to destroy the cattle, which will otherwise serve as a supply to the enemy.

"If by calling in the outposts the force of an Army is so much concentred that any part of them could safely be spared, we are fully persuaded that three thousand Rangers could be very usefully employed on Long-Island, and not only harass the enemy but prevent their foraging parties from ever getting beyond the Cross-Plains, which extend quite across the Island, and by that means save at least two-thirds of it from the enemy. Your Excellency knows how to pardon, on the score of our sincerity, for the general welfare, our stepping somewhat out of the regular line, and suggesting such ideas as our knowledge of the country induces us to believe useful. We have the honour to be.

"His Excellency General Washington."

Ordered, That a copy thereof be engrossed, signed by the President, and, together with the aforegoing Resolutions relative to the driving the Cattle from New-York Island, be immediately transmitted by express.