Sept.4, Report of Committee against ordering out any more of the Militia of Westchester, Orange, Dutchess, and Ulster Counties



Die Mercurii, 9 ho˙ A˙ M˙, September 4, 1776.

The Committee met pursuant to the adjournment.

Present: Abraham Yates, Jun˙, Esq.

NEW-YORK — Mr˙ Robert Harpur, Mr˙ Evert Banker, Mr˙ James Suane.

DUTCHESS˙ — Mr˙ Sacked, Colonel Hoffman.

TRYON — Mr˙ Harper, Mr˙ Moore, Mr˙ Veder, Mr˙ Newkirk.

ALBANY — *Mr˙ Abraham Yates, Mr˙ Adgate, *Colonel Renselaer, Mr˙ John Ten Broeck, Mr˙ Cuyler, Colonel Livingston, General Ten Broeck.

CHARLOTTE — Major Webster, Colonel Williams, *Mr˙ Duer.

SUFFOLK — Mr˙ William Smith.

ORANGE — Mr˙ Wisner, Colonel Allison, Mr˙ Joseph Smith.


CUMBERLAND˙ Mr˙ Sessions, Mr˙ Stevens.

ULSTER — Colonel De Witt, Mr˙ Tappan.

WESTCHESTER — *Colonel Cortlandt, Judge Graham.

The Committee to whom was referred the consideration of the Resolution of the Convention of this State, relative to the calling out the Militia of Westchester, Orange, Dutchess, and Ulster, and the consideration of General Washington' s Letter of September the 1st, report, that they have maturely considered the state of the Counties of Orange, Dutchess, Westchester, and Ulster, both with respect to their Militia and the number of disaffected persons in the said Counties; and upon the whole, are of opinion that it will not he for the safety of this State, or the general interest of America; to order out any more of the Militia from the said Counties, and they submit to this Committee of Safety, the following reason?, among others, which have induced them to form this opinion:


1st˙ That from the best information they have been able to obtain, the number of armed and well-affected Militia, in the said Counties, do not exceed three thousand one hundred; the number of disarmed and disaffected persons two thousand three hundred, and the number of slaves two thousand three hundred. From a comparison of these numbers, and from our firm opinion that the disaffected only wait an opportunity of rising; that General Howe is actually endeavouring to inlist men in most of those Counties; and that our enemies would not scruple to stir up our slaves to bear arms against us, it would be extremely hazardous to the internal peace of the said Counties to draw out at present any more of their Militia.

2d˙ That from the situation of the County of Westchester, which borders both on the Sound and Hudson' s River, and the Counties of Dutchess, Ulster, and Orange, on the North River, (the channel of which we have no reason to think sufficiently obstructed,) the enemy might land to the northward of our posts at King' s Bridge, and take possession of those Counties, without any possibility of a resistance from the Militia.

3dly˙ That from the want of tents or sufficient houses, the Militia would be extremely exposed to the inclemencies of weather, and other hardships, which, added to the arts of the Tories in construing into a defeat the late prudent retreat from Long-Island, and the present inconvenient season of the year, would, we fear, prove too severe a trial for the virtue and patriotism of common soldiers, and disgust them so as to prevent their being of service to the State on a still more critical occasion. This appears to have been lately the case, both of the Militia and new levies, on Nassau-Island.

They therefore submit it to the wisdom of the Committee of Safety, whether it would not be advisable to send an express immediately to General Washington, informing him, from the reasons above-mentioned, of our inability to call forth at present any more of the Militia of the said Counties; assuring him, nevertheless, that the whole Militia of these Counties who are armed shall be ready to march on the earliest notice, whenever they receive orders from either himself or General Clinton, of the absolute necessity of such march.

Resolved, That this Committee of Safety does agree with their sub-Committee in the said Report.

And Ordered, That a copy thereof be prepared and certified, to be forwarded to General Washington.

Ordered, That his Excellency General Washington' s Letter of the 1st instant be recommitted to the former Committee, with the addition of Judge Graham.