Primary tabs

Letter from Lord Stirling to the President of Congress



[Read December 23, 1775.]

Elizabethtown, December 17, 1775.

SIR: The two letters I wrote you on the 3d and 5th instant, I hope you received. I have not received any answer to either of them, except a letter from Mr˙ Walter Livingston, relative to the surgeon and quartermaster of my regiment, which I have answered.

The enclosed letter from Colonel Maxwell, I received yesterday . I had before wrote to him to put his men into barracks as soon as possible. I was then sensible that all the barracks in this Province would not contain the two regiments of Continental troops raised in New-Jersey, and therefore intended boarding out two or three of the companies in this town, at a dollar per week, which, considering the expense of fire-wood, will be nearly as cheap as to


have them in barracks. By this letter, I find Colonel Maxwell' s regiment cannot, at present, be provided with the barracks at Trenton, as I expected. It seems there are about seventy or eighty non-commissioned officers and private soldiers, prisoners from Canada, with their women, &c˙, at Trenton, who have taken possession of the best rooms in the barracks, with all the furniture, and behave in a most insolent and improper manner, exciting mutiny and dissension among the men of Colonel Maxwell' s regiment, posted there. From what I am well assured of, I have reason to believe that it is very improper those prisoners should remain at Trenton, or in the Province. The Tories, in every part of it, have of late assumed fresh courage, and talk very daringly. I was yesterday evening informed by the Committee of this County, that they received intelligence of a combination carrying on for opposing the measures of the Congress; that some of them are bold enough to assert that their list of Association already amounts to more than four thousand men; and that they have had a supply of ammunition from on board the Asia, man-of-war. On this foundation, the Committee have applied to me for a party of men to seize two of the most active of the gang in this County, and I hope to surprise them to-morrow evening.

Colonel Lawry has, yesterday, paid off three companies more of my regiment at this place. Part of the eighth and last company arrived at the barracks at Amboy on Friday; the remainder of them are expected there to-morrow. On Tuesday next, a complete company from Morristown will also be there. The troops in barracks will, to-morrow, begin to subsist on their rations, as contracted for by the Congress.

I do not find that it will be possible to get any ammunition in this Province or New York. We ought to have a magazine of at least twenty-four rounds, to guard against unforeseen emergencies.

I shall, on foot hereof, add an account of the manner of stationing these two regiments as I intended them. Colonel Lawry, who has lately reviewed the barracks, is of opinion, with me that they cannot possibly contain more than I have allotted to them.

I am, very respectfully, sir, your most humble servant,


To the Hon˙ John Hancock, Esq.

Stations intended for the two Regiments in NEW-JERSEY:
In barracks at Burlington, 3 companies.
In barracks at Trenton, 3 do.
In barracks at Brunswick, 3 do.
In barracks at Amboy, 3 do.
In barracks at Elizabethtown, 2 do.
In board at Elizabethtown, 2 do.
Total, 16 companies.