Primary tabs

General Washington to Colonel Sillman



New York, July 6, 1776.

SIR: Governour Trumbull having informed me, in a letter of the 3d instant, that he had ordered three regiments of the Militia Lighthorse to march to the defence of this place, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Seymour, lest the other troops from your Colony should not arrive in time for succour, and at the same time requesting, if their service is unnecessary, or can be dispensed with, that I would signify it to you, I must take this opportunity to acquaint you that the intelligence we have received from three or four prisoners that have fallen into our hands within a few days past, leads me to conclude, that no force that can be collected will be too great to ward off the blow that our enemies mean to strike in a little time. The prisoners say that General Howe has already ten thousand men here, being joined by some regiments from the West Indies, and part of the Highland troops in his passage, and that he is in daily expectation of the arrival of Admiral Howe with a large fleet of one hundred and fifty sail, with troops on board; that before he left Halifax, a packet had arrived there, giving intelligence that he would be met here by this fleet in a very little time, and that the expectation of them is the only reason why the enemy have not begun their operations.

From these accounts, you will readily conceive the necessity of our most vigorous and spirited exertions, and that there is occasion here for all the men that can be possibly got. But what to do with the horses of this regiment I am at a loss to determine: it will be impossible to support them; and if it could be done, the expense would be enormous. I cannot think myself at liberty to consent to the horses coming; at the same time, I must request your exertions to prevail on the men. They may have it in their power to dismiss their horses, perhaps after bringing them almost here. The exigency of our affairs calls aloud for their assistance, and more especially as there is almost a moral certainty that the battalions which are intended for this place will be some time before they all arrive, and when they do, will not be more than half complete.

Recommending to your and their notice what I have said, and the alarming consequences that may result from not


having sufficient and timely succours to repel the enemy, I am, sir, your most obedient servant,