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General George Clinton to New-York Convention



Ramapough, December 23, 1776.

SIR: In my last I mentioned the difficulty the Militia under my command in this quarter laboured under for want of a Commissary to supply them with provisions. Whole regiments have been days without any, except such scanty supplies as they have been able to purchase from the inhabitants. Most of the regiments are out this day. I was in hopes they might be furnished at the post near Sydman' s bridge. General Heath, from the stores he told me were there, induced me to believe so; but, to my great disappointment, I am now informed that the Commissary at that place says he has not more meat in store or purchased than will be sufficient for the two regiments of Tyler and Huntington, who are to leave this in a day or two. He says he can' t issue any, as his appointment is confined to Parsons' s brigade. I have wrote twice to Colonel Hays on this subject, representing the difficulties we laboured under, and acquainting him that Convention expected he would, as a Commissary of their appointment, supply us, I sent the last letter by express to him yesterday, but he has never favoured me with an answer. The Militia think they are ill used, and I am sorry to say that, in my opinion, they have great reason to complain. They declare they will go home and leave me. Many have already gone, nor can I expect but that the rest will be as good as their word. Indeed they must desert or starve; and however well disposed, they will not submit to the latter. The consequences may be fatal to the country. I am not to blame. I have done every thing in my power. I have no further influence over them; nor can I, after not being able to perform my promises to them in the letter by which I called them out, and which contained no more than was fully warranted by the resolve of Convention, ever think of commanding them. It would be cruel as well as unjust to force them back to starve, nor shall I have strength enough to do it.

This moment your letter of the 21st instant, with the enclosures, were delivered me. General Heath marched yesterday for Peekskill, where he is, with his division and all the field-pieces, before this time. General Lincoln, from Massachusetts-Bay, is at Danbury, or soon expected there, on his way to Peekskill, with six thousand men. The state of the enemy' s Army on this side is as follows: Leslie' s brigade is at and near Achquahanock and Newark; three hundred with three field-pieces, at Hackensack; six companies of Regulars and three of Buskirk' s, at the new bridge, arrived there yesterday evening. The enclosed letter from Colonel Hathorn, and a party I had out as far as Paramus, confirm this account, though I am not certain but the three hundred at Hackensack is part of Leslie' s brigade. By tomorrow, if I am not mistaken, my number will not be equal to the enemy' s at Hackensack and the bridge.

I observe by the resolves now sent me, two of my Colonels, and other officers, are put under the direction of a Secret Committee of your honourable House. In justice to myself, I beg leave to mention, I must consider this as a suspension of my command, at least as far as it respects the regiments and companies they command. As they cannot be subject to my orders, I can' t be answerable for the conduct of the brigade.

I am, with due respect, your most obedient and humble servant,


To the Honourable Abraham Ten Broek, Esq˙, President of the Convention of the State of New-York, at Fishkill.