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Letter from General Miffiin to General Washington



Camp at Mount Washington, July 2, 1776.

MY DEAR GENERAL: I find the works well advanced, but not in a state of defence. The teams allotted to them have been taken off — some of them sent to town for materials and there detained, others necessarily employed in hauling up the powder (which is now stored in the best place I could find) and provisions from the landing.

From the Colonel' s reports, the men' s arms are in a most alarming situation; Colonel Magaw has not more than one hundred and twenty-five in his regiment fit for service; Colonel Shea about three hundred, including all the carbines which they received lately by your order. If the enemy pay us a visit, we will do our best, and endeavour to make up in zeal what we want in appointment. Should sufficient reinforcements arrive at New-York, may we not expect a share? You are best acquainted with the importance of this post, my dear General, and I flatter myself will put it into our power to do something more than mere defensive work within our lines.

I think the enemy may divert our attention to the heights above King' s Bridge; if so, is it expected that we can detach a party to oppose them? I shall be happy in your orders how to act if a landing should be attempted above or below us, at the same time that we may have reason to believe our present post to be one of their objects. Were the works in good order and the men well equipped, I could easily determine those points, but circumstanced as we are, I do not see how we can permit even a small party to leave the environs of this camp without exposing it to immediate danger, and yet I might be tempted to do it.

I propose to exercise with the artillery, if the works will admit of it, two companies who are not armed; our principal business within the works must be with artillery.

We have many arms which might soon be put in order if Colonel Moylan will favour us with four armourers and some tools; Captain Bacon promised it several days past, but still neglects us.

I am, my dear General, your obedient, humble servant,