Primary tabs

Letter from Colonel Livingston to General Washington



Southold, August 31, 1776.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY: I have, since I wrote to you yesterday, received by express an account, which may be depended upon, that General Woodhull was taken a prisoner by our enemies on Wednesday last. Their Troop of Horse is considered by the inhabitants to the westward of Huntington as an insurmountable obstacle to their ever obtaining their freedom, independent of Great Britain. Many have been prevailed with by the disaffected to us to solicit


pardons from Lord Howe, and they are circulating at a great rate. Our communication is cut off from New York by land, and there are three ships, a brig, and a sloop, that endeavour to intercept it by water. So many reports daily circulate here with respect to the strength and advantageous situation of our enemies, that it is very difficult to give your Excellency a distinct account. They are now possessed of Hempstead Plains; their Horse are continually employed in disarming the inhabitants, but do them no other injury. General Woodhull was taken a prisoner and treated cruelly by them. After he was taken he received a wound in his head, and much uncivil language, and finally committed close prisoner to Jamaica jail.

Our enemies are plentifully supplied with fresh provisions, which, together with the precarious situation I am in, has induced me to march my detachment to the westward, in order to harass their foraging parties. I have endeavoured to prevail upon the Committees of the different towns to raise their Militia, and have also sent an express to Governour Trumbull, requesting his aid; for if some encouragement is not given to the country people, they will be entirely passive.

I am your Excellency' s most obedient servant,

To His Excellency General Washington, New York.

P˙ S˙ I expect to be at Huntington in about three days. We begin our march tomorrow morning. I hope for your Excellency' s approbation.