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Letter from General Mercer to the President of Congress



[Read July 29, 1776.]

Perth Amboy, July 26, 1776.

SIR: There are now on duty, of the Pennsylvania Provincial Battalions, and the Associators of the same Province, three thousand rank and file in all, cantoned from Bergen Neck, near to Middletown, in South Amboy; these are the only troops who have joined. A battalion from Maryland go on to New York. Some shallops passing from Fishkill into Rariton Bay yesterday afternoon brought on a cannonade. Our field pieces did little or no execution, and the small arms were not used, the distance being too great. The enemy fired four, six, and twelve-pound shot very briskly for the space of an hour; we lost one man of the Militia, and had two wounded, not dangerously. Some iron four or six-pounders might be mounted on flats or scows we have here to answer very well against such vessels as passed us yesterday. Some have gone down today. I did not think it proper to waste ammunition with so little probability of effect. Some such pieces as are mentioned above are to be had at Philadelphia. We have shipwrights and smiths here could mount them. Captain Dawson is appointed assistant to the Engineer, who is planning some works of defence for securing


the passage along the Sound, and at the mouth of Rariton River.

I have the honour to be, sir, your most obedient servant,

To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq.

P˙ S˙ We were of opinion that the shallops were sent with flour round to the fleet; but I am this moment informed by the officer of the guard on South Amboy shore that soldiers appeared thick on their decks after getting round Billup' s Point into Prince' s Bay. This morning they fell down to Sandy Hook. A flag was seen hoisted this morning on the Light House, which is an unusual thing.