Primary tabs

Letter from General Washington to Lord Stirling



Cambridge, January 10, 1776.

MY LORD: Having received undoubted intelligence of the fitting out of a fleet from Boston, and of the embarkation of the troops from thence, which, from the season of the year, and other circumstances, must be destined for some expedition south of this, and having such information as I can rely on, that the inhabitants of Long-Island, or a great part of them, are inimical to the rights and liberties of America, and, by their conduct and professions, have discovered an apparent inclination to assist in subjugating their countrymen and fellow-citizens to the system of tyranny


Administration are attempting to establish, there is the greatest reason to apprehend, that this armament, if not immediately designed against the city of New-York, is, nevertheless, intended for Long-Island. Knowing it to be of the last importance to the interest of America, to prevent the enemy from getting possession of these places, and the North River, which would give them the command of the country, and a free communication with Canada, I have despatched Major General Lee, with orders to repair to New-York, with such volunteers as he can raise on his way, (having no troops to spare from hence,) to put the city, and the fortifications up the river, in the best posture of defence the season and situation of affairs will admit of; and for taking proper steps against such persons on Long-Island, and elsewhere, whose conduct hath rendered them suspected of designs unfriendly to the views of Congress, I have directed him to apply to you for the troops of New-Jersey, under your command, in the Continental pay, or such of them as he may think necessary for effecting the purposes of his going. I beg, and am assured, that you will afford him every assistance in your power, for facilitating this business, as far as may be consistent (or not repugnant) to the orders you shall have received from Congress, and with all possible expedition.

I am, my Lord, with much esteem, &c˙,


To Colonel Lord Stirling, New-York.