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Letter to Thomas Grenell


The Committee further examined Andrew McCormick, on the subject of the situation of the new Line at the Fortifications in the Highlands. And thereupon an answer to Thomas Grenell' s Letter, of the 19th instant, was read and filed, and is in the words following, to wit:

In Committee of Safely, New-York, January 23, 1776.

SIR: We are favoured with yours of the 19th instant, by Mr˙ Andrew McCormick, to which we have paid due attention, and have also examined him, and conversed with Mr˙ Berrien, on the situation of the ground, to which we are in a great measure strangers. Upon the whole, we are of opinion that, as the foundation of the intended battery, mentioned in your letter, is completed, and the timber and materials so far prepared that the battery may be finished at small expense, it will be best to finish it. At the same time, we are of opinion that a breastwork of wood, of three feet thick, will by no means answer any good purpose. Therefore, we desire you to have the breastwork made about twenty feet thick, in the following manner, to wit: let the timber in front be at least three logs, or pieces, thick, and in the inside at least two pieces thick, and the inside of the parapet perpendicular; the distance between the front and the inside pieces of the parapet will be about fifteen feet, and that intermediate space filled up with fascines and earth.

We wish to expend as little money as possible, and, therefore, you need not employ labourers to get fascines, for, as we expect Continental troops to garrison the fort in a short time, it now is, and will be, the proper duty of the troops there to make the fascines, and fill up the parapet. Please to take care that the upper part of the parapet be made so sloped, or descending, that the guns may, when necessary, be brought to bear on the water nearest to the battery, and the ground there adjoining to the water; and the outer face or front of the parapet should be built battering, or tend inwards, to prevent the eight of the earth from forcing the timber out of its place. A work should also be added at the left of the line, to secure the troops on the line, and the cannon and carriages, from being flanked by an enemy on the left.

We are, respectfully, sir, your very humble servants.

By order.

To Mr˙ Thomas Grenell, at the Fortifications in the Highlands.

Ordered, That a copy thereof be engrossed, and signed by the Chairman, and transmitted by the said Andrew McCormick.