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Letter from Colonel Henry B. Livingston to General Washington



Saybrook, September 24, 1776.

SIR: Since my last I have made a little excursion upon Long-Island, and brought off three thousand one hundred and twenty-nine sheep, and four hundred head of horned cattle, from Shemcock' s Plains, about thirty miles from Sag-Harbour. There hearing a Mr˙ Richard Miller and some others were raising companies to aid and assist General Howe, I despatched Captain Roe, with about thirty men, to seize their leaders and hinder the people from collecting. At the time of Captain Roe' s arrival at Satucket, he found that Mr˙ Miller had inlisted about forty men, and was on his way to head his company, when he fell in with Captain Roe and his party, who lay in wait for him, in hopes to make him their prisoner. He was hailed several times, and ordered to stop; but attempting to make his escape, was shot through the body. I have thought proper to be thus particular with regard to this transaction, lest it should be misrepresented, as the young gentleman has many friends. He is said to have been recommended to the notice of Lord Howe by Judge Ludlow.

Oliver De Lancey is a Brigadier-General under Lord Howe, as your Excellency may see by the enclosed copies of orders sent to Colonel Phineas Fanning. I was permitted a sight of the originals, on condition they should be again returned. A reward of five hundred pounds is offered for my head by General De Lancey, I am told. I am in great hopes of being even with him soon, if your Excellency pleases to continue me on this station. If it was possible for me to obtain a few more men, I believe it would be in my power to make their quarters very warm for them at Jamaica, as I am informed most of their army have crossed the East River. However, should this not be a fact, it is certain that Lord Howe has ordered all grain, hay, &c., to be valued and reserved for the use of the British army; the defending or destroying this would be advantageous, I should imagine. The New-England people are very backward in supplying vessels to carry off stock, otherwise I should have removed treble the quantity. Most of those I have, have been pressed for that purpose, and I have given them certificates on the Convention of New-York in payment for the time they were employed.


Any directions your Excellency will be pleased to honour me with shall be strictly complied with.

I remain your Excellency' s most obedient, humble servant


To His Excellency General Washington.