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Report by Robert R. Livingston of his conference with General Heath and General Clinton

Robert R˙ Livingston informed the Committee that he had, agreeable to their request, conferred with Major-General Heath and Brigadier-General Clinton on the subject of the resolutions of the 26th instant. That he had endeavoured, from the best evidence he could collect of the


enemy' s motions, to form some judgment of their intentions; that from this he was led to believe that they did not intend to make any attack on the Highlands, or at least not upon any other than the passes on the post-road, which they might possibly attempt by landing their troops at Peekskill; that all their forces appear to be drawn from Westchester County, so that they do not probably intend to march up to the White-Plains this season; that General Heath' s division, including those of the Forts in the Highlands, consists of about two thousand men, without counting General Scott' s Brigade; that it is the opinion of the Generals that, considering the strength of the ground, this will be sufficient to repel the enemy and maintain the pass till they can be reinforced; that Mr˙ Livingston had reason to believe that General Lee had already crossed the river with his division, to join General Washington, for which reason he did not think it necessary to go to the Plains, in one particular, as there was no apparent danger that the posts occupied by General Lee would be attacked, and he was able to obtain every necessary information from the Generals, with whom he conversed at Peekskill; that from them he collected that, after the removal of General Lee' s division, there would remain under the command of General Spencer, about the White-Plains and places adjacent, about three thousand men, which, with the works already erected, and the natural strength of the ground, the Generals were of opinion were sufficient to maintain those passes; that they were also of opinion that the passes on the west side of the river were sufficiently secured; that they did not therefore think necessary at present to call out the Militia, but wished to have those of Ulster and Orange Counties put under marching orders. That, as Mr˙ Livingston was apprehensive of the enemy' s being able to cross Hudson' s River with much more expedition than our Army, he had inquired of the Generals what number of boats we were furnished with, and had the satisfaction to find that we had sufficient to transport one brigade at each trip.

Mr˙ Livingston further informed the Convention that he had conferred with Major-General Heath and Brigadier-General Clinton about obstructing Hudson' s River at Pollepel' s Island, (at which conference Mr˙ Machin assisted;) that it appeared to them to be extremely practicable, and that he had the pleasure of assuring the Convention that both Generals seemed strongly impressed with a sense of the importance of that work, but determined to give every assistance in their power to perfect the same, or rather to take it upon themselves, which his Excellency General Washington' s orders on that head (which General Heath was so obliging as to communicate to Mr˙ Livingston) happily enabled them to do; that in this conference it was determined that five hundred men, under the command of Brigadier-General Clinton, should this day march for Fort Constitution, in order to begin the work on Sunday morning, in case they can be provided with three hundred axes by this Convention, all other tools having been furnished out of the Continental stores.

Mr˙ Livingston further informed the Convention, that having conferred with Mr˙ Machin about the chain, he had reason to believe that, with proper alterations, it might still be made very useful; that he had therefore taken the liberty to direct him to make the necessary alterations in the mode of fixing the same, and removing it to any situation where it can be most advantageously placed; of which measure, if the Convention approve, he begs some resolution to justify his proceedings therein.