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General Scott to General Washington



Camp at Haverstraw, November 30th, 1776.

SIR: By express last evening from General Heath, I received an extract of a letter from Head-Quarters to him, dated 27th instant, in which it is mentioned that your Excellency is assured of my exertions to influence my troops to continue in service with General Heath fifteen or twenty days longer.

You have doubtless, sir, been apprised by that gentleman of the reason of my coming hither. But lest it should be otherwise, give me leave to mention, that an application to him, by Colonel Hay, of this place, a gentleman uncommonly spirited in the publick cause, representing the exposed state of this part of the country by reason of the vicinity of the enemy, and the great number of Tories between this and the enemy' s Army, he thought proper to consult with his Brigadiers on the subject, who advised him to throw a body of troops across the river. This measure being approved by him, he inquired what troops should be sent, upon which I offered my service with my brigade. On the 25th, in the evening, I received my orders for crossing, "to cover the stores on this side the river, and to prevent the advances of the enemy into the passes of the Highlands, should they attempt it." Early in the morning I moved, and arrived here about the middle of the day; and on inquiry found Colonel Hays' s fears too well grounded. Therefore, after making the necessary disposition of the troops, and on considering that the few remaining days of service would put it out of my power to answer the end for which I came, I immediately wrote a most pressing letter to our Convention, requesting them to conjure the troops, in the strongest terms, to continue one month longer in the service, and to offer them a gratuity to induce them to do it. However, before my letter had reached the Convention, they had taken up the subject, as you will see by No˙ 1, enclosed, which came to hand yesterday. The Convention, however, on receipt of my letter, came to the resolves, No˙ 2. Upon receipt of them I paraded the brigade, formed them into a circle, and from the centre published the two sets of resolves, and in the best and most animated manner I could, urged a compliance with them. I then retired and left them to free consultation; and on my return, desired the officers, who chose to continue with me in the service, to join me in the centre, at the same time offering my month' s pay to the non-commissioned and privates, as a further encouragement to them to follow the example of their leaders. All the commissioned officers present, except five Captains and subs and two Adjutants, immediately joined me. This circumstance gave me flattering hopes; but, alas, sir, I have been deceived; for upon ordering the officers to bring me in returns of those who are willing to continue, which they have done, I am convinced that I cannot retain thirty. However, I shall immediately put the passage of the letter above alluded to into brigade orders, hoping that your Excellency' s application, and the short term you propose, may have the desired effect.

You will be waited upon, sir, by some of my officers with their abstracts. I am sorry to inform that the detention of their pay has been made a great handle by the leaders of the opposition. I therefore earnestly beseech your Excellency to despatch the warrants, as the men will wait till the officers return, and they are directed to ride night and day.

I take the liberty to enclose the abstracts for myself and Major Fish, on which I beg your Excellency' s warrant.

I am, sir, with the greatest respect, your Excellency' s most obedient servant,


His Excellency General Washington.