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General McDougall to New-York Committee of Safety



Haverstraw, 9 December, 1776.

SIR: The rainy weather in our march from the White-Plains brought on a fit of the rheumatism, which has detained me here, but I am now in a fair way to get rid of it.

This State consists of but fourteen Counties. The enemy have five Counties, and part of two others. If they get possession of these, they will get a representation of the majority of the State, and make a surrender of our rights. It is therefore of the utmost importance that they should be prevented of that advantage, which they will not fail to avail themselves of, if some exertion is not made by you. The southernmost part of this County is ravaged by the enemy, plundering the friends of the country of their property, and disarming them, at Orange-Town. Some of them are flying to the country, others flying for that protection to the enemy which we do not afford them. If some speedy relief is not afforded them, I fear they will all, or the greatest part of them, submit to the enemy; and if this event takes place, they will greatly aid the enemy in crossing the mountains, to show the sincerity of their submission. The securing these passes will be greatly assisted by advanced posts; and whatever corps are there, can easily retire to the last stand. For these reasons, as well as for the honour of the State, it is absolutely necessary that three or four hundred men should be posted at Orange-Town. General Lee cannot at present give any protection to that part of the country, because he is ordered to advance as far as Morris-town, if not to join General Washington. It was with great reluctance he quitted West-Chester, as he saw the lower part of the County would be exposed to the enemy, from which they can derive great support. I write this in haste, and must refer you for particulars to the bearer.

I have the honour to be, your very humble servant,


To the Honourable the President of the Convention, or the Chairman of the Committee of Safety of the State of New-York, at Fishkill.