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Thomas Palmer to Philip Livingston



Newburgh, January 28, 1776.

SIR: I cannot account for the conduct of our Committee of Safety with respect to the fortification to be erected at Pooploop' s Point, in the Highlands. It was seven days after my return from Philadelphia before any letter was sent to the Commissioners; and when they received it, it contained only the resolve of the Continental Congress, without any instructions accompanying it. The Commissioner then at the post not judging proper to proceed, sent off a person express to the Committee for instructions. This express returned but yesterday, and (as I am informed) the instructions now are, to finish a piece of work now begun at Martelaer' s Point, which, I suppose, will take up near a month. Whether the Committee of Safety has received any further advice from the Continental Congress which may justify their conduct, I know not. If they have not, I think their conduct most unaccountable. The season of the year is no argument why they cannot proceed, as there is now lying at New-Windsor the timber and other materials for a barrack; the boards already dressed, those for the floors grooved, and the shingles prepared for the roof. Besides, a more favourable season than the present cannot be, at this season of the year, for transporting the same down to Pooploop' s Point, as the river is now so froze, that sleighs go frequently on the ice with great safety, and teams may easily be collected to carry it down in one day to the spot. And the carpenters can have lodgings in the neighbourhood of Pooploop' s Point, while they may be putting this barrack up, which can be done in a very short time, and, when finished, will be a sufficient cover for one hundred and sixty men, (or more, if necessary.) And should the present opportunity be neglected until the river begins to break up, another chance may not happen until the middle of March or the first of April, and, by that means, all work at this important post must be neglected, until such a season as that we may be daily exposed to the enemy, with no other place of defence than that at Martelaer' s Point, which I think nothing of, even with the little addition they are now erecting, for, when that is done, not a single gun can command the reach of the river. Moreover, if this barrack were carried down and covered, the season would not prevent throwing up the battery at Martelaer' s Point; and a better season cannot be than the present, to collect, from the country back, such


timber as may be necessary for carrying on the work. Another most material article, and that is, two and a half inch plank, for the platform of the fortification, which ought now to be engaged at the mills, to be ready early in the Spring.

If, therefore, a fortification at Pooploop' s Point is of real importance for the security of part of this and the other Provinces, it ought by no means to be delayed, especially when there is no kind of difficulty in prosecuting of it. I gave my Sentiments to the Committee before I left New-York, and have since mentioned it in the postscript of a letter to them on another occasion; and as nothing is yet done, and our time wasting, I thought proper to communicate my sentiments to you, and desire you will confer with Mr˙ Jay on the matter; and should you be of opinion with me, I think you ought to consult with Colonel McDougall, and some other principal gentlemen of the Provincial Congress now at New-York, that a matter of so much importance as this may happen to be, may not any longer be neglected.

I am, sir, with due respect, your most humble servant,


To Philip Livingston, Esq.