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I have been detained here these two days by a fever, and violent rheumatic pains throughout my body. This has prevented my being active in person for promoting the purposes of my errand; but I have taken every other method in my power, in which Governor Clinton has obligingly given me all the aid he could. In answer to my pressing application to General Poor, for the immediate marching of his brigade, I was told they were under an operation for the itch, which made it impossible for them to proceed till the effects of it were over. By a letter, however, of yesterday, General Poor informed me he would certainly march this morning. I must do him the justice to say, he appears solicitous to join you ; and that I believe the past delay is not owing to any fault of his, but is wholly chargeable on General Putnam. Indeed, Sir, I owe it to the service to say, that every part of this gentleman's conduct is marked with blunders and negligence, and gives general disgnst. Parsons's brigade will join you, I hope, in five or six days from this. Learned's may do the same. Poor's will, I am persuaded, make all the haste they can for the future ; and Glover's may be expected at Fishkill to-night, whence they will be pushed forward, as fast as I can have any influence to make them go. But, I am sorry to say, the disposition for marching, in the officers and men in general, of these troops, does not keep pace with my wishes, or the exigency of the occasion. They have Unfortunately imbibed an idea that they have done their part of the business of the campaign, and are now entitled to repose. This, and the want of pay, make them averse to a long march at this advanced season.
A letter from you to General Putnam, of the 9th, fell just now into my hands. As it might possibly contain something useful to me, I took the liberty of opening it, and, after reading it, immediately des patched it to him. If he has paid any attention to my last letters to him, things will be in a right train for executing the order in yours ; but whether he has or not, is a matter of doubt. In a letter from him, just now received by Governor Clinton, he appears to have been, on the 10th instant, at King Street, at the White Plains. I have had no answer to my last applications.
The enemy appear to have stripped New York very bare. The people there (that is, the Tories) are in a very great fright. This adds to my anxiety that the reinforcements from this quarter to you are not in greater forwardness and more considerable.
I have written to General Gates, informing him of the accounts of the situation of New York with respect to troops, and the probability of the force gone to Howe being greater than was at first expected, to try if this will not extort from him a further reenforcement. I do not, however, expect much from him, as he pretends to have in view an expedition against Ticonderoga, to be undertaken in the winter; and he knows that, under the sanction of this idea, calculated to catch the Eastern people, he may, with out censure, retain the troops. And as I shall be under a necessity of speaking plainly to your Excellency when I have the pleasure of seeing you, I shall not hesitate to say, I doubt whether you would have had a man from the Northern army if the whole could have been kept at Albany with any decency. Perhaps you will think me blainable in not having exercised the powers you gave me, and givena positive order. Perhaps I have been so ; but, deliberately weighing all circumstances, I did not, and do not, think it advisable to do it, I have the honor to be, with unfeigned esteem and regard,
Your Excellency's most obedient servant,
- Correspondence of the American Revolution; Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Volume II., Jared Sparks, 1853