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I cannot forbear confessing, that I am astonished and alarmed beyond measure, to find that all his Excellency's views have been hitherto frustrated, and that no single step of those I mentioned to you has been taken to afford him the aid he absolutely stands in need of, and by delaying which, the cause of America is put to the utmost conceivable hard.
I so fully explained to you the General's situation, that I could not entertain a doubt you would make it the first object of your attention to reenforce him with that speed the exigency of affairs demanded ; but, I am sorry to say, he will have too much reason to think other objects, in comparison with that insignificant, have been uppermost. I speak freely and emphatically, because I tremble at the consequences of the delay that has happened. General Clinton's reinforcement is probably by this time with Mr. Howe. This will give him a decisive superiority over our army. What may be the issue of such a state of things, I leave to the feelings of every friend to his country, capable of foreseeing consequences. My expressions may perhaps have more warmth than is altogether proper; but they proceed from the overflowing of my heart, in a matter where I conceive this Continent essentially interested. I wrote to you from Albany, and desired you would send a thousand Continental troops of those first proposed to be left with you. This, I understand, has not been done. How the noncompliance can be answered to General Washington, you can best determine.
I now, Sir, in the most explicit terms, by his Excellency's authority, give it as a positive order from him, that all the Continental troops under your command may be immediately marched to King's Ferry, there to cross the river, and hasten to reenforce the army under him.
The Massachusetts militia are to be detained instead of them, until the troops coming from the northward arrive. When they do, they will replace, as far as I am instructed, the troops you shall send away in consequence of this requisition. The General's idea of keeping troops this way does not extend farther than covering the country from any little irruptions of small parties, and carrying on the works necessary for the security of the river. As to attacking New York, that he thinks ought to be out of the question at present. If men could be spared from the other really necessary objects, he would have no objections to at tempting a diversion by way of New York, but nothing farther.
As the times of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire militia will soon expire, it will be proper to call in time for a reenforcement from Connecticut. Governor Clinton will do all in his power, to promote objects in which the State lie commands in i> so immediately concerned. Generals Glover's and Patterson's brigades are on their way down. The number of Continental troops necessary for this post will be furnished out of them.
I cannot but have the fullest confidence you will use your utmost exertions to execute the business of this letter ; and I am, with great respect, Sir,
Your most obedient,
- New Windsor
- 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