Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 4
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To THE COMMITTEE OF SAFETY OF NEW YORK New York, April 27, 1776.

    Gentn.: In answer to your favor of the 25th. delivered to me yesterday, I shall beg leave to inform you, that it was my design to have included the Militia of this City, in the 2000 or 2500 Men, which I thought might be wanted upon an emergency; but whether common prudence may not dictate the expediency, of extending your views to a greater number, in case of necessity is submitted to the wisdom of your board.

    The Signals which I intended should convey the first notice of the approach of an Enemys Fleet, you will find in the inclosed paper; but if you will please to appoint a Committee of your body, I will desire the Brigadiers, Sullivan, Greene and Lord Stirling, to meet them and adopt a better, if a better can be thought of. New Jersey is already advertized of these Signals. 63

[Note:The alarm posts for the New Jersey Militia, which were to assemble on signal fires on the mountains, are noted in No. 36, vol. 3, folio 117, of the Continental Army Returns, at one time a part of the Washington Papers, but now in the custody of the Adjutant General's Office, War Department, Washington, D. C. The signal points are given on folios 119 -- 123. The alarm posts and signals settled April 14 are given on folio 125.

   The signals were: "On the appearance of the Fleet, or their Boats moving towards Amboy, two flags, one above the other to be hoisted on the middle flag Staff, on the heights of Staten Island. On the appearance of the Fleet moving towards New York three flags, one above the other are to be hoisted on the same flag Staff. For the night two large heaps of Brush for the first; three large heaps of Brush for the second to be set on fire in such direction as to shew distinctly and separately."

   The alarm post changes made May 18 are found on folio 124.

   Generals Greene, Sullivan, and Stirling recommended the same flag and fire signals on the highlands of the Navesink, which were to be repeated from the Staten Island station. They recommended "large Ensigns with broad stripes of red and white" and that the country militia turn out on the signals. ]

    If the four Battallions which were directed to be raised under the Command of the Colonels McDougall, Clinton, Ritzema


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and Wynkoop, are placed under the immediate care of the Committee of Safety, for this Colony by Congress; I should be glad to know, how far it is conceived that my power over them extend or whether I have any at all. Sure I am that they cannot be subjected to the direction of both, and I shall have no small reluctance in assuming an authority I am not vested with powers to execute; nor will my solicitude (further than as a well wisher to the Cause), on account of Arms for, and returns of these Regiments continue, if they are not considered, as within the line of my Command; It becomes therefore my Indispensable duty to be assertained of this Matter, and to know whether these Regiments cannot be ordered out of the Colony; for Instance to New Jersey if necessity should require it.

    It would give me singular pleasure to advance you the Sum asked for, but the low state of our Cash and heavy demands upon the pay Master, renders it altogether impracticable at this time. The Quarter Master and Commissary are both wanting Money and cannot be supplied, nor can Genl. Ward get what he has sent for, to pay the five Regiments to the Eastward, till a fresh supply arrives, of which Congress is informed. Genl. Heath since my arrival here, has obtained a Warrant upon the pay Master for Money to replace the Sum which your Committee kindly lent him; and to the best of my recollection, Genl. Thompson told me, that he also meant to do the same. these Matters shall be enquired into. With great respect I remain Gentn. etc.