Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL MERCER. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. IV (1776)
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TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL MERCER. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. IV (1776) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. IV (1776).
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TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL MERCER.
Heights of Haerlem, 26 September, 1776.
If the troops at this post can be prevailed upon to defend it as they should do, it must cost General Howe a great many men to carry it, if he succeeds at all. If this should happen to be his opinion, there is scarce a doubt that he will turn his thoughts another way, as inactivity is not to be expected from him. Whither his operations may be directed is uncertain; perhaps an irruption into the Jerseys. Possibly he may bend his course towards Philadelphia, (for I conceive that two thousand men, with the assistance of their shipping, will effectually preserve New York against our whole strength,) or, what in my judgment is exceedingly probable, knowing that the troops are drawn off from the southern colonies, he may detach a part of the army to the southward for a winter’s campaign, as was recommended to him last fall by Lord Dunmore.
In either of these cases, it behoves us to keep the best look-out, and to obtain the earliest intelligence possible of the enemy’s motions; and, as it is now the current opinion, that the shipping are greatly thinned, I earnestly recommend to you the necessity of having sensible and judicious persons in different places to observe the movements of the shipping, among others at the Neversinks; for if they should send out a fleet without our giving notice of it to Congress, we shall be thought exceedingly remiss. In short, I entreat you to exert your best endeavors to obtain all the useful intelligence you possibly can of the enemy’s motions by sea and land. In doing this, money may be required, and do not spare it. Communicate every thing of importance to me with despatch; and be assured, that I am, &c.1
[1 ]“On the 23d Gen. Howe left this garrison 4,000 strong under the command of Gen. Robinson, and made a feint as if he intended attacking the rebels at King’s Bridge with the main body of the army; previous measures had been taken to embark two squadrons, which was so privately done, that even the troops who were immediately engaged knew not their destination till they were landed at Perth Amboy, which they took without opposition, together with 500 prisoners.”—Letter from New York, 26 September, 1776.