Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GOVERNOR LIVINGSTON. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VI (1777-1778)
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TO GOVERNOR LIVINGSTON. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VI (1777-1778) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VI (1777-1778).
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TO GOVERNOR LIVINGSTON.
Headquarters, 1 November, 1777.
I think it not only incumbent upon me but a duty which I owe the public to represent to you the unaccountable conduct of Brigr. Genl. Newcomb at this critical time. As soon as the enemy shewed a disposition to possess themselves of Billingsport and Red Bank, I wrote to him in the most urgent manner, to collect and keep up as many militia as he possibly could to assist in the defence of Red Bank in particular, till I could afford a proper Garrison of Continental Troops, and altho I recd, no very favorable accounts of his activity or exertions I imagined that he had been doing something towards it—On the 26th ulto. Genl. Forman arrived at Red Bank with a few of his own Continental Regt. and some of the mounted militia and wrote me as follows “The lower militia and a Genl. Newcomb have not as yet produced a single man. As being elder in command than Newcomb I take the liberty this day to issue orders for their immediate assembling, and will from time to time do every thing in my power to assemble them.” On the 29th he writes me again “previous to the Rect. of yours of the 27th, I had given orders to several of the militia officers of this part of the Country to assemble their men and have used my endeavors with General Newcomb to obtain a return of the men it is said he has assembled, that they might be put in some duty either in the Garrison or on some out Guards, but the General absolutely refuses to render me any account of himself or his men, that I am not able to inform your Excell’y whether he really has or has not any men assembled.” In another paragraph of the same letter he says “Yet I think I could be able to collect a respectable Body of Militia was I able to overcome the obstincy of or to displace Genl. Newcomb. From the best information I can collect he has at no time given any assistance either to the Garrisons or the fleet particularly in the late attack upon Red Bank he neither harrassed the Enemy in their advance during the assault or in their Retreat. He thinks himself only accountable to the Gov. or Majr. Genl. Dickenson. I should be glad of your Excellc. directions respecting my treatment of him.”
I shall make no comments but leave it to the opinions of yourself and the Gentlemen of the legislature whether such a man is fit to command in a part of the State immediately the object of the Enemy’s attention and in which the most vigorous measures ought to be pursued. If you would only direct him to obey Genl. Forman as a Senior Officer, much good to the service would result from it.
I had been more than commonly pressing with Genl. Newcomb to assemble men at Red Bank, because I found by letters from Genl. Forman that scarce any part of the 2000 men ordered under his command to the reinforcement of this Army were from a variety of circumstances to be expected and therefore I should be able to afford less assistance of Continental Troops to that valuable post.
Col. Dayton will inform you of the reduction of the Regiments of your State in point of numbers and of the distress which they will labor under for want of necessaries unless some measures can be fallen upon for supplying them. These are matters which deserve your most serious consideration and which I recommend to your attention.
It is in vain to think of filling up your Regiments by the common mode of inlistment while the pernicious practice of hiring substitutes for the Militia prevails, for what man will engage to serve during the War for a Bounty of twenty dollars, where he can get twice as much for serving one month in the militia. Some of the Eastern States and Virginia have adopted the mode of drafting, and I am told it succeeds, and was the practice universal the people would not think it a hardship. I do not mention this by way of dictating to or directing you; I only do it to shew what has been found to answer the end in other States. I am confident that could we ever be happy enough to fill the Continental Regt. we should never have occasion to trouble the Militia again.
Circumscribed as we are in our importations from abroad, the Cloathier General finds it impossible to comply with the full demands of the whole Army. It therefore becomes incumbent upon the different States to endeavor to procure the most material articles of Blankets, shoes and Stockings, at this inclement season, and I am convinced if assessments of these things were laid upon those only who do not perform military service, enough might be found to make the troops comfortable. I have repeatedly sent out Officers to make Collections, but they either do it partially or neglect it wholly; I must therefore entreat you to lay this matter before your legislature as early as possible, and press them to make provision in such way as seems to them most likely to answer the end. I have, &c.1
[1 ]“I am favored with yours of the 27th ulto. and am glad to find that the enemy have fallen entirely down to New York. By their doing this, and sending away a reinforcement to General Howe, it is evident that they have done with all thoughts of attempting any thing further to the Northward. Having lost one army, it is certainly their interest and intention to make the other as respectable as possible, and as their force is now nearly drawn together at one point, in Philadelphia, it is undoubtedly our plan to endeavor by an union of our forces to destroy General Howe.”—Washington to Putnam, 4 November, 1777. To keep as large a body of the British at New York as possible, Washington directed General Dickinson to make a feint in that direction.