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LORD STIRLING TO NEW-YORK COMMITTEE OF SAFETY.
New-York, March 18, 1776.
SIR: It is of the utmost importance to the safety of this city that all the artillery we are to rely on, be completed in every article. It was but lately that I could obtain a complete statement of all the artillery on this Island. It was then so near the adjournment of your Congress, that I did not care to introduce to it a matter so long in detail. I now enclose to you a return (No. 1) of the whole artillery, and the articles wanting to equip and complete them to one hundred rounds; by which you will observe, that all the cannon below six-pounders are in want of every article; and would take up more time than we can spare at present to complete them. I have, therefore, made out another return, (No. 2,) of all the cannon, down to six-pounders, inclusive, and those, if the work be properly distributed, may soon be equipped with every necessary; and I must request that the Committee of Safety will, as soon as possible, take measures to have all the necessaries provided. And you may be assured that I will lend every assistance in my power for forwarding the work.
As I have no copies of these returns, I should be glad to have them sent back when you have taken copies of them.
To the Chairman of the Committee of Safety, New-York.
LORD STIRLING TO PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
[Read March 23, 1776, and referred to Committee on Qualifications.]
New-York, March 18, 1776.
DEAR SIR: By the enclosed letter from Major De Hart, and the memorial from the officers of the First Regiment of New-Jersey Troops, you will see how exceedingly hurt that regiment is at the late promotion of Major Ogden to the Lieutenant-Colonelcy of it. They look upon it as an inroad on the rights of the regiments; and while officers behave well, those feelings are natural, and are of infinite use in stimulating officers to do their duty. The corps is the more hurt, as they are confident that they have officers among them who have seen as much service as Colonel Ogden, and are conscious they have not been wanting in their duty since they came into the service. I have not the least doubt that Congress will take the first opportunity of doing the regiment justice, by giving one or other of these gentlemen preferment in the first new corps.
The regiment has never yet been allowed the privilege of being clothed in uniform by the Commissary; and to be put under easy stoppages for it, as is done with the other regiments of New-Jersey and Pennsylvania, they have presented a memorial to me, requesting that this may be done; and I should be happy that Congress would order Commissary Lowrey to do it accordingly.
The Army at this place is entirely destitute of artillerymen or matrosses. Captain Badlam was detached here from the camp at Cambridge with General Lee, but brought no men with him. He has the chief direction here of all preparations in that department. He is a very prudent, discreet man, extremely attentive to his duty, and seems perfectly master of it. I believe it would be proper to give him the rank and pay of Major of Artillery. There is a company of about fifty men (artillery) raising here in the Provincial service. This is but a very small proportion of what there ought to be here. We ought to have a regiment of them of at least five hundred; but this I submit to Congress, and make no doubt they will make provision for so necessary a branch as that must be at this place.
I am, with the greatest esteem and regard, sir, your most
obedient, humble servant,
To the Honourable John Hancock.
New-York, March 14, 1776.
SIR: Yesterday I was informed of Lieutenant-Colonel Windss promotion to the command of our regiment, and Mr. Ogden, of Elizabethtown, preferred to be Lieutenant-Colonel. This last appointment, I confess, much surprises me; and leaves me in doubt whether I may consider it as a particular honour meant to be conferred on him, or a direct affront to me.
If it has been a rule in the Continental Army to promote inferiors directly over the head of superiors in rank, I shall silently acquiesce; but if, on the contrary, I am the first that has fallen under the predicament, I shall consider it in the last-mentioned light. Believe me, sir, I assure you before this promotion no wish ever entered my heart to advance to that station, while I could remain with honour in my present; more studious to qualify myself in that, than to seek further.
But when I consider that, on those principles, I am absolutely forced out of a services I was fond of, I confess it gives me pain, and would more so to deserve it. As I entered into this service with no sinister views, no private feelings shall induce me, in the hour of danger, to quit it. If I stand in the way of the more deserving, or if a satisfactory answer cannot be had to what I have before proposed, I shall beg leave of your Lordship to resign my commission to that honourable body from whom I received it; and, at the same time, to give you my reasons with it; determined, at the same time, in such case, to retire to the station of a private sentinel, and there remain till death or the end of this glorious contest shall release me from the service.
I am, sir, most respectfully, yours,
WILLIAM DE HART.
To His Excellency the Earl of Stirling.
New-York, March 14, 1776.
We, the Captains and Subalterns of the First New-Jersey Regiment of Continental Troops, being heartily engaged in defending the common cause of America, beg leave to claim a few moments attention of the honourable the Continental Congress, on a subject that gives us infinite pain.
As your honourable House has been pleased to appoint Mr. Ogden, of Elizabethtown, Lieutenant-Colonel in the place of Colonel Winds, promoted to the command of the regiment: we know nothing to the prejudice of that gentleman; neither do we question his merit; but he is put over the head of a superior in rank (who is justly entitled to the claim, and to whom we conceive no reasonable objection can be made) in such a manner as must reflect upon our feelings and characters, as gentlemen and officers, if we silently acquiesce in a matter that affects him and each one of us. It is not rank or commissions that we are asking for; but that ourselves and superiors may remain with honour in their stations, while they deserve it, and advance in that line in all other cases of such a nature followed.
We beg leave most humbly to remonstrate against an appointment of this nature, as we conceive ourselves, under the ties of honour and justice, bound to leave a service we are extremely fond of, and which we shall quit with the greatest reluctance. We would further entreat that this remonstrance may not be considered as the effect of rashness or disorder; but beg leave to assure your Honours that none employed in your service are more faithfully attached to the grand cause, and will ever remain so. This appointment, we are of opinion, would not have taken place were it not for misrepresentation.
Hear, gentlemen, we pray you, our complaints, and grant us redress; we will study to deserve it.