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Title: The Campaign of 1776 around New York and Brooklyn
Author: Johnston, Henry P.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Campaign of 1776 around New York and Brooklyn" ***

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[Transcriber's Note: In quoted passages and in the documents in Part
II of this e-book, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, hyphenation,
and abbreviations have been retained as they appear in the original.
In the remainder of the text, obvious printer errors have been
corrected, but archaic spellings (e.g., "reconnoissance" for
"reconnaissance," "aid" for "aide") have been retained.

This book contains a few instances of the letters m and n with
macrons, indicating that the letter is to be doubled. The letter with
the macron is represented here in brackets with an equal sign. For
example, "co[=m]ittee" stands for "committee"; "ca[=n]on" stands for














16 and 18 Jacob Street,


Compiled by H.P. JOHNSTON.

Steel Engr. F. von Egloffstein, N.Y.]


The site now occupied by the two cities of New York and Brooklyn, and
over which they continue to spread, is pre-eminently "Revolutionary
soil." Very few of our historic places are more closely associated
with the actual scenes of that struggle. As at Boston in 1775, so here
in 1776, we had the war at our doors and all about us. In what is now
the heart of Brooklyn Revolutionary soldiers lay encamped for months,
and in the heat of a trying summer surrounded themselves with lines of
works. What have since been converted into spots of rare
beauty--Greenwood Cemetery and Prospect Park--became, with the ground
in their vicinity, a battle-field. New York, which was then taking its
place as the most flourishing city on the continent, was transformed
by the emergency into a fortified military base. Troops quartered in
Broad Street and along the North and East rivers, and on the line of
Grand Street permanent camps were established. Forts, redoubts,
batteries, and intrenchments encircled the town. The streets were
barricaded, the roads blocked, and efforts made to obstruct the
navigation of both rivers. Where we have stores and warehouses,
Washington fixed alarm and picket posts; and at points where costly
residences stand, men fought, died, and were buried. In 1776 the cause
had become general; soldiers gathered here from ten of the original
thirteen States, and the contest assumed serious proportions. It was
here around New York and Brooklyn that the War of the Revolution began
in earnest.

The record of what occurred in this vicinity at that interesting
period has much of it been preserved in our standard histories by
Gordon, Marshall, Irving, Hildreth, Lossing, Bancroft, Carrington, and
others. In the present volume it is given as a single connected
account, with many additional particulars which have but recently come
to light. This new material, gathered largely from the descendants of
officers and soldiers who participated in that campaign, is published
with other documents in Part II. of this work, and is presented as its
principal feature. What importance should be attached to it must be
left to the judgment of the reader.

The writer himself has made use of these documents in filling gaps and
correcting errors. Such documents, for example, as the orders issued
by Generals Greene and Sullivan on Long Island, with the original
letters of Generals Parsons, Scott, and other officers, go far towards
clearing up the hitherto doubtful points in regard to operations on
the Brooklyn side. There is not a little, also, that throws light on
the retreat to New York; while material of value has been unearthed
respecting events which terminated in the capture of the city by the
British. Considerable space has been devoted to the preparations made
by both sides for the campaign, but as the nature of those
preparations illustrates the very great importance attached to the
struggle that was to come, it may not appear disproportionate. The
narrative also is continued so as to include the closing incidents of
the year, without which it would hardly be complete, although they
take us beyond the limits of New York.

But for the cheerful and in many cases painstaking co-operation of
those who are in possession of the documents referred to, or who have
otherwise rendered assistance, the preparation of the work could not
have been possible. The writer finds himself especially under
obligations to Miss Harriet E. Henshaw, of Leicester, Mass.; Miss Mary
Little and Benjamin Hale, Esq., Newburyport; Charles J. Little, Esq.,
Cambridge; Mr. Francis S. Drake, Roxbury; Rev. Dr. I.N. Tarbox and
John J. Soren, Boston; Prof. George Washington Greene, East Greenwich,
R.I.; Hon. J.M. Addeman, Secretary of State of Rhode Island, and Rev.
Dr. Stone, Providence; Hon. Dwight Morris, Secretary of State of
Connecticut; Dr. P.W. Ellsworth and Captain John C. Kinney, Hartford;
Miss Mary L. Huntington, Norwich; Benjamin Douglas, Esq., Middletown;
Mr. Henry M. Selden, Haddam Neck; Hon. G.H. Hollister, Bridgeport;
Hon. Teunis G. Bergen, Mr. Henry E. Pierrepont, J. Carson Brevoort,
Esq., Rev. Dr. H.M. Scudder, and Mr. Gerrit H. Van Wagenen, Brooklyn;
Mr. Henry Onderdonk, Jr., Jamaica, L.I.; Frederick H. Wolcott, Esq.,
Astoria, L.I.; Hon. John Jay, Charles I. Bushnell, Esq., Miss Troup,
Mrs. Kernochan, Prof. and Mrs. O.P. Hubbard, Gen. Alex. S. Webb, Rev.
A.A. Reinke, New York City; Mr. William Kelby, New York Historical
Society; Prof. Asa Bird Gardner, West Point; Hon. W.S. Stryker,
Adjutant-General, Trenton, N.J.; Richard Randolph Parry, Esq., Hon.
Lewis A. Scott, and Mr. J. Jordan, Philadelphia; Hon. John B. Linn,
Harrisburg; Mrs. S.B. Rogers and Mr. D.M. Stauffler, Lancaster; Dr.
Dalrymple, Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore; Hon. Cæsar A.
Rodney, J.R. Walter, and W.S. Boyd, Wilmington, Del.; Oswald Tilghman,
Esq., Easton, Md.; Hon. Edward McPherson, Rev. Dr. John Chester, and
Lieutenant-Colonel T. Lincoln Casey, Washington; President Andrews and
Mr. Holden, Librarian, Marietta College; and Mr. Henry E. Parsons and
Edward Welles, Ashtabula, Ohio.

The cordial and constant encouragement extended by the Rev. Dr.
Richard S. Storrs, President of the Long Island Historical Society,
and the interest taken in the work by Hon. Henry C. Murphy, Benjamin
D. Silliman, Esq., and the Librarian, Mr. George Hannah, are
gratefully acknowledged.

NEW YORK CITY, June, 1878.





FORTIFYING NEW YORK AND BROOKLYN                                   35

THE TWO ARMIES                                                    105

THE BATTLE OF LONG ISLAND                                         139

RETREAT TO NEW YORK                                               207


WHITE PLAINS--FORT WASHINGTON                                     263

TRENTON--PRINCETON--CLOSE OF THE CAMPAIGN                         287



  No. 1. General Greene's Orders--Camp on Long Island               5

   "  2. General Sullivan's Orders--Camp on Long Island            27

   "  3. General Orders                                            30

   "  4. Washington to the Massachusetts Assembly                  32

   "  5. General Parsons to John Adams                             33

   "  6. General Scott to John Jay                                 36

   "  7. Colonel Joseph Trumbull to his Brother                    40

   "  8. Colonel Trumbull to his Father                            41

   "  9. Colonel Moses Little to his Son                           42

   " 10. Lieutenant-Colonel Henshaw to his Wife                    44

   " 11. Deposition by Lieutenant-Colonel Henshaw                  47

   " 12. Colonel Edward Hand to his Wife                           48

   " 13. Major Edward Burd to Judge Yeates                         48

   " 14. Lieutenant Jasper Ewing to Judge Yeates                   49

   " 15. John Ewing to Judge Yeates                                50

   " 16. Colonel Haslet to Cæsar Rodney                            51

   " 17. Colonel G.S. Silliman to his Wife                         52

   " 18. Colonel Silliman to Rev. Mr. Fish                         57

   " 19. Account of the Battle of Long Island                      58

   " 20. Journal of Colonel Samuel Miles                           60

   " 21. Lieutenant-Colonel John Brodhead to ----                  63

   " 22. Colonel William Douglas to his Wife                       66

   " 23. General Woodhull to the New York Convention               73

   " 24. General Washington to Abraham Yates                       74

   " 25. Colonel Hitchcock to Colonel Little                       75

   " 26. Major Tallmadge's Account of the Battles of Long Island
         and White Plains                                          77

   " 27. Account of Events by Private Martin                       81

   " 28. Captain Joshua Huntington to ----                         84

   " 29. Captain Tench Tilghman to his Father                      85

   " 30. Captain John Gooch to Thomas Fayerweather                 88

   " 31. Account of the Retreat from New York and Affair of
         Harlem Heights, by Colonel David Humphreys                89

   " 32. Testimony Respecting the Retreat from New York            92

   " 33. Major Baurmeister's Narrative                             95

   " 34. Colonel Chester to Joseph Webb                            98

   " 35. Colonel Glover to his Mother                              99

   " 36. General Greene to Colonel Knox                           100

   " 37. Diary of Rev. Mr. Shewkirk, Moravian Pastor, New York    101

   " 38. Major Fish to Richard Varick                             127

   " 39. Surgeon Eustis to Dr. Townsend                           129

   " 40. Captain Nathan Hale to his Brother                       131

   " 41. Extract from a Letter from New York                      132

   " 42. Extracts from the _London Chronicle_                     133

   " 43. Extract from the Memoirs of Colonel Rufus Putnam         136

   " 44. Scattering Orders by Generals Lee, Spencer, Greene,
         and Nixon                                                141

   " 45. General Lee to Colonel Chester                           145

   " 46. Captain Bradford's Account of the Capture of General
         Lee                                                      146

   " 47. General Oliver Wolcott to his Wife                       147

   " 48. Captain William Hull to Andrew Adams                     151

   " 49. Colonel Knox to his Wife                                 152

   " 50. Colonel Haslet to Cæsar Rodney                           156

   " 51. Journal of Captain Thomas Rodney                         158

   " 52. Position of the British at the Close of the Campaign     162

   " 53. Narrative of Lieutenant Jabez Fitch                      167

   " 54. Extract from the Journal of Lieutenant William
         McPherson                                                168

   " 55. Deposition of Private Foster                             169

   " 56. Letters from Captain Randolph, of New Jersey             170

   " 57. Extract from the Journal of Captain Morris               172

   " 58. British Prisoners Taken on Long Island                   174

   " 59. A Return of the Prisoners Taken in the Campaign          175

   " 60. List of American Officers Taken Prisoners at the
         Battle of Long Island                                    176

   " 61. List of American Non-Commissioned Officers and
         Soldiers Taken Prisoners, Killed, or Missing, at the
         Battle of Long Island                                    180

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES                                             187

THE MAPS                                                          193

THE PORTRAITS                                                     195

INDEX                                                             197

















"Our affairs are hastening fast to a crisis; and the approaching
campaign will, in all probability, determine forever the fate of

So wrote John Hancock, President of Congress, June 4th, 1776, to the
governors and conventions of the Eastern and Middle colonies, as, in
the name of that body, he reminded them of the gravity of the struggle
on which they had entered, and urged the necessity of increasing their
exertions for the common defence. That this was no undue alarm,
published for effect, but a well-grounded and urgent warning to the
country, is confirmed by the situation at the time and the whole train
of events that followed. The campaign of 1776 did indeed prove to be a
crisis, a turning-point, in the fortunes of the Revolution. It is not
investing it with an exaggerated importance, to claim that it was the
decisive period of the war; that, whatever anxieties and fears were
subsequently experienced, this was the year in which the greatest
dangers were encountered and passed. "Should the united colonies be
able to keep their ground this campaign," continued Hancock, "I am
under no apprehensions on account of any future one." "We expect a
very bloody summer in New York and Canada," wrote Washington to his
brother John Augustine, in May; and repeatedly, through the days of
preparation, he represented to his troops what vital interests were at
stake and how much was to depend upon their discipline and courage in
the field.

But let the significance of the campaign be measured by the record
itself, to which the following pages are devoted. It will be found to
have been the year in which Great Britain made her most strenuous
efforts to suppress the colonial revolt, and in which both sides
mustered the largest forces raised during the war; the year in which
the issues of the contest were clearly defined and America first
fought for independence; a year, for the most part, of defeats and
losses for the colonists, and when their faith and resolution were put
to the severest test; but a year, also, which ended with a broad ray
of hope, and whose hard experiences opened the road to final success.
It was the year from which we date our national existence. A period so
interesting and, in a certain sense, momentous is deserving of
illustration with every fact and detail that can be gathered.

       *       *       *       *       *

What was the occasion or necessity for this campaign; what the plans
and preparations made for it both by the mother country and the

The opening incidents of the Revolution, to which these questions
refer us, are a familiar chapter in its history. On the morning of the
19th of April, 1775, an expedition of British regulars, moving out
from Boston, came upon a company of provincials hastily forming on
Lexington Common, twelve miles distant. The attitude of these
countrymen represented the last step to which they had been driven by
the aggressive acts of the home Parliament. Up to this moment the
controversy over colonial rights and privileges had been confined,
from the days of the Stamp Act, to argument, protest, petition, and
legislative proceedings; but these failing to convince or conciliate
either party, it only remained for Great Britain to exercise her
authority in the case with force.

The expedition in question had been organized for the purpose of
seizing the military stores belonging to the Massachusetts Colony,
then collected at Concord, and which the king's authorities regarded
as too dangerous material to be in the hands of the people at that
stage of the crisis. The provincials, on the other hand, watched them
jealously. King and Parliament might question their rights, block up
their port, ruin their trade, proscribe their leaders, and they could
bear all without offering open resistance. But the attempt to deprive
them of the means of self-defence at a time when the current of
affairs clearly indicated that, sooner or later, they would be
compelled to defend themselves, was an act to which they would not
submit, as already they had shown on more than one occasion. To no
other right did the colonist cling more tenaciously at this juncture
than to his right to his powder. The men at Lexington, therefore, drew
up on their village grounds, not defiantly, but in obedience to the
most natural impulse. Their position was a logical one. To have
remained quietly in their homes would have been a stultification of
their whole record from the beginning of the troubles; stand they
must, some time and somewhere. Under the circumstances, a collision
between the king's troops and the provincials that morning was
inevitable. The commander of the former, charged with orders to
disperse all "rebels," made the sharp demand upon the Lexington
company instantly to lay down their arms. A moment's confusion and
delay--then scattering shots--then a full volley from the
regulars--and ten men fell dead and wounded upon the green. Here was a
shock, the ultimate consequences of which few of the participants in
the scene could have forecast; but it was the alarm-gun of the

Events followed rapidly. The march of the British to Concord, the
destruction of the stores, the skirmish at the bridge, and, later in
the day, the famous road-fight kept up by the farmers down to
Charlestown, ending in the signal demoralization and defeat of the
expedition, combined with the Lexington episode to make the 19th of
April an historic date. The rapid spread of the news, the excitement
in New England, the uprising of the militia and their hurried march to
Boston to resist any further excursions of the regulars, were the
immediate consequence of this collision.

Nor was the alarm confined to the Eastern colonies, then chiefly
affected. A courier delivered the news in New York three days later,
on Sunday noon, and the liberty party at once seized the public
military stores, and prevented vessels loaded with supplies for the
British in Boston from leaving port. Soon came fuller accounts of the
expedition and its rout. Expresses carried them southward, and their
course can be followed for nearly a thousand miles along the coast. On
the 23d and 24th they passed through Connecticut, where at Wallingford
the dispatches quaintly describe the turning out of the militiamen:
"The country beyond here are all gone." They reached New York at two
o'clock on the 25th, and Isaac Low countersigns. Relays taking them up
in New Jersey, report at Princeton on the 26th, at "3.30 A.M." They
are at Philadelphia at noon, and "forwarded at the same time." We
find them at New Castle, Delaware, at nine in the evening; at
Baltimore at ten on the following night; at Alexandria, Virginia, at
sunset on the 29th; at Williamsburg, May 2d; and at Edenton, North
Carolina, on the 4th, with directions to the next Committee of Safety:
"Disperse the material passages [of the accounts] through all your
parts." Down through the deep pine regions, stopping at Bath and
Newbern, ride the horsemen, reaching Wilmington at 4 P.M. on the 8th.
"Forward it by night and day," say the committee. At Brunswick at nine
the indorsement is entered: "Pray don't neglect a moment in
forwarding." At Georgetown, South Carolina, where the dispatches
arrive at 6.30 P.M. on the 10th, the committee address a note to their
Charleston brethren: "We send you by express a letter and newspapers
with momentous intelligence this instant arrived." The news reaching
Savannah, a party of citizens immediately took possession of the
government powder.

The wave of excitement which follows the signal of a coming struggle
was thus borne by its own force throughout the length of the colonies.
And from the coast the intelligence spread inland as far as settlers
had found their way. In distant Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, men
heard it, and began to organize and drill. At Charlotte, North
Carolina, they sounded the first note for independence. From many
points brave and sympathetic words were sent to the people of
Massachusetts Bay, and in all quarters people discussed the probable
effect of the startling turn matters had taken in that colony. The
likelihood of a general rupture with the mother country now came to be
seriously entertained.

Meanwhile the situation to the eastward assumed more and more a
military aspect. On the 10th of May occurred the surprise and
capture, by Ethan Allen and his party, of the important post of
Ticonderoga, where during the summer the provincials organized a force
to march upon and, if possible, secure the Canadas. The Continental
Congress at Philadelphia, after resolving that the issue had been
forced upon them by Great Britain, voted to prepare for self-defence.
They adopted the New England troops, gathered around Boston, as a
Continental force, and appointed Washington to the chief command. Then
on the 17th of June Bunker Hill was fought, that first regular action
of the war, with its far-reaching moral effect; and following it came
the siege of Boston, or the hemming in of the British by the
Americans, until the former were finally compelled to evacuate the

       *       *       *       *       *

It is here in these culminating events of the spring and summer of
1775 that we find the occasion for the preparations made by Great
Britain for the campaign of 1776. Little appreciating the genius of
the colonists, underrating their resources and capacity for
resistance, mistaking also their motives, King George and his party
imagined that on the first display of England's power all disturbance
and attempts at rebellion across the sea would instantly cease. But
the sudden transition from peace to war, and the complete mastery of
the situation which the colonists appeared to hold, convinced the home
government that "the American business" was no trifling trouble, to be
readily settled by a few British regiments. As the season advanced,
they began to realize the fact that General Gage, and then Howe
succeeding him, with their force of ten thousand choice troops, were
helplessly pent up in Boston; that Montreal and Quebec were
threatened; that colonists in the undisturbed sections were arming;
and that Congress was supplanting the authority of Parliament. A more
rigorous treatment of the revolt had become necessary; and as the time
had passed to effect any thing on a grand scale during the present
year, measures were proposed to crush all opposition in the next
campaign. Follow, briefly, the course of the British Government at
this crisis.

Parliament convened on the 26th day of October. The king's speech,
with which it opened, was necessarily devoted to the American
question, and it declared his policy clearly and boldly. His
rebellious subjects must be brought to terms. "They have raised
troops," he said, "and are collecting a naval force; they have seized
the public revenue, and assumed to themselves legislative, executive,
and judicial powers, which they already exercise, in the most
arbitrary manner, over the persons and properties of their fellow
subjects: and although many of these unhappy people may still retain
their loyalty, and may be too wise not to see the fatal consequence of
this usurpation and wish to resist it, yet the torrent of violence has
been strong enough to compel their acquiescence, till a sufficient
force shall appear to support them. The authors and promoters of this
desperate conspiracy have, in the conduct of it, derived great
advantage from the difference of our intentions and theirs. They meant
only to amuse by vague expressions of attachment to the parent state,
and the strongest protestations of loyalty to me, whilst they were
preparing for a general revolt. On our part, though it was declared in
your last session that a rebellion existed within the province of the
Massachusetts' Bay, yet even that province we wished rather to reclaim
than to subdue.... The rebellious war now levied is become more
general, and is manifestly carried on for the purpose of establishing
an independent empire. I need not dwell upon the fatal effects of the
success of such a plan.... It is now become the part of wisdom, and
(in its effects) of clemency, to put a speedy end to these disorders,
by the most decisive exertions. For this purpose, I have increased my
naval establishment, and greatly augmented my land forces, but in such
a manner as may be the least burthensome to my kingdoms. I have also
the satisfaction to inform you, that I have received the most friendly
offers of foreign assistance, and if I shall make any treaties in
consequence thereof, they shall be laid before you."

A stranger in Parliament, knowing nothing of the merits of the
controversy, would have assumed from the tone of this speech that the
home government had been grossly wronged by the American colonists, or
at least a powerful faction among them, and that their suppression was
a matter of national honor as well as necessity. But the speech was
inexcusably unjust to the colonists. The charge of design and
double-dealing could not be laid against them, for the ground of their
grievances had been the same from the outset, and their conduct
consistent with single motives; and if independence had been mentioned
at all as yet, it was only as an ulterior resort, and not as an aim or
ambition. The king and the Ministry, on the other hand, were wedded to
strict notions of authority in the central government, and measured a
citizen's fidelity by the readiness with which he submitted to its
policy and legislation. Protests and discussion about "charters" and
"liberties" were distasteful to them, and whoever disputed Parliament
in any case was denounced as strong-headed and factious. The king's
speech, therefore, was no more than what was expected from him. It
reflected the sentiments of the ruling party.

As usual, motions were made in both houses that an humble address in
reply be presented to his Majesty, professing loyalty to his person,
and supporting his views and measures. The mover in the Commons was
Thomas Ackland, who, in the course of his speech at the time, strongly
urged the policy of coercion, and emphasized his approval of it by
declaring that it would have been better for his country that America
had never been known than that "a great consolidated western empire"
should exist independent of Britain. Lyttleton, who seconded the
motion, was equally uncompromising. He objected to making the
Americans any further conciliatory offers, and insisted that they
ought to be conquered first before mercy was shown them.

The issue thus fairly stated by and for the government immediately
roused the old opposition, that "ardent and powerful opposition," as
Gibbon, who sat in the Commons, describes it; and again the House
echoed to attack and invective. Burke, Fox, Conway, Barré, Dunning,
and others, who on former occasions had cheered America with their
stout defence of her rights, were present at this session to resist
any further attempt to impair them. Of the leading spirits, Chatham,
now disabled from public service, alone was absent.

Lord John Cavendish led the way on this side, by moving a substitute
for Ackland's address which breathed a more moderate spirit, and in
effect suggested to his Majesty that the House review the whole of the
late proceedings in the colonies, and apply, in its own way, the most
effectual means of restoring order and confidence there. Of course
this meant concession to America, and it became the signal for the
opening of an impassioned debate. Wilkes, Lord Mayor of London, poured
out a torrent of remonstrances against the conduct of the Ministry,
who had precipitated the nation into "an unjust, ruinous, felonious,
and murderous war." Sir Adam Fergusson, speaking less vehemently and
with more show of sense, defended the government. Whatever causes may
have brought on the troubles, the present concern with him was how to
treat them as they then existed. There was but one choice, in his
estimation--either to support the authority of Great Britain with
vigor, or abandon America altogether. And who, he asked, would be bold
enough to advise abandonment? The employment of force, therefore, was
the only alternative; and, said the speaker, prudence and humanity
required that the army sent out should be such a one as would carry
its point and override opposition in every quarter--not merely beat
the colonists, but "deprive them of all idea of resistance." Gov.
Johnstone, rising in reply, reviewed the old questions at length, and
in the course of his speech took occasion to eulogize the bravery of
the provincials at Bunker Hill. It was this engagement, more than any
incident of the war thus far, that had shown the determination of the
"rebels" to fight for their rights; and their friends in Parliament
presented it as a foretaste of what was to come, if England persisted
in extreme measures. Johnstone besought the House not to wreak its
vengeance upon such men as fought that day; for their courage was
deserving, rather, of admiration, and their conduct of forgiveness.
Honorable Temple Lutrell followed with an attack upon the "evil
counsellors who had so long poisoned the ear of the Sovereign."
Conway, who on this occasion spoke with his old fire, and held the
close attention of the House, called for more information as to the
condition of affairs in the colonies, and at the same time rejected
the idea of reducing them to submission by force. Barré entered
minutely into the particulars and results of the campaign since the
19th of April, as being little to England's credit, and urged the
Ministry to embrace the present opportunity for an accommodation with
America, or that whole country would be lost to them forever. Burke,
in the same vein, represented the impolicy of carrying on the war, and
advised the government to meet the colonists with a friendly
countenance, and no longer allow Great Britain to appear like "a
porcupine, armed all over with acts of Parliament oppressive to trade
and America." Fox spoke of Lord North as "a blundering pilot," who had
brought the nation into its present dilemma. Neither Lord Chatham nor
the King of Prussia, not even Alexander the Great, he declared, ever
gained more in one campaign than the noble lord had lost--he had lost
an entire continent. While not justifying all the proceedings of the
colonists, he called upon the Administration to place America where
she stood in 1763, and to repeal every act passed since that time
which affected either her freedom or her commerce. Wedderburne and
Dunning, the ablest lawyers in the House, took opposite sides. The
former, as Solicitor-General, threw the weight of his opinion in favor
of rigorous measures, and hoped that an army of not less than sixty
thousand men would be sent to enforce Parliamentary authority.
Dunning, his predecessor in office, questioned the legality of the
king's preparations for war without the previous consent of the
Commons. Then, later in the debate, rose Lord North, the principal
figure in the Ministry, and whom the Opposition held mainly
responsible for the colonial troubles, and defended both himself and
the king's address. Speaking forcibly and to the point, he informed
the House that, in a word, the measures intended by the government
were to send a powerful sea and land armament against the colonists,
and at the same time to proffer terms of mercy upon a proper
submission. "This," said the Minister, "will show we are in earnest,
that we are prepared to punish, but are nevertheless ready to
forgive; and this is, in my opinion, the most likely means of
producing an honorable reconciliation."

But all the eloquence, reasoning and appeal of the Opposition failed
to have any more influence now than in the earlier stages of the
controversy, and it again found itself in a hopeless minority. Upon a
division of the House, the king was supported by a vote of 278 to 110.
The address presented to him closed with the words: "We hope and trust
that we shall, by the blessing of God, put such strength and force
into your Majesty's hands, as may soon defeat and suppress this
rebellion, and enable your Majesty to accomplish your gracious wish of
re-establishing order, tranquillity, and happiness through all parts
of your United Empire." In the House of Lords, where Camden,
Shelburne, Rockingham, and their compeers stood between America and
the Ministry, the address was adopted by a vote of 69 to 33.[1]

[Footnote 1: Outside of Parliament, all shades of opinion found
expression through the papers, pamphlets, and private correspondence.
Hume, the historian, wrote, October 27th, 1775: "I am an American in
my principles, and wish we could let them alone, to govern or
misgovern themselves as they think proper. The affair is of no
consequence, or of little consequence to us." But he wanted those
"insolent rascals in London and Middlesex" punished for inciting
opposition at home. This would be more to the point than "mauling the
poor infatuated Americans in the other hemisphere." William Strahan,
the eminent printer, replied to Hume: "I differ from you _toto
coelo_ with regard to America. I am entirely for coercive methods
with those obstinate madmen." Dr. Robertson, author of _The History of
America_, wrote: "If our leaders do not exert the power of the British
Empire in its full force, the struggle will be long, dubious, and
disgraceful. We are past the hour of lenitives and half exertions."
Early in 1776, Dr. Richard Price, the Dissenting preacher, issued his
famous pamphlet on the _Nature of Civil Liberty, the Principles of
Government, and the Justice and Policy of the War_, which had a great
run. Taking sides with the colonists, he said: "It is madness to
resolve to butcher them. Freemen are not to be governed by force, or
dragooned into compliance. If capable of bearing to be so treated, it
is a disgrace to be connected with them."]

This powerful endorsement of the king's policy by Parliament, however,
cannot be taken as representing the sense of the nation at large. It
may be questioned whether even a bare majority of the English people
were ready to go to the lengths proposed in his Majesty's address. The
Ministry, it is true, pointed to the numerous ratifying "addresses"
that flowed in, pledging the support of towns and cities for the
prosecution of the war. Some were sent from unexpected quarters. To
the surprise of both sides and the particular satisfaction of the
king, both Manchester and Sheffield, places supposed to be American in
sentiment, came forward with resolutions of confidence and approval;
and in ministerial circles it was made to appear that substantially
all England was for coercion. But this claim was unfounded. As the
king predicted, the loyal addresses provoked opposition addresses.
Edinburgh and Glasgow, despite the efforts of their members, refused
to address. Lynn was said to have addressed, but its members denied
the assertion, and claimed that the war was unpopular in that town.
The paper from Great Yarmouth was very thinly signed, while Bristol,
Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Dudley, and
other places sent in counter-petitions against the war. The justices
of Middlesex unanimously voted that it was expedient to reduce the
colonies to a proper sense of their duty; but at a meeting of the
freeholders of the same county, held at Mile-end, to instruct their
members in Parliament, little unanimity prevailed, "much clamor
arose," a protest was entered against the proposed resolutions, and
only one of the sheriffs consented to sign them all. London, as the
country well knew, sympathized largely with America, but in a manner
which nullified her influence elsewhere. Her populace was noisy and
threatening; Wilkes, her Lord Mayor, was hated at court; her solid men
kept to business. "Are the London merchants," wrote the king to Lord
North,[2] "so thoroughly absorbed in their private interests not to
feel what they owe to the constitution which has enriched them, that
they do not either show their willingness to support, either by an
address, or, what I should like better, a subscription, to furnish
many comforts to the army in America?" An address from this quarter,
signed by "respectable names," he thought might have a good effect,
and one was presented on October 11th, with 941 signatures; but it was
entirely neutralized by the presentation, three days before, of
another address more numerously signed by "gentlemen, merchants, and
traders of London," in which the measures of government were
condemned. When the point was made in the Commons that the war was a
popular measure in England, Lutrell promptly replied that he had made
many a journey through the interior of the country during the summer
season, and had conversed with "a multitude of persons widely
different in station and description," only to find that the masses
were in sympathy with the colonists. The division of sentiment was
probably correctly represented by Lord Camden early in the year, in
his observation that the landed interest was almost wholly
anti-American, while the merchants, tradesmen, and the common people
were generally opposed to a war.[3]

[Footnote 2: "Correspondence with Lord North." Donne.]

[Footnote 3: Upon this point Dr. Price said: "Let it be granted,
_though probably far from true_, that the _majority_ of the kingdom
favor the present measures. No good argument could be drawn from
thence against receding."]

Having voted to push the war in earnest, Parliament proceeded to
supply the sinews. On November 3d, Lord Barrington brought in the army
estimates for 1776. Fifty-five thousand men, he reported, was the
force necessary and intended to be raised for the purposes of the
nation, the ordinary expense of maintaining which would be something
over £1,300,000. Of these troops, twenty thousand would be retained
to garrison Great Britain, ten thousand for the West Indies,
Gibraltar, Minorca and the coast of Africa, while the actual force
destined for America was to be increased to thirty-four battalions,
each of 811 men, including two regiments of light horse, amounting, in
the aggregate, to upwards of twenty-five thousand men. Barrington, at
the same time, frankly acknowledged to the House that these figures
showed well only on paper, as none of the regiments for America were
complete, and, what was a still more unwelcome admission, that great
difficulty was experienced in enlisting new recruits. Nothing, he
said, had been left untried to secure them. The bounty had been raised
and the standard lowered, and yet men were not forthcoming.
Anticipating this dearth, he had warned the king of it as early as
July, when the latter first determined to increase the army. "I wish,
sir, most cordially," wrote this faithful secretary, "that the force
intended for North America may be raised in time to be sent thither
next spring; but I not only fear, but am confident, the proposed
augmentation cannot possibly be raised, and ought not to be depended

Barrington was compelled to give an explanation of this state of
things, for the point had been made in and out of Parliament that few
recruits could be had in England, because the particular service was
odious to the people in general. For the government to admit this
would have been clearly fatal; and Barrington argued, per contra, that
the scarcity of soldiers was to be traced to other and concurrent
causes. The great influx of real and nominal wealth of recent years,
the consequent luxury of the times, the very flourishing state of
commerce and the manufactures, and the increased employment thus
furnished to the lower classes, all contributed to keep men out of the
army. Above all, it was represented that the true and natural cause
was an actual lack of men, which was due chiefly to the late increase
of the militia, who could not be called upon to serve except in
extreme cases, and who were not available for the regular force.
Barrington, a veteran in official service, true to the king, and
justifying the war--though not at all clear as to the right of taxing
the colonies--no doubt expressed his honest convictions in making this
explanatory speech to the House. There was much, also, that was true
in his words; but, whatever the absolute cause, the fact did not then,
and cannot now escape notice, that in preparing to uphold the
authority of Parliament, and preserve the integrity of her empire in
America, Great Britain, in 1775, found it impossible to induce a
sufficient number of her own subjects to take up arms in her behalf.

It remained, accordingly, to seek foreign aid. Europe must furnish
England with troops, or the war must stop. The custom of employing
mercenaries was ancient, and universally exercised on the Continent.
Great Britain herself had frequently taken foreign battalions into her
pay, but these were to fight a foreign enemy. It would be a thing new
in her history to engage them to suppress fellow-Englishmen. But the
king regarded war as war, and rebellion a heinous offence; and the
character of the troops serving for him in this case became a
secondary matter. A more serious question was where to get them. No
assistance could be expected from France. Holland declined to lend
troops to conquer men who were standing out for their rights on their
own soil. In Prussia, Frederick the Great expressed the opinion that
it was at least problematical whether America could be conquered, it
being difficult to govern men by force at such a distance. "If you
intend conciliation," he said in conversation to a party of
Englishmen, "some of your measures are too rough; and if subjection,
too gentle. In short, I do not understand these matters; I have no
colonies. I hope you will extricate yourselves advantageously, but I
own the affair seems rather perplexing."[4]

[Footnote 4: "A View of Society and Manners in France, Switzerland,
and Germany." By John Moore, M.D. Lond., 1786. Vol. V., Letter 75.]

Of all the European powers, Russia and the German principalities alone
presented a possible field of encouragement.[5] To the former, King
George looked first; for England's friendly attitude had been of the
greatest advantage to Russia in her campaigns against Turkey. The
king, therefore, at an early date, gave directions that Gunning, the
British Minister at Moscow, should approach the Empress Catherine on
the subject of lending aid; and, on the proper occasion, Gunning held
an interview with Panin, the Russian Prime Minister. Catherine
promptly returned what appeared to be a very favorable reply. To use
Gunning's own words communicating Russia's answer: "The empress had
ordered him (Panin) to give the strongest assurances, and to express
them in the strongest terms, of her entire readiness on this and all
other occasions to give his Majesty every assistance he could desire,
in whatever mode or manner he might think proper. She embraced with
satisfaction this occasion of testifying her gratitude to the king and
nation for the important services she had received in the late
war--favors she the more valued and should not forget as they were
spontaneously bestowed.... We were as fully entitled to every succor
from her as if the strongest treaties subsisted."[6]

[Footnote 5: Respecting sentiment in Europe on American affairs, the
English traveller Moore wrote as follows from Vienna in 1775: "Our
disputes with the colonies have been a prevailing topic of
conversation wherever we have been since we left England. The warmth
with which this subject is handled increases every day. At present the
inhabitants of the Continent seem as impatient as those of Great
Britain for news from the other side of the Atlantic; but with this
difference, that here they are all of one mind--all praying for
success to the Americans, and rejoicing in every piece of bad fortune
which happens to our army."--_Moore's View_, etc. Letter 96.]

[Footnote 6: "History of England from the Accession of George III. to
1783." By J. Adolphus. Vol. II., p. 326.]

Greatly elated by this unequivocal tender of aid, King George wrote to
the empress in his own hand, thanking her for the proffer; and Gunning
at the same time was instructed to ask for twenty thousand Russians,
and enter into a treaty formally engaging their services. If he could
not secure twenty thousand, he was to get all he could. But Gunning's
negotiations were to fail completely. To his surprise and chagrin,
when he opened the subject of hiring Russian troops, the empress and
Panin answered with dignity that it was impossible to accommodate him;
that Russia's relations with Sweden, Poland, and Turkey were
unsettled, and that it was beneath her station to interfere in a
domestic rebellion which no foreign Power had recognized. This sudden
change in Catherine's attitude, which without doubt was the result of
court intrigue,[7] filled the English king with mortification and
disappointment, and compelled him to seek assistance where he finally
obtained it--in the petty states of the "Hessian" princes.

[Footnote 7: Two views have been expressed in regard to this. The
English historian Adolphus charges Frederick of Prussia and secret
French agents with having changed Catherine's mind, and he gives
apparently good authority for the statement. The secret seems to have
been known in English circles very soon after Catherine's refusal. On
November 10th Shelburne said in the House of Lords: "There are Powers
in Europe who will not suffer such a body of Russians to be
transported to America. I speak from information. The Ministers know
what I mean. Some power has already interfered to stop the success of
the Russian negotiation." Mr. Bancroft, on the other hand, concludes
(Vol. V., Chap. L., Rev. Ed.) that "no foreign influence whatever, not
even that of the King of Prussia, had any share in determining the
empress;" and Vergennes is quoted as saying that he could not
reconcile Catherine's "elevation of soul with the dishonorable idea of
trafficking in the blood of her subjects." But since Catherine, four
years later, in 1779, proposed to offer to give England effective
assistance in America in order to be assured of her aid in return
against the Turks, it may be questioned how far "elevation of soul"
prompted the decision in 1775. (See Eaton's "Turkish Empire," p. 409.)
In view of England's relations with most of the Continental Powers at
that time, Shelburne and Adolphus have probably given the correct
explanation of the matter.]

Success in this direction compensated in part for the Russian failure.
What the British agent, Colonel Faucett, was able to accomplish, what
bargains were struck to obtain troops, how much levy money was to be
paid per man, and how much more if he never returned, is all a
notorious record. From the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, Faucett hired
twelve thousand infantry; from the Duke of Brunswick, three thousand
nine hundred and a small body of cavalry; and from the reigning Count
of Hanau, a corps six hundred and sixty strong. These constituted the
"foreign troops" which England sent to America with her own soldiers
for the campaign of 1776.

The plans for the campaign were laid out on a scale corresponding with
the preparations. When Sir William Howe was sent out to reinforce
General Gage at Boston, in the spring of 1775, it was assumed by the
Ministry that operations would be confined to that quarter, and that
if Massachusetts were once subdued there would be nothing to fear
elsewhere. But the continued siege of Boston changed the military
status. Howe was completely locked in, and could effect nothing. The
necessity of transferring the seat of war to a larger field became
apparent after Bunker Hill, and military plans were broached and
discussed in the Cabinet, in the army, and in Parliament. Lord
Barrington, who well knew that men enough could not be had from
England to conquer the colonies, advocated operations by sea. An
effective blockade of the entire American coast, depriving the
colonists of their trade, might, in his view, bring them to terms. Mr.
Innes, in the House, proposed securing a strong foothold in the south,
below the Delaware, and shutting up the northern ports with the fleet.
But the basis of the plan adopted appears to have been that suggested
by Burgoyne at Boston in the summer of 1775, and by Howe in January,
1776. "If the continent," wrote the former to Lord Rochfort, Secretary
of State for the Colonies, "is to be subdued by arms, his Majesty's
councils will find, I am persuaded, the proper expedients; but I speak
confidently as a soldier, because I speak the sentiments of those who
know America best, that you can have no prospect of bringing the war
to a speedy conclusion with any force that Great Britain and Ireland
can supply. A large army of foreign troops such as might be hired, to
begin their operations up the Hudson River; another army, composed
partly of old disciplined troops and partly of Canadians, to act from
Canada; a large levy of Indians, and a supply of arms for the blacks
to awe the southern provinces, conjointly with detachments of
regulars; and a numerous fleet to sweep the whole coast, might
possibly do the business in one campaign."[8] To Lord Dartmouth, Howe
represented that with an army of twenty thousand men, twelve thousand
of whom should hold New York, six thousand land on Rhode Island, and
two thousand protect Halifax, with a separate force at Quebec,
offensive operations could be pushed so as to put "a very different
aspect" on the situation by the close of another year.

[Footnote 8: _Fonblanque's Life of Burgoyne_, p. 152.]

The plan as finally arranged was a modification of these two views. It
was decided that Howe should occupy New York City with the main body
of the army, and secure that important base; while Carleton, with
Burgoyne as second in command, should move down from Canada to
Ticonderoga and Albany. By concert of action on the part of these
forces, New England could be effectually cut off from co-operation
with the lower colonies, and the unity of their movements broken up.
It was proposed at the same time to send an expedition under Lord
Cornwallis and Admiral Parker, to obtain a footing in Virginia or
either of the Carolinas, and encourage the loyal element in the South
to organize, and counteract the revolt in that quarter. By carrying
out this grand strategy, King George and his advisers confidently
expected to end all resistance in America at one blow.

Thus Great Britain, instead of attempting to recover her authority
over the colonists by a candid recognition of privileges which they
claimed as Englishmen, resolved in 1775 to enforce it. The government
went to war, with the nation's wealth and influence at its back, but
with only half its popular sympathies and moral support. Parliament
refused to listen to the appeals of its ablest members to try the
virtues of concession and conciliation. A heavy war budget was voted,
the Continent of Europe was ransacked for troops which could not be
enlisted in England, and every effort made to insure the complete
submission of the colonies in 1776.

       *       *       *       *       *

How America prepared to meet the coming storm is properly the subject
of the succeeding chapter of this work. But we find her in no position
in 1775 to assume the character of a public enemy towards the mother
country. She still claimed to be a petitioner to the king for the
redress of grievances. If she had taken up arms, it was simply in
self-defence, and these she was ready to lay down the moment her
rights were acknowledged. A revolution, involving separation from
England, was not thought of by the mass of the American people at this
time. The most they hoped for was, that by offering a stout resistance
to an enforcement of the ministerial policy they could eventually
compel a change in that policy, and enjoy all that they demanded under
the British constitution. Towards the close of the year, however, when
the intelligence came that the king had ignored the last petition from
Congress, and had proposed extreme war measures, the colonists felt
that serious work was before them. Independence now began to be more
generally discussed; Washington's troops were re-enlisted for service
through the following year, and Congress took further steps for the
common defence.

Future military operations were necessarily dependent on the plans to
be developed by the British. But as the siege of Boston progressed, it
became obvious that that point at least could not be made a base for
the ensuing campaign. No other was more likely to be selected by the
enemy than New York; and to New York the war finally came.

The topography of this new region, the transfer to it of the two
armies, and the preparations made for its defence by the Americans,
next claim attention.



New York City, in 1776, lay at the end of Manhattan Island, in shape
somewhat like an arrow-head, with its point turned towards the sea and
its barbs extended at uneven lengths along the East and Hudson rivers.
It occupied no more space than is now included within the five lower
and smallest of its twenty-four wards. Excepting a limited district
laid out on the east side, in part as far as Grand street, the entire
town stood below the line of the present Chambers street, and covered
an area less than one mile square. Then, as now, Broadway was its
principal thoroughfare. Shaded with rows of trees, and lined mainly
with residences, churches, and public-houses, it stretched something
more than a mile to the grounds of the old City Hospital, near Duane
street. Its starting-point was the Battery at the end of the island,
but not the Battery of to-day; for, under the system of "harbor
encroachments," the latter has more than trebled in size, and is
changed both in its shape and its uses. The city defences at that time
occupied the site. Here at the foot of Broadway old Fort George had
been erected upon the base of the older Fort Amsterdam, to guard the
entrance to the rivers, and with its outworks was the only protection
against an attack by sea. It was a square bastioned affair, with walls
of stone, each face eighty feet in length, and within it stood
magazines, barracks, and, until destroyed by fire, the mansion of the
colonial governors. For additional security, about the time of the
French war, an extensive stone battery, with merlons of cedar joists,
had been built just below the fort along the water's edge, enclosing
the point from river to river, and pierced for ninety-one pieces of

[Footnote 9: The site of Fort George is now covered in part by the
buildings at the west corner of the Bowling Green block, where the
steamship companies have their offices. South and west of this point
the Battery is almost entirely made-land. (Compare Ratzer's map of
1767 with the maps recently compiled by the New York Dock Department.)
As to other old defences of the city, Wm. Smith, the historian,
writing about 1766, says: "During the late war a line of palisadoes
was run from Hudson's to the East River, at the other end of the city
[near the line of Chambers street], with block-houses at small
distances. The greater part of these still remain as a monument of our
folly, which cost the province about £8000."]

At this period, the city represented a growth of one hundred and sixty
years. Give it a population of twenty-five thousand souls[10]--more
rather than less--and line its streets with four thousand buildings,
and we have its census statistics approximately. The linear
characteristics of the old town are still sharply preserved. Upon the
west side, the principal streets running to the North River--Chambers,
Warren, Murray, Barclay, Vesey, Dey, and Cortlandt--retain their names
and location; but the water-line was then marked by Greenwich street.
The present crowded section to the west of it, including Washington
and West streets and the docks, is built on new ground, made within
the century. Behind Trinity Church, and as far down as the Battery,
the shore rose to a very considerable bluff. Necessarily, much the
greater part of the city then lay east of Broadway. The irregular
streets to be found on this side are relics of both the Dutch and
English foundation; of their buildings, however, as they stood in
1776, scarcely one remains at the present time. New streets have been
built on the East River as well as on the North, materially changing
the water boundary of this part of the island. Front and South streets
had no existence at that date. On the line of Wall street, the city
has nearly doubled in width since the Revolution.

[Footnote 10: The last census before the Revolution was taken in 1771,
when the population of the city and county of New York was returned at
21,863. (Doc. Hist. of N.Y., Vol. I.) At the time of the war alarm, in
1775, this total must have risen to full 25,000. Philadelphia's
population was somewhat larger; Boston's, less.]

Before its contraction, and in view of its convenience and protection
from storms, the East River was the harbor proper of New York. Most of
the docks were on that side, and just above Catherine street lay the
ship-yards, where at times, in colonial days, an eight-hundred-ton
West Indiaman might be seen upon the stocks.

What is now the City Hall Park was called in 1776 "the Fields," or
"The Common." The site of the City Hall was occupied by the House of
Correction; the present Hall of Records was the town jail, and the
structure then on a line with them at the corner of Broadway was the
"Bridewell." The City Hall of that day stood in Wall street, on the
site of the present Custom-House, and King's, now Columbia, College in
the square bounded by Murray, Barclay, Church, and West Broadway.
Queen, now Pearl, was the principal business street; fashion was to be
found in the vicinity of the Battery, and Broad and Dock streets; the
Vauxhall Gardens were at the foot of Reade; and to pass out of town,
one would have to turn off Broadway into Chatham street, which
extended through Park Row, and keep on to the Bowery.

John Adams has left us a brief description of New York, as he saw it
when passing through to the first Congress at Philadelphia in 1774, in
company with Cushing, Paine, and Samuel Adams. His diary runs:

"_Saturday, Aug. 20._--Lodged at Cock's, at Kingsbridge, a pretty
place.... Breakfasted at Day's [127th street], and arrived in the city
of New York at ten o'clock, at Hull's, a tavern, the sign the Bunch of
Grapes. We rode by several very elegant country-seats before we came
to the city.... After dinner, Mr. McDougall and Mr. Platt came, and
walked with us to every part of the city. First we went to the fort,
where we saw the ruins of that magnificent building, the Governor's
house [burned Dec. 29, 1773]. From the Parade, before the fort, you
have a fine prospect of Hudson River, and of the East River, or the
Sound, and of the harbor; of Long Island, beyond the Sound River, and
of New Jersey beyond Hudson's River. The walk round this fort is very
pleasant, though the fortifications are not strong. Between the fort
and the city is a beautiful ellipsis of land [Bowling Green], railed
in with solid iron, in the centre of which is a statue of his majesty
on horseback, very large, of solid lead gilded with gold, standing on
a pedestal of marble, very high. We then walked up the Broad Way, a
fine street, very wide, and in a right line from one end to the other
of the city. In this route we saw the old Church and the new Church
[Trinity]. The new is a very magnificent building--cost twenty
thousand pounds, York currency. The prison is a large and a handsome
stone building; there are two sets of barracks. We saw the New York
College, which is also a large stone building. A new hospital is
building, of stone. We then walked down to a shipyard. Then we walked
round through another street, which is the principal street of
business. Saw the several markets. After this we went to the
coffee-house, which was full of gentlemen; read the newspapers,
etc.... The streets of this town are vastly more regular and elegant
than those in Boston, and the houses are more grand, as well as neat.
They are almost all painted, brick buildings and all."

Other glimpses we get from English sources. The traveler Smyth, while
visiting this city during the British occupation, has this to say:[11]
"Nothing can be more delightful than the situation of New York,
commanding a variety of the most charming prospects that can be
conceived. It is built chiefly upon the East River, which is the best
and safest harbour, and is only something more than half a mile wide.
The North River is better than two miles over to Powles Hook, which is
a strong work opposite to New York, but is exposed to the driving of
the ice in winter, whereby ships are prevented from lying therein
during that season of the year. The land on the North River side is
high and bold, but on the East River it gradually descends in a
beautiful declivity to the water's edge.... Amongst the multitude of
elegant seats upon this island, there are three or four uncommonly
beautiful, viz., Governor Elliot's, Judge Jones's, Squire Morris's,
and Mr. Bateman's. And opposite, upon the Continent, just above
Hell-gates, there is a villa named Morrisania, which is inferior to no
place in the world for the beauties, grandeur, and extent of
perspective, and the elegance of its situation." Eddis, who had been
compelled to leave Maryland on account of his loyal sentiments, was
hardly less impressed with the city's appearance when he stopped here
on his way to England in 1777. "The capital of this province," he
wrote, August 16th, "is situated on the southern extremity of the
island; on one side runs the North, and on the other the East River,
on the latter of which, on account of the harbour, the city is
principally built. In several streets, trees are regularly planted,
which afford a grateful shelter during the intense heat of the summer.
The buildings are generally of brick, and many are erected in a style
of elegance.... Previous to the commencement of this unhappy war, New
York was a flourishing, populous, and beautiful town....
Notwithstanding the late devastation [fire of 1776], there are still
many elegant edifices remaining, which would reflect credit on any
metropolis in Europe."[12]

[Footnote 11: "A Tour in the United States," etc. By J.F.D. Smyth.
London, 1784.]

[Footnote 12: "Letters from America, 1769-1777." By Wm. Eddis.

Beyond the limits of the city, Manhattan Island retained much of its
primitive appearance. Roads, farms, country-seats, interspersed it,
but not thickly; and as yet the salient features were hills, marshes,
patches of rocky land, streams, and woods. Just upon the outskirts,
midway between the rivers, at about the corner of Grand and Centre
Streets, the ground rose to a commanding elevation on the farm of
William Bayard, which overlooked the city and the island above a
distance of more than three miles. Further east, a little north of the
intersection of Grand and Division Streets, stood another hill,
somewhat lower, where Judge Jones lived, from which opened an
extensive view of the East River and harbor. On the west side, on this
line, the surface sank from Bayard's mount into a spreading marsh as
far as the Hudson, and over which now run portions of Canal and Grand
and their cross streets. Where we have the Tombs and surrounding
blocks, stood the "Fresh Water" lake or "Collect," several fathoms
deep, with high sloping banks on the north and west, and on whose
surface were made the earliest experiments in steam navigation in

One nearly central highway, known as the King's Bridge or Post Road,
ran the entire length of the island. Where it left the city at Chatham
Square, it was properly the Bowerie or Bowery Lane. Continuing along
the present street by this name, it fell off into the line of Fourth
Avenue as far as Fourteenth Street, crossed Union Square diagonally to
Broadway, and kept the course of the latter to Madison Square at
Twenty-third Street. Crossing this square, also diagonally, the road
stretched along between Fourth and Second Avenues to Fifty-third
Street, passed east of Second Avenue, and then turning westerly
entered Central Park at Ninety-second Street. Leaving the Park at a
hollow in the hills known as "McGowan's Pass," just above the house of
Andrew McGowan, on the line of One Hundred and Seventh Street, west of
Fifth Avenue, it followed Harlem Lane to the end of the island. Here,
on the other side of King's Bridge, then "a small wooden bridge,"[13]
the highway diverged easterly to New England and northerly to Albany.

[Footnote 13: "King's Bridge, which joins the northern extremity of
this island to the continent, is only a small wooden bridge, and the
country around is mountainous, rocky, broken, and disagreeable, but
very strong."--_Smyth's Tour, etc._, vol. ii., p. 376.]

This portion of the island above the city was known as its "Out-ward,"
and had been divided at an early date into three divisions, under the
names of the Bowery, Harlem, and Bloomingdale divisions. Each
contained points of settlement. The Bowery section included that part
of the city laid out near Fresh Water Pond and around Chatham Square
below Grand Street, and the stretch of country above beyond the line
of Twenty-third Street. In this division were to be found some of the
notable residences and country-seats of that day. James De Lancey's
large estate extended from the Bowery to the East River, and from
Division nearly to the line of Houston Street. The Rutgers' Mansion
stood attractively on the slopes of the river bank about the line of
Montgomery Street, and above De Lancey's, on the Bowery, were the De
Peysters, Dyckmans, and Stuyvesants.

The Harlem division of the Out-ward, with which are associated some of
the most interesting events of 1776, included what is now known as
Harlem, with the island above it as far as King's Bridge. Dutch
farmers had settled here a hundred years before the Revolution. As
early as 1658, the Director-General and Council of New Netherland gave
notice that "for the further promotion of Agriculture, for the
security of this Island, and the cattle pasturing thereon, as well as
for the greater recreation and amusement of this city of Amsterdam in
New Netherland, they have resolved to form a New Village or Settlement
at the end of the Island, and about the lands of Jochem Pietersen,
deceased, and those which adjoin thereto." The first settlers were to
receive lots to cultivate, be furnished with a guard of soldiers, and
allowed a ferry across the Harlem River, for "the better and greater
promotion of neighborly correspondence with the English of the
North."[14] In 1776, the division was interspersed with houses and
fields, especially in the stretch of plains or flat land just above
One Hundred and Tenth Street, and from the East River to the line of
Ninth Avenue. The church and centre of the village were on the east
side, in the vicinity of One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street, and the
old road by which they were reached from the city branched off from
the main highway at McGowan's Pass.

[Footnote 14: _Laws and Ordinances of New Netherlands._]

Bloomingdale was a scattered settlement, containing nearly all the
houses to be found along the Bloomingdale Road, but the name appears
to have identified principally the upper section beyond Fiftieth
Street. Here lived the Apthorpes at Ninety-second Street; the
Strikers, Joneses, and Hogelands above; and, lower down, the
Somerindykes and Harsens. As fixed by law, at that time, this road
started from the King's Bridge Road, at the house of John Horn, now
the corner of Twenty-third Street and Fifth Avenue, and followed the
line of the present Broadway and the recent Bloomingdale Road to the
farm of Adrian Hogeland, at One Hundred and Eighth Street.[15] Nearly
on a line with Hogeland, but considerably east of him, lived Benjamin
Vandewater; and these two were the most northerly residents in the

[Footnote 15: The caption to the act in the case passed 1751, and
remaining unchanged in 1773, reads: "_An Act for mending and keeping
in Repair the publick Road or Highway, from the House of John Horne,
in the Bowry Division of the Out-ward of the City of New York, through
the Bloomendale Division in the said ward, to the house of Adrian

Still another suburb of the city was the village of Greenwich,
overlooking the Hudson on the west side, in the vicinity of Fourteenth
Street, to which the Greenwich Road, now Greenwich Street, led along
the river bank in nearly a straight line. The road above continued
further east about as far as Forty-fifth Street, and there connected,
by a lane running south-westerly, with the Bloomingdale Road at
Forty-third Street. Among the country-seats in this village were those
of the Jeaunceys, Bayards, and Clarkes; and above, at Thirty-third
Street and Ninth Avenue, stood the ample and conspicuous residence of
John Morin Scott, one of the leading lawyers of the city, and a
powerful supporter of the American cause.

Across the East River, the "Sister City" of Brooklyn in 1776 was as
yet invisible from New York. A clump of low buildings at the old
ferry, and an occasional manor-seat, were the only signs of life
apparent on that side. Columbia Heights, whose modern blocks and row
of wharves and bonded stores suggest commercial activity alone, caught
the eye a century ago as "a noble bluff," crowned with fields and
woods, and meeting the water at its base with a shining beach. The
parish or village proper was the merest cluster of houses, nestled in
the vicinity of the old Dutch church, which stood in the middle of the
road a little below Bridge Street. The road was the King's highway,
and it ran from Fulton Ferry--where we have had a ferry for two
hundred and forty years at least--along the line of Fulton Street, and
on through Jamaica to the eastern end of Long Island. Besides the
settlements that had grown up at these two points--the church and the
ferry, which were nearly a mile and a half apart--a village centre was
to be found at Bedford, further up the highway, another in the
vicinity of the Wallabout, and still another, called Gowanus, along
the branch road skirting the bay. These all stood within the present
municipal limits of Brooklyn.

As it had been for more than a century before, the population on the
Long Island side was largely Dutch at the time of the Revolution. The
first-comers, in 1636 and after, introduced themselves to the soil and
the red man as the Van Schows, the Cornelissens, the Manjes, and the
like--good Walloon patronimics--and the Dutch heritage is still
preserved in the names of old families, and even more permanently in
the name of the place itself; for the word Brooklyn is but the English
corruption of Breukelen, the ancient Holland village[16] of which our
modern city appears to have been the namesake. Smyth, the English
traveler, makes the general statement towards the close of the
Revolution, that two thirds of the inhabitants of Long Island,
especially those on the west end, were of Dutch extraction, who
continued "to make use of their customs and language in preference to
English," which, however, they also understood. "The people of King's
County [Brooklyn]," he says, "are almost entirely Dutch. In Queen's
County, four fifths of the people are so likewise, but the other
fifth, and all Suffolk County, are English as they call themselves,
being from English ancestors, and using no other language." Major
Baurmeister, one of the officers of the Hessian division which
participated in the battle of Long Island, leaves us something more
than statistics in the case. He appears to have noted every thing with
lively appreciation. To a friend in Germany, for instance, we find him
writing as follows: "The happiness of the inhabitants, whose ancestors
were all Dutch, must have been great; genuine kindness and real
abundance is everywhere; any thing worthless or going to ruin is
nowhere to be perceived. The inhabited regions resemble the
Westphalian peasant districts; upon separate farms the finest houses
are built, which are planned and completed in the most elegant
fashion. The furniture in them is in the best taste, nothing like
which is to be seen with us, and besides so clean and neat, that
altogether it surpasses every description. The female sex is
universally beautiful and delicately reared, and is finely dressed in
the latest European fashion, particularly in India laces, white cotton
and silk gauzes; not one of these women but would consider driving a
double team the easiest of work. They drive and ride out alone, having
only a negro riding behind to accompany them. Near every
dwelling-house negroes (their slaves) are settled, who cultivate the
most fertile land, pasture the cattle, and do all the menial
work."[17] That the English element, however, had crept in to a
considerable extent around Brooklyn at this time, is a matter of

[Footnote 16: The Hon. Henry C. Murphy, who visited this place in
1859, says of it: "The town lies in the midst of a marshy district,
and hence its name; for Breukelen--pronounced Brurkeler--means marsh
land." "There are some curious points of coincidence," continues Mr.
Murphy, "both as regards the name and situation of the Dutch Breukelen
and our Brooklyn. The name with us was originally applied exclusively
to the hamlet which grew up along the main road now embraced within
Fulton Avenue, and between Smith Street and Jackson Street; and we
must, therefore, not confound it with the settlements at the
Waalebought, Gowanus, and the Ferry, now Fulton Ferry, which were
entirely distinct, and were not embraced within the general name of
Brooklyn, until after the organization of the township of that name by
the British Colonial Government. Those of our citizens who remember
the lands on Fulton Avenue near Nevins Street and De Kalb Avenue
before the changes which were produced by the filling-in of those
streets, will recollect that their original character was marshy and
springy, being in fact the bed of the valley which received the drain
of the hills extending on either side of it from the Waalebought to
Gowanus Bay. This would lead to the conclusion that the name was given
on account of the locality; but though we have very imperfect accounts
as to who were the first settlers of Brooklyn proper, still, reasoning
from analogy in the cases of New Utrecht and New Amersfoort, we cannot
probably err in supposing that Brooklyn owes its name to the
circumstance that its first settlers wished to preserve in it a
memento of their homes in Fatherland. After the English conquest,
there was a continual struggle between the Dutch and English
orthography.... Thus it is spelled Breucklyn, Breuckland, Brucklyn,
Broucklyn, Brookland, Brookline, and several other ways. At the end of
the last century it settled down into the present Brooklyn. In this
form it still retains sufficiently its original signification of the
_marsh_ or _brook land_."--_Stiles' History of Brooklyn_, vol. i.,
App. 4.]

[Footnote 17: Part II., Document 33. On the other hand, some later
English descriptions are not as pleasant; but the wretchedness the
writers saw during the war was what the war had caused.]

The topography of this section of Long Island was peculiar, presenting
strong contrasts of high and low land. Originally, and indeed within
the memory of citizens still living, that part of Brooklyn lying
south and west of the line of Nevins Street was practically a
peninsula, with the Wallabout Bay or present Navy Yard on one side of
the neck, and on the other, a mile across, the extensive Gowanus creek
and marsh, over which now run Second, Third, and Fourth Avenues. The
creek set in from the bay where the Gowanus Canal is retained, and
rendered the marsh impassable at high-water as far as the line of
Baltic Street. Blocks of buildings now stand on the site of mills that
were once worked by the ebb and flow of the tides. The lower part of
what is known as South Brooklyn was largely swamp land in 1776. Here
the peninsula terminated in a nearly isolated triangular piece of
ground jutting out into the harbor, called Red Hook, which figured
prominently in the military operations. From this projection to the
furthest point on the Wallabout was a distance of three miles, and the
scenery along the bank presented a varied and attractive appearance to
the resident of New York. The "heights" rose conspicuously in all the
beauty of their natural outline; lower down the shore might be seen a
quaint Dutch mill or two; on the bluffs opposite the Battery, the
mansions of Philip and Robert Livingston were prominent; and not far
from where the archway crosses Montague Street stood the Remsen and,
nearer the ferry, the Colden and Middagh residences. From every point
of view the perspective was rural and inviting.[18]

[Footnote 18: In describing some of the characteristic features of
Long Island, Smyth, the traveler already quoted, mentions what seemed
to him "two very extraordinary places." "The first," he says, "is a
very dangerous and dreadful strait or passage, called _Hell-Gates_,
between the East River and the Sound; where the two tides meeting
cause a horrible whirlpool, the vortex of which is called the Pot, and
drawing in and swallowing up every thing that approaches near it,
dashes them to pieces upon the rocks at the bottom.... Before the late
war, a top-sail vessel was seldom ever known to pass through
Hell-Gates; but since the commencement of it, fleets of transports,
with frigates for their convoy, have frequently ventured and
accomplished it; the Niger, indeed, a very fine frigate of thirty-two
guns, generally struck on some hidden rock, every time she attempted
this passage. But what is still more extraordinary, that daring
veteran, Sir James Wallace, to the astonishment of every person who
ever saw or heard of it, carried his Majesty's ship, the Experiment,
of fifty guns, safe through Hell-Gates, from the east end of the Sound
to New York; when the French fleet under D'Estaing lay off Sandy Hook,
and blocked up the harbor and city of New York, some ships of the line
being also sent by D'Estaing round the east end of Long Island to
cruise in the Sound for the same purpose, so that the Experiment must
inevitably have fallen into their hands, had it not been for this bold
and successful attempt of her gallant commander." The other spot was
Hempstead Plains, which presented the "singular phenomenon," for
America, of having no trees.]

Vastly changed to-day is all this region, which was now to be
disturbed by the din and havoc of war. Its picturesqueness long since
disappeared. Upon Manhattan Island, the city's push "uptown"-ward has
been like the cut of a drawing knife, a remorseless process of
levelling and "filling-in." Forty times in population and twenty in
area has it expanded beyond the growth of 1776. Brooklyn is a new
creation. Would its phlegmatic denizen of colonial times recognize the
site of his farms or his mills? Even the good Whig ferryman, Waldron,
might be at a loss to make out his bearings, for the green banks of
the East River have vanished, and its points become confused. The
extent of its contraction he could learn from the builders of the
bridge, who have set the New York pier eight hundred feet out from the
high-water mark of 1776, and the Brooklyn pier two hundred or more,
narrowing the stream at that point to a strait of but sixteen hundred
feet in width.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first active steps looking to the occupation of New York were
taken by the Americans early in January of this year. Reports had
reached Washington's headquarters that the British were fitting out
an expedition by sea, whose destination was kept a profound secret. In
Boston, rumors were afloat that it was bound for Halifax or Rhode
Island. In reality it was the expedition with which Sir Henry Clinton
was to sail to North Carolina, and there meet Cornwallis, from
England, to carry out the southern diversion. Ignorant of the British
plans, and suspecting that Clinton might suddenly appear at New York,
Washington on the 4th of January called the attention of Congress to
the movement, and suggested that it would be "consistent with
prudence" to have some New Jersey troops thrown into the city to
prevent the "almost irremediable" evil which would follow its
occupation by the enemy. Two days later, General Charles Lee, holding
rank in the American army next to Washington, pressed a plan of his
own, to the effect that he be sent himself by the commander-in-chief
to secure New York, and that the troops for the purpose (there being
none to spare from the force around Boston) be hastily raised in
Connecticut. This was approved at headquarters, and on the 8th inst.
Lee received instructions as follows:

     "Having undoubted intelligence of the fitting out of a fleet
     at Boston, and of the embarkation of troops from thence,
     which, from the season of the year and other circumstances,
     must be destined for a southern expedition; and having such
     information as I can rely on, that the inhabitants, or a
     great part of them, on Long Island in the colony of New
     York, are not only inimical to the rights and liberties of
     America, but by their conduct and public professions have
     discovered a disposition to aid and assist in the reduction
     of that colony to ministerial tyranny; and as it is a matter
     of the utmost importance to prevent the enemy from taking
     possession of the City of New York and the North River, as
     they will thereby command the country, and the communication
     with Canada--it is of too much consequence to hazard such a
     post at so alarming a crisis....

     "You will therefore, with such volunteers as are willing to
     join you, and can be expeditiously raised, repair to the
     City of New York, and calling upon the commanding officer of
     the forces of New Jersey for such assistance as he can
     afford, and you shall require, you are to put that city into
     the best posture of defence which the season and
     circumstances will admit, disarming all such persons upon
     Long Island and elsewhere (and if necessary otherwise
     securing them), whose conduct and declarations have rendered
     them justly suspected of designs unfriendly to the views of
     Congress.... I am persuaded I need not recommend dispatch in
     the prosecution of this business. The importance of it alone
     is a sufficient incitement."[19]

[Footnote 19: Washington had some misgivings as to his authority to
assume military control of New York, and he sought the advice of John
Adams, who was then at Watertown. The latter replied without
hesitation that under his commission as commander-in-chief he had full
authority. To President Hancock, Washington wrote: "I hope the
Congress will approve of my conduct in sending General Lee upon this
expedition. I am sure I mean it well, as experience teaches us that it
is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves, than it is
to dislodge them after they have got possession."]

Washington wrote at the same time to Governor Trumbull, of
Connecticut, Colonel Lord Stirling, of New Jersey, and the New York
Committee of Safety, urging them to give Gen. Lee all the assistance
in their power.

Lee, who had been an officer in the British army, serving at one time
under Burgoyne in Portugal, had already established a reputation for
himself in Washington's camp as a military authority, and enjoyed the
full confidence of the commander-in-chief, despite certain
eccentricities of manner and an over-confidence in his own judgment
and experience. The defects and weaknesses of his character, which
eventually brought him into disgrace as a soldier, were not as yet
displayed or understood. At the present time he was eager to be of
essential service to the colonies, and he entered into the New York
project with spirit. In Connecticut the governor promptly seconded his
efforts, by calling out two regiments of volunteers to serve for six
weeks under the general, and appointed Colonels David Waterbury, of
Stamford, and Andrew Ward, of Guilford, to their command. By the 20th,
Lee found himself ready to proceed; but while on his way, near
Stamford, he received a communication from the Committee of Safety at
New York, representing that the rumors of his coming had created great
alarm in the city, and earnestly requesting him to halt his troops on
the Connecticut border, until his object were better known to the
committee. Here was something of a dilemma, and it may be asked how it
should have arisen. Why, indeed, was it necessary to organize a force
outside of New York to secure it? Was not this the time for the city
to prepare for her defence, and welcome assistance from whatever
quarter offered? The answer is to be found in the exceptional
political temperament of New York at this time. Her population
contained a large and powerful loyalist element, which hoped, with the
assistance of the three or four British men-of-war then in the harbor,
to be able to give the place, at the proper moment, into the hands of
the king's troops. Only a short time before, Governor Tryon had
informed Howe that it only needed the presence of a small force to
secure it, and develop a strong loyal support among the inhabitants of
both the city and colony. The patriotic party had abated none of its
zeal, but it recognized the danger of precipitating matters, and
accordingly pursued what appeared to colonists elsewhere to be a
temporizing and timid policy, but which proved the wisest course in
the end. The city was at the mercy of the men-of-war. Any attempt to
seize it could be answered with a bombardment. The situation required
prudent management; above all, it required delay on the part of the
Americans until they were ready for a decisive step. That the
Committee of Safety was thoroughly true to the country, no one can
doubt a moment after reading their daily proceedings. In their letter
to Lee they say: "This committee and the Congress whose place we fill
in their recess, are, we flatter ourselves, as unanimously zealous in
the cause of America as any representative body on the continent: so
truly zealous, that both the one and the other will cheerfully devote
this city to sacrifice for advancing that great and important cause."
But knowing the state of affairs in their midst better than others,
they urged caution instead of haste in bringing the war to New York.
In this case, they informed Lee that no works had been erected in the
city, that they had but little powder, that they were sending out
ships for more without molestation from the men-of-war, their object
being kept secret, and that a general alarm then in the dead of
winter, driving women and children into the country, would work great
distress. "For these reasons," continue the committee, "we conceive
that a just regard to the public cause, and our duty to take a prudent
care of this city, dictate the impropriety of provoking hostilities at
present, and the necessity of saving appearances with the ships of war
till at least the month of March. Though we have been unfortunate in
our disappointments with respect to some of our adventures, yet be
assured, sir, we have not been idle. Our intrenching tools are almost
completed to a sufficient number; we are forming a magazine of
provisions for five thousand men for a month in a place of safety, and
at a convenient distance from this city; we have provided ourselves
with six good brass field-pieces; have directed carriages to be made
for our other artillery, and are raising a company of artillery for
the defence of the colony on the Continental establishment. These
things, when accomplished, with other smaller matters, and with the
arrival of some gunpowder, the prospect of which is not unpromising,
will enable us to face our enemies with some countenance." Lee, with
due consideration, replied to the committee that he should comply with
their request about the troops, and do nothing that could endanger the

It was not until the 4th of February that the general entered New
York. On the same day Clinton arrived in the harbor from Boston, with
his southern expedition, but only to make a brief stay. The coming of
these officers threw the city into great excitement. Many of the
inhabitants expected an immediate collision, and began to leave the
place. One Garish Harsin, writing from New York to William Radclift at
Rhyn Beck, sums up in a single sentence the effect of the harbor
news:[20] "It is impossible to describe the confusion the place was in
on account of the regulars being come." And when rumors magnified
Clinton's two or three transports into a British fleet of nineteen
sail, Harsin informs his friend that the people were taking themselves
out of town "as if it were the Last Day." Pastor Shewkirk, of the
Moravian Church, in his interesting diary[21] of passing events, tells
us that "the inhabitants began now to move away in a surprising
manner," and that "the whole aspect of things grew frightful, and
increased so from day to day." To add to the discomfort and suffering
of the people, the weather was very cold, and the rivers full of ice.

[Footnote 20: "New York in the Revolution." Published by the New York
Mercantile Library Association.]

[Footnote 21: Part II., Document 37.]

The Committee of Safety, in their anxiety as to the effect of Lee's
occupation of the city, had already written to the Continental
Congress on the subject, and that body at once sent up a committee,
consisting of Messrs. Harrison, Lynch, and Allen, to advise with Lee
and the New York Committee. The latter accepted the situation,
consented to the entry of the troops into town, and at a conference
with Lee and the Congress Committee on the 6th, agreed to the
immediate prosecution of defensive measures.

Upon his arrival, the general sent his engineer, Captain William
Smith, "an excellent, intelligent, active officer," to survey and
report upon the salient points of the position, especially around Hell
Gate and on Long Island. Lee and Stirling also went over the ground
several times. As a result of these inspections, the general became
convinced that to attempt a complete defence of the city would be
impracticable, because the ample sea-room afforded by the harbor and
rivers gave the enemy every advantage, enabling them, with their
powerful fleet, to threaten an attack in front and flank. Lee saw this
at once, and reported his views to Washington, February 19th. "What to
do with the city," he wrote, "I own, puzzles me. It is so encircled
with deep navigable waters, that whoever commands the sea must command
the town;" and to the New York Committee he said that it would be
impossible to make the place absolutely secure. In view of this, he
proposed to construct a system of defences that should have an
alternative object, namely, that in case they should prove inadequate
for the city's protection, they should at least be sufficient to
prevent the enemy from securing a permanent foothold in it.

Under this plan, the line of the East River required the principal
attention, as here it seemed possible to offer the best resistance to
British attempts upon the city. First, to cut off the enemy's
communication between the Sound and the river, it was proposed to
blockade the passage at Hell Gate by a fort on Horn's Hook, at the
foot of East Eighty-eighth Street, as well as by works opposite, on
the present Hallet's Point. A further object of these forts was to
secure safe transit between Long Island and New York. In the next
place, batteries were planned for both sides of the river at its
entrance into the harbor, where the city was chiefly exposed. On the
New York side, a battery was located at the foot of Catherine Street
at the intersection of Cherry, and where the river was narrowest. This
was called Waterbury's Battery. To cover its fire a stronger work was
ordered to be built on Rutgers' "first hill," just above, which was
named Badlam's Redoubt, after Captain Badlam, then acting as Lee's
chief artillery officer. Lower down a battery was sunk in a cellar on
Ten Eyck's wharf, Coenties Slip, a short distance below Wall Street,
and called Coenties Battery. These three, with part of the Grand
Battery and Fort George, included all the works planned by Lee to
guard the East River from the New York side.

In connection with these, works were laid out on the bank opposite on
Long Island, the importance of which was apparent. Not only was the
site well adapted for guns to sweep the channel and prevent the
enemy's ships from remaining in the river long enough to do the city
serious damage, but it also commanded the city, so as to make it
untenable by the British should they succeed in occupying it. This
bluff, "Columbia Heights," was in fact the key to the entire
situation. Lee considered its possession and security of "greater
importance" than New York; and to hold it he proposed establishing
there an intrenched camp[22] for three or four thousand men,
fortified by "a chain of redoubts mutually supporting each other." Of
these redoubts, one was located on the edge of the bluff opposite the
Coenties Battery, and stood on the line of Columbia Street, at about
the foot of the present Clark Street. This came to be known as Fort
Stirling. In its rear, near the corner of Henry and Pierrepont
streets, it was proposed to erect a large citadel; but this, although
begun, was never completed.[23] Lee's scheme of defence did not
include the fortifying of either Red Hook or Governor's Island.

[Footnote 22: Lee wrote to Washington, February 19th: "I wait for some
more force to prepare a post or retrenched encampment on Long Island,
opposite to the city, for 3000 men. This is, I think, a capital
object; for, should the enemy take possession of New York, when Long
Island is in our hands, they will find it almost impossible to

[Footnote 23: The location and strength of Fort Stirling, the citadel,
and the other works on Long Island, are noted more in detail further
along in this chapter.]

The East River thus provided for, attention was paid to the city and
the North River side. Lee examined Fort George and the Grand Battery,
but gave it as his opinion that neither of them could be held under
the concentrated fire of large ships. He advised, accordingly, that
the northern face of the fort be torn down, and a traverse built
across Broadway above it at the Bowling Green, from which the interior
of the work could be raked, should the enemy attempt to land and hold
it. As the North River was "so extremely wide and deep," the general
regarded the obstruction of its passage to the ships as out of the
question. Batteries, however, could be erected at various points along
the west side where it rose to a ridge, and the power of the ships to
injure the town very considerably diminished. All the streets leading
up from the water were ordered to be barricaded to prevent the enemy
from coming up on the flanks; forts were to be erected on Jones',
Bayard's, and Lispenard's hills, north of the town, covering the
approach by land from that direction; the roads obstructed to
artillery; and redoubts, redans, and flêches thrown up at defensible
points throughout the entire island, as far as King's Bridge.[24] "I
must observe," said Lee to the Committee of Safety, "that New York,
from its circumstances, can with difficulty be made a regular tenable
fortification; but it may be made a most advantageous field of
battle--so advantageous, indeed, that, if our people behave with
common spirit, and the commanders are men of discretion, it must cost
the enemy many thousands of men to get possession of it."

[Footnote 24: "_Feb. 23d, 1776._--... General Lee is taking every
necessary step to fortify and defend this city. The men-of-war are
gone out of our harbor; the Phoenix is at the Hook; the Asia lays
near Beedlow's Island; so that we are now in a state of perfect peace
and security, was it not for our apprehensions of future danger. To
see the vast number of houses shut up, one would think the city almost
evacuated. Women and children are scarcely to be seen in the streets.
Troops are daily coming in; they break open and quarter themselves in
any houses they find shut up. Necessity knows no law."--_Letter from
F. Rhinelander. "Life of Peter Van Schaack._"]

To construct these extensive works Lee could muster, two weeks after
his arrival, but seventeen hundred men. Waterbury's Connecticut
regiment was first on the ground; the First New Jersey Continentals,
as yet incomplete, under Colonel the Earl of Stirling, soon followed;
and from Westchester County, New York, came two hundred minute-men
under Colonel Samuel Drake. Dutchess County sent down Colonels
Swartwout and Van Ness with about three hundred more; and on the 24th
Colonel Ward arrived with his Connecticut regiment, six hundred
strong, which had rendezvoused at Fairfield. Stirling's regiment was
quartered principally in the lower barracks at the Battery;
Waterbury's at the upper, on the site of the new Court House; Ward's
was sent to Long Island; and Drake's minute-men were posted at Horn's
Hook, opposite Hell Gate, where they began work on the first battery
marked out for the defence of New York City during the Revolution.

[Illustration: [signature: John Lasher]


Steel Engr. F. von Egloffstein N.Y.]

But Lee's stay at this point was to be brief. The Continental Congress
appointed him to the command of the newly created Department of the
South, and on the 7th of March he left New York in charge of Lord
Stirling, who, a month before, had been promoted by Congress to the
rank of brigadier-general. This officer's energy was conspicuous. His
predecessor had already found him "a great acquisition," and he pushed
on the defences of the city as rapidly as his resources would permit.
The force under his immediate command, according to the returns of the
13th, amounted to a total of two thousand four hundred and twenty-two
officers and men,[25] besides the city independent companies under
Colonels John Lasher and William Heyer, and local militia,[26] who
swelled the number to about four thousand. On the 14th, Washington
wrote to Stirling that the enemy appeared to be on the point of
evacuating Boston, and that it was more than probable they would sail
southward. "I am of opinion," he wrote, "that New York is their place
of destination. It is an object worthy of their attention, and it is
the place that we must use every endeavor to keep from them. For,
should they get that town, and the command of the North River, they
can stop the intercourse between the Northern and Southern
colonies, upon which depends the safety of America. My feelings upon
this subject are so strong, that I would not wish to give the enemy a
chance of succeeding at your place.... The plan of defence formed by
General Lee is, from what little I know of the place, a very judicious
one. I hope, nay, I dare say, it is carrying into execution with
spirit and industry. You may judge of the enemy's keeping so long
possession of the town of Boston against an army superior in numbers,
and animated with the noble spirit of liberty; I say, you may judge by
that how much easier it is to keep an enemy from forming a lodgment in
a place, than it will be to dispossess them when they get themselves
fortified." Stirling immediately sent urgent appeals for troops in
every direction. He ordered over the Third New Jersey Continental
Regiment under Colonel Dayton, and wrote for three hundred picked men
from each of the six nearest counties of that State. Ward's and
Waterbury's regiments, which were impatient to return home to attend
to their spring farming, were many of them induced to remain two weeks
beyond their term of enlistment until Governor Trumbull could supply
their places with troops under Colonels Silliman and Talcott. Congress
also ordered forward five or six Pennsylvania regiments. Meanwhile the
New York Committee of Safety co-operated zealously with the military
authorities.[27] At Stirling's request they voted to call out all the
male inhabitants of the city, black and white, capable of doing
"fatigue duty," to work on the fortifications--the blacks to work
every day, the whites every other day;[28] and the same orders were
conveyed to the committee of King's County, where the inhabitants were
directed to report to Colonel Ward, with spades, hoes and pickaxes. To
troops needing quarters the committee turned over the empty houses in
the city, or those that were "least liable to be injured;" coarse
sheets were ordered for the straw beds in the barracks; the upper
story of the "Bridewell" was converted into a laboratory or armory for
repairing guns and making cartridges; and all necessary details
provided for as far as possible. In case of an alarm, the troops were
to parade immediately at the Battery, in the Common, and in front of
Trinity Church. To annoy expected British men-of-war, the committee
despatched Major William Malcolm, of the Second city battalion, to
dismantle the Sandy Hook Light, which the major effected in a thorough
manner, breaking what glasses he could not move, and carrying off the
oil. On Long Island, a guard of King's County troopers was posted at
the Narrows, and another at Rockaway, to report the approach of ships;
and in the city, cannon were mounted in the batteries as fast as they
were completed. On the 20th, Stirling could report that everybody
turned to "with great spirit and industry," and that the work went on
"amazingly well."

[Footnote 25: Privates present fit for duty: Stirling's regiment, 407;
Waterbury's, 457; Ward's, 489; Drake's, 104; Swartwout's, 186; Van
Ness', 110; Captain Ledyard's company, N.Y., 64.]

[Footnote 26: In the chapter on "The Two Armies," some further account
is given of the troops furnished during the campaign by New York and
the Brooklyn villages.]

[Footnote 27: The committee humored Governor Tryon, however, with a
few civilities as late as April 4th, when they provided his fleet with
"the following articles, viz.: 1300 lbs. beef for the 'Asia'; 1000
lbs. beef for the 'Phoenix,' with 18_s._ worth vegetables; 2 qrs.
beef, 1 doz. dishes, 2 doz. plates, 1 doz. spoons, 2 mugs, 2 barrels
ale, for the packet; 6 barrels of beer, 2 quarters of beef for the
governor's ship, 'Duchess of Gordon.'"--_Journal of the Provincial

[Footnote 28: Stirling's orders, March 13th, 1776: "It is intended to
employ one half of the inhabitants every other day, changing, at the
works for the defence of this city; and the whole of the slaves every
day, until this place is put in a proper posture of defence. The Town
Major is immediately to disperse these orders."--_Force_, 4th series,
vol. v., p. 219.

The citizens were divided off into reliefs or "beats." In the "N.Y.
Hist. Manuscripts," vol. i., p. 267, may be found the "Amount of
officers and Privates of ye 22d Beat at work 17 March"--59 men
under Captain Benj. Egbert. Negroes belonging to the 22d Beat--"Pomp,
Cæsar, Peter, Sam, Jo, Cubitt, Simms, John, Cato," etc., 11 in all.]

On the same date Brigadier-General Thompson, of Pennsylvania, reported
at New York, and held the command until the arrival, a few days later,
of Brigadier-General Heath, of Massachusetts, who in turn was
relieved, April 4th, by Major-General Putnam.

       *       *       *       *       *

Affairs at Boston now reached a crisis. The siege, which the
provincial troops had so successfully maintained for ten months,
terminated to their own unbounded credit and the secret mortification
of the enemy. On the 17th of March the city was evacuated by the
British, and immediately occupied by the Americans--an event that had
been foreseen and provided for at a council of war held on the 13th,
at General Ward's headquarters in Roxbury. The commander-in-chief
there stated that every indication pointed to an early departure of
the enemy from Boston, with the probability that they were destined
for New York, and he questioned whether it was not advisable to send a
part of the army to that point without delay. The council coincided in
this opinion, and on the following day the rifle regiment under
Lieutenant-Colonel Hand, and the three companies of Virginia riflemen,
under Captain Stephenson, were put on the march southward. These were
followed on the 18th by five regiments under Brigadier-General Heath,
who had been ordered to march by way of Providence, Norwich, New
London, and the Sound. As the enemy's transports lingered around
Boston for several days, no more troops were sent southward until the
29th, when six regiments were ordered on, under Brigadier-General
Sullivan. On the same date Major-General Putnam received orders to
proceed to New York, assume command, and continue the work of
fortifying the city upon the plan adopted by General Lee. On the 1st
of April, Brigadier-General Greene's brigade moved in the same
direction, and was followed in a day or two by General Spencer's. Five
regiments remained at Boston, under Major-General Ward.

Waiting until all the troops were on the march, Washington, on April
4th, himself set out from Cambridge for New York. Crowned with his
first honors as the deliverer of Boston, he was greeted on his route
with respectful admiration and enthusiasm. He had come to New England
comparatively unknown--"a Mr. Washington, of Virginia;" he left it
secure in the affections and pride of its people. Expecting him at
Providence the next day, the 5th, General Greene, who had been delayed
at that place, ordered two regiments of his brigade--Hitchcock's Rhode
Island and Little's Massachusetts--to appear in their best form and
escort the general into the city. The minuteness of Greene's
directions on the occasion furnishes us with the material for a
picture of the personal appearance of the early Continental soldier
when on parade. As preserved among the papers of the Massachusetts
colonel, the order runs as follows:

     "_Providence April 4, 1776._--Colo. Hitchcock's and
     Colo. Little's regiments are to turn out to-morrow
     morning to escort his Excellency into town, to parade at 8
     o'clock, both officers & men dressed in uniform, & none to
     turn out except those dressed in uniform, & those of the
     non-commissioned officers & soldiers that turn out to be
     washed, both face & hands, clean, their beards shaved, their
     hair combed & powdered, & their arms cleaned. The General
     hopes that both officers & soldiers will exert themselves
     for the honour of the regiment & brigade to which they
     belong. He wishes to pay the honours to the Commander in
     Chief in as decent & respectable a manner as possible."[29]

[Footnote 29: MS. Order Book of Colonel Moses Little.]

Governor Cooke, of Rhode Island, was not less attentive, and in
addition to calling out "the several companies of cadets, of
grenadiers, and light infantry" in Providence to meet the
commander-in-chief, he had a house prepared for his reception and the
accommodation of his suite, which, besides his officers, included Lady
Washington and Mr. and Mrs. Custis.[30] Passing on to New London,
where he hurried the embarkation of the troops, Washington kept on
along the shore road, reached New Haven on the 11th, and on the 13th
arrived at the city of New York. Putnam had come ten days earlier.
Owing to insufficient transportation and slow sailing on the Sound, it
was April 24th before the last of the soldiers reported on the ground.

[Footnote 30: R.I. Hist. Coll. Vol. VI.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The new military base in this vicinity was thus fairly established,
and the commander-in-chief, after personally inspecting the position,
urged on the work of defence. As the regiments on their arrival had
been quartered at haphazard in the city, he first arranged the army
into five brigades, with the view of putting them into suitable and
permanent camps. To the command of these he assigned Heath, Spencer,
Sullivan, Greene, and Stirling, in the order of their rank. The
twenty-five battalions which made up the force at this date numbered
together not quite ten thousand men.

But hardly were the orders for this new arrangement issued before
events required its modification. Our affairs proving to be in a bad
way in the direction of Canada, it became necessary to despatch
General Sullivan with six regiments to the northward, and on the 29th
of April the troops in New York were formed anew into four brigades,
and assigned to their respective camps. Heath's first brigade was
posted on the Hudson, just without the city above the Canal Street
marsh and about Richmond Hill; Spencer's second, on the East River,
around the Rutgers' farm and Jones' Hill; and Stirling's fourth, in
the centre, near Bayard's Hill and the Bowery Road; while Greene's
third brigade was assigned to "the ground marked out upon Long
Island." But one work now lay before these soldiers, namely, to put
New York and its vicinity in a complete state of defence in the
shortest possible time. Howe and his Boston army, it was now known,
had gone to Halifax instead of sailing for New York; but he could
still reach, and, with reinforcements from England, attack the city
before the Americans were ready to receive him. The situation,
accordingly, admitted of no delays, and digging was made the order of
the day. No one could have anticipated, however, that preparations
were to be continued full four months longer before active campaigning

This interval of fortifying is not without its interest; and we may
cross, first, with Greene to Long Island, to note what further was
done towards securing that "capital" point in the general system of

       *       *       *       *       *

From the orders of April 24th and 25th it would appear that it was
Washington's original intention to give the Brooklyn command, not to
Greene, but to Sullivan. The latter was assigned to the Third Brigade
before going to Canada, and on the 25th the encampment of this brigade
was ordered to be marked out "upon Long Island." The fact that
Sullivan was senior to Greene in rank, and was entitled, as between
the two, to the honor and responsibility of the separate command, was
doubtless the ground of his assignment in this case. But a greater
responsibility was reserved for Sullivan in Canada, and Greene was
sent to Long Island. Owing to bad weather, it was the 3d or 4th of
May before the latter crossed with troops. He took with him his old
brigade, consisting of Colonel Edward Hand's Pennsylvania Riflemen,
his two favorite Rhode Island regiments under Colonels James Mitchell
Varnum and Daniel Hitchcock, and Colonel Moses Little's regiment from
Massachusetts. These ranked as the First, Ninth, Eleventh, and Twelfth
of the Continental Establishment, and were as well armed and under as
good discipline as any troops in Washington's army. Hand's regiment,
numbering four hundred and seventy officers and men, was already on
Long Island, having come from Boston in advance of the brigades, and
was engaged in scouting and patrol duty at the Narrows and along the
coast. Varnum's, Hitchcock's, and Little's, having an average strength
of three hundred and eighty each, were the only troops around
Brooklyn.[31] The Long Island militia were not as yet in the field,
and the small company of Brooklyn troopers under Captain Waldron and
Lieutenant Boerum, which had patrolled the coast during the early
spring, do not appear on duty again until late in the season.

[Footnote 31: Ward's, we have seen, was the first regiment stationed
on Long Island. It was there from February 24th until about the end of
March. The _N.Y. Packet_ of February 29th, 1776, says: "Saturday last
Col. Ward's regiment arrived here from Connecticut, and embarked in
boats and landed on Nassau [Long] Island." Lee gave orders that a
Pennsylvania battalion, supposed to be on its way to New York, should
encamp from the Wallabout to Gowanus, but no Pennsylvania troops are
included in Stirling's return, and certainly none were on Long Island
until Hand's riflemen came from Boston. It is probable that Colonel
Chas. Webb's Connecticut Continentals relieved Ward, as Captain Hale
writes that it had been there three weeks, sometime before May 20th.
Greene's brigade were the next troops to cross over.]

It now remained for these regiments to go on fortifying the
water-front of this site to keep the ships out of the river, and, in
addition, to secure themselves against an attack by land. What Lee's
plan was in reference to Columbia Heights has already been seen. Here
he proposed to establish a camp with Fort Stirling and the Citadel
among its defences, the former of which had been nearly completed and
the latter begun by Ward's regiment and the inhabitants. In
consequence, however, of a move made by General Putnam soon after his
arrival, it had evidently become necessary to enlarge this plan.
Governor's Island, just off the edge of which were moored the British
men-of-war, had not been occupied by either Lee or Stirling; but it
lay within cannon-shot of the Battery and Columbia Heights, and an
enemy once lodged there could work us mischief. General Putnam noticed
its position, and he had not been here three days before he wrote,
April 7th, to the President of Congress: "After getting the works [in
New York] in such forwardness as will be prudent to leave, I propose
immediately to take possession of Governor's Island, which I think a
very important post. Should the enemy arrive here, and get post there,
it will not be possible to save the city, nor could we dislodge them
without great loss."[32] On the very next night he carried out his
proposal, as appears from the following account of the manoeuvre
preserved among the papers of Colonel G. Selleck Silliman, of
Fairfield, Connecticut, who had recently come down to relieve the
troops under Ward and Waterbury:

[Footnote 32: _Force_, Fourth Series, vol. v., p. 811.]

"_Tuesday Morning, 9th April._--Last Evening Draughts were made from a
Number of Regiments here, mine among the Rest, to the Amount of 1,000
Men. With these and a proper Number of Officers Genl Putnam at
Candle lighting embarked on Board of a Number of Vessels with a large
Number of intrenching Tools and went directly on the Island a little
below the City called Nutten [Governor's] Island where they have been
intrenching all Night and are now at work, and have got a good Breast
Work there raised which will cover them from the fire of the Ships;
and it is directly in the Way of the Ship coming up to the Town. The
Asia has fallen down out of Gun Shot from this Place and it deprives
the Ships of the only Watering Place they have here without going down
toward the Hook."[33] There was something of the Bunker Hill flavor
about this move, and it was Prescott's Bunker Hill regiment that was
first stationed[34] on the Island, which subsequently became one of
the strongest posts of the position. At the same time another party
occupied Red Hook,[35] on Long Island, which commanded the channel
between the Hook and Governor's Island.

[Footnote 33: MS. letter from Colonel Silliman to his wife, in
possession of Mrs. O.P. Hubbard, New York City.]

[Footnote 34: General Orders, April 16th, 1776: ... "Colonel
Prescott's Regiment is to encamp on Governour's Island as soon as the
weather clears. They are to give every assistance in their power to
the works erecting thereon."...]

[Footnote 35: "Monday night 1000 Continental troops stationed here
went over and took possession of Governor's Island and began to
fortify it; the same night a regiment went over to Red Hook and
fortified that place likewise." _New York Packet, April 11, 1776._]

The occupation by Putnam of these two points, which was clearly
necessary for a more effective defence of the East River, required, or
at least resulted in, the modification of Lee's plan, and the adoption
of a new line on Long Island. It was now decided to hold the Brooklyn
peninsula with a chain of works thrown up across the neck from
Wallabout Bay to the Gowanus Marsh; and it was in this vicinity that
the encampment for Greene's brigade was marked out by Mifflin, the
quartermaster-general, and afterwards approved by Washington.[36] By
the fortunate recovery of the daily orders issued by General Greene on
Long Island, and also of original sketches of the site, it has become
possible to fix the location of this line and the names of the works
with almost entire accuracy.

[Footnote 36: General Orders, April 25th, 1776: "The encampment of the
Third Brigade to be marked out in like manner, upon Long Island, on
Saturday morning. The chief engineers, with the quartermasters, etc.,
from each regiment, to assist the quartermaster-general in that
service. As soon as the general has approved of the encampments marked
out, the troops will be ordered to encamp...."]

To defend the approach between the bay and marsh, the engineers laid
out three principal forts and two redoubts, with breastworks
connecting them. The site occupied was a favorable one. On the left
rose the high ground, now known as Fort Greene Place or Washington
Park, one hundred feet above the sea-level; and on the right, between
the main road and the marsh, were lower elevations on lands then owned
by Rutgert Van Brunt and Johannes Debevoise. The flanks were thus well
adapted for defence, and they were near enough each other to command
the ground between them. Two of the works were erected on the right of
the road, and received the names of Fort Greene and Fort Box; three
were on the left, and were known as the Oblong Redoubt, Fort Putnam,
and the redoubt "on its left." In view of the fact that local
historians heretofore have put but three fortifications on this line,
where, it is now well established, there were five, a more particular
description of them becomes necessary. Extending from right to left,
they were laid out as follows:[37]

[Footnote 37: Consult map accompanying this work, entitled "Plan of
the Battle of Long Island, and of the Brooklyn Defences in 1776;" also
the note in regard to it under the title "Maps," in Part II.]

FORT BOX.--It has been supposed that the fort by this name occupied an
independent site south-west of the main line, with the object of
defending Gowanus Creek where it was crossed by a mill-dam. That it
stood, however, on the right of the line is beyond question. Thus the
letter of a spectator of the battle[38] says: "Our lines fronted the
east. On the left, near the lowest part of the above-described bay
[Wallabout], was Fort Putnam, near the middle Fort Greene, and towards
the creek Fort Box." In his order of June 1st, General Greene directs
five companies to take post "upon the right in Fort Box;" and on
August 16th a fatigue party is detailed "to form the necessary lines
from Fort Box to Fort Putnam," clearly indicating that the two were on
the same continuous line. To confirm the correctness of this locality,
we have the fort and its name distinctly indicated on the outline map
sketched by President Stiles, of Yale College, in his Diary of
Revolutionary Events. By reference to the fac-simile of the sketch
here presented, it will be seen that although there are errors in the
drawing, the relative position of the principal works is preserved,
and the site of Fort Box finally determined. It stands nearest Gowanus
Creek, and on the right of the other forts. The work appears to have
been of a diamond shape, and was situated on or near the line of
Pacific Street, a short distance above Bond.[39]

[Footnote 38: "Memoirs of the Long Island Historical Society," vol.
ii., p. 494. "Battle of Long Island." By Thomas W. Field.]

[Footnote 39: As the British demolished all the Brooklyn works very
soon after their capture, it would be difficult to fix the exact site
of some of them, but for data which have been preserved. That they
were destroyed is certain. Baurmeister, the Hessian major, states that
Howe directed the Hessian division to level the "Brocklands-Leinen,"
but recalled the order when General De Heister represented that "this
could not be done by soldiers without compensation, especially as it
would be the work of four weeks." According to tradition, the
inhabitants levelled them by Howe's orders. General Robertson
testified in 1779 that "there were no vestiges of the lines soon after
they were taken." Cornwallis on the same occasion said that, being
detached to Newtown after the battle, he had "no opportunity of going
to Brooklyn till the lines were nearly demolished." But with the
assistance of Lieutenant Ratzer's accurate topographical map of New
York and Brooklyn of 1766-7, the Hessian map published in vol. ii. of
the Society's _Memoirs_, the plan of the lines thrown up in the 1812
war, and other documents, the forts of 1776 can readily be located.
Ratzer's map shows all the elevations where works would naturally be
put; and the Hessian map, which is a reduction of Ratzer's, adds the
works. The accuracy of the latter, which heretofore could not be
proved, is now established by the fact that the position of the forts
corresponds to the location assigned them relatively in Greene's
orders. There can be little doubt that this map was made from actual
surveys soon after the battle, and that the shape as well as the site
of the works and lines is preserved in it. Another guide is the 1812
line as marked out by Lieutenant Gadsden, of the Engineer Corps. A
copy of the original plan of this line, furnished by the War
Department, shows a close correspondence with the Hessian draft. The
same points are fortified in each case. Fort "Fireman" of 1812
occupies the site, or very nearly the site, of Fort Box; Fort
"Masonic," that of Fort Greene; Redoubt "Cummings," that of the Oblong
Redoubt; and "Fort Greene," that of Fort Putnam. The site of the
"redoubt on the left" was inclosed, in 1812, in the outer intrenchment
which was carried around the brow of the hill. Although the British
obliterated all marks of the Brooklyn defences of 1776, we thus find
nature and the records enabling us to re-establish them to-day.]



Yale College Library.

_"From one who was stationed at Red Hook all last Summer together with
a Map of the ground, I learn our Fortifications there were as I here
draw them out on the Peninsula around Brooklyn Church." Dr. Stiles,
March 21, 1777._

_J. Bien Photo. Lith. N.Y._]

As to its name, we must assume that it was called Fort Box in honor of
Major Daniel Box, Greene's brigade-major (an office corresponding to
the present assistant adjutant-general), whose services were then
highly appreciated. Box first appears as an old British soldier, who
had been wounded in the French war, and afterwards as an organizer and
drill-master of Independent companies in Rhode Island, which
subsequently furnished many fine officers to the Continental army.[40]
In a letter to Colonel Pickering in 1779, Greene speaks of him in
flattering terms, as having been invaluable in the earlier years of
the war. That he was something of an engineer, as well as an
excellent brigade-major, is evident from the fact that he assisted in
marking out the lines around Boston in 1775, and later superintended
the construction of Fort Lee, on the Jersey side. No doubt he had much
to say about the building of the Brooklyn lines, and of the work in
particular which bore his name.

[Footnote 40: MS. letter of General Greene to Colonel Pickering,
August 24, 1779, in possession of Prof. Geo. Washington Greene, East
Greenwich, L.I.]

FORT GREENE.--About three hundred yards to the left of Fort Box, a
short distance above Bond Street, between State and Schermerhorn,
stood Fort Greene, star-shaped, mounting six guns, and provided with a
well and magazines. Colonel Little, its commander, describes it as the
largest of the works on Long Island; and this statement is
corroborated by the fact that its garrison consisted of an entire
regiment, which was not the case with the other forts, and that it was
provided with nearly double the number of pikes. It occupied an
important position on one of the small hills near the centre of that
part of the line lying south-west of Washington Park, and its guns
commanded the approach by the Jamaica highway. Being the principal
work on the line, the engineers, or possibly Little's regiment, named
it after their brigade commander.

OBLONG REDOUBT.--Still further to the left, and on the other side of
the road, a small circular redoubt, called the "Oblong Redoubt," was
thrown up on what was then a piece of rising ground at the corner of
De Kalb and Hudson avenues. The reason of its name is not apparent.
Greene's orders refer to it as the "Oblong Square" and the "Oblong
Redoubt." Major Richard Thorne, of Colonel Remsen's Long Island
militia, speaks of being on guard at "Fort Oblong" all night a short
time before the battle.[41] This redoubt had very nearly direct
command of the road, and in connection with Fort Greene was depended
upon to defend the centre of the line.

[Footnote 41: "_Force_," Fifth Series, vol. ii., p. 202.]

FORT PUTNAM.--From the Oblong Redoubt, the line ascended
north-easterly to the top of the hill included in Washington Park,
where the fourth in the chain of works was erected. This was Fort
Putnam. Star-shaped like Fort Greene, it was somewhat smaller than the
latter, and mounted four or five garrison guns. Its strong natural
position, however, made it the salient point of the line, and it
became, as will be seen, the main object of attack by the British
during and after the battle.[42] The fort may have taken its name, as
usually supposed, from Major-General Israel Putnam; but it is
altogether more probable that it was named after Colonel Rufus Putnam,
the chief engineer, who marked out many of the works on Long Island as
well as in New York, and who must have frequently crossed to give
directions in their construction.

[Footnote 42: Mr. Field states that the site of Fort Putnam was
unfortunately overlooked by the high ground east of it, Greene and his
engineers probably not noticing the fact until after the woods were
cut down. The official surveys of the ground, made before it was
levelled, show no such commanding elevation, the Fort Putnam Hill
being as high as any _within range_; nor can we credit Greene or his
officers with fortifying a point which was untenable, or with not
observing that it was untenable. As the engineers of 1812 occupied the
same site, it could be safely concluded, were no surveys preserved,
that it was entirely defensible.]

REDOUBT ON THE LEFT.--At the eastern termination of the hill, a short
distance from Fort Putnam, and on a lower grade, stood the last of the
works, which is identified in the orders and letters of the day as the
"redoubt on the left." It was a small affair, and occupied a point at
about the middle of the present Cumberland Street, nearly midway
between Willoughby and Myrtle avenues; but in 1776 the site was twenty
feet higher, and appeared as a well-defined spur extending out from
Fort Putnam. As it was commanded by the latter, its capture by the
enemy would bring them no advantage, while as an American defence it
could materially assist in protecting the left.

Between these five works a line of connecting intrenchments was laid
out, while on the right it was to be continued from Fort Box to the
marsh, and on the left from the Fort Putnam Hill, "in a straight
line," to the swamp at the edge of Wallabout Bay. Anticipating their
construction, we may say that each work became a complete
fortification in itself, being surrounded with a wide ditch, provided
with a sally-port, its sides lined with sharpened stakes, the garrison
armed with spears to repel storming parties, and the work supplied
with water and provisions to withstand a siege if necessary. The
greater part of the line was picketed with abattis, and the woods cut
down to give full sweep to the fire of the guns. As every thing
depended upon holding this front, the necessity of making it as strong
as possible was fully realized, and at the time of the engagement in
August it was considered a sufficient barrier to the enemy's

[Footnote 43: Some important and interesting information relative to
the main line at Brooklyn was brought out in 1779 at the examination
of Captain John Montressor, before the Parliamentary Committee which
investigated Howe's conduct of the war. Montressor was a British army
engineer, acting as Howe's aid on Long Island. Being one of the
general's witnesses, he naturally made out the American position as
strong as possible, but the main facts of his testimony are to be
accepted. The examination was in part as follows:

"_Q._ Can you give a particular account of the state of those
[Brooklyn] lines?

_A._ Yes--the lines were constructed from Wallabout Bay, on one side
to a swamp that intersects the land between the main land and Read
Hook, which terminates the lines. The lines were about a mile and a
half in extent, including the angles, cannon proof, with a chain of
five redoubts, or rather fortresses, with ditches, as had also the
lines that formed the intervals, raised on the parapet and the
counterscarp, and the whole surrounded with the most formidable

_Q._ Were those lines finished on every part, from the swamp formed by
the Wallabout on the left, to the swamp on the right?

_A._ Yes.

_Q._ Do you know the particulars of the left part of the line towards
the Wallabout? Have you any reason for knowing that?

_A._ The line runs straight from the rising ground where Fort Putnam
was constructed, in a straight line to the swamp that terminates
itself at the bottom of Wallabout Bay.

_Q._ Was there a possibility of a single man's passing round the left
part of the line?

_A._ There was not. After entering the lines, Sir William Howe, on the
enemy's evacuating, followed the road to the point, to examine and see
if he could get out at that part, which he could not do, and we were
obliged to return and go out of a sally port of the lines....

_Q._ Can you say of your own knowledge, that the right redoubt of the
lines at Brooklyn had an abattis before it?

_A._ I have already said that the whole had an abattis before it.

[He produces an actual survey of the lines.]...

_Q._ If any one of these redoubts were taken, did not they flank the
line in such a manner to the right and left that the enemy could not
remain in the lines?

_A._ I have already said, that they could not be taken by assault, but
by approaches, as they were rather fortresses than redoubts."--_A View
of the Evidence Relative to the Conduct of the American War under Sir
William Howe_, etc.; second edition; London, 1779. _Manual of the
Corporation of the City of New York_, 1870, p. 884.

The maps in the early London editions of Gordon's and Stedman's
histories of the war, each put _five_ fortifications on the line from
the Wallabout to Gowanus Creek.]

FORT COBBLE HILL.--Passing to the remaining works on Long Island, we
find a redoubt on the crest of a cone-shaped hill, which stood alone
near the intersection of the present Court and Atlantic streets, and
which was known by the Dutch inhabitants as _Punkiesberg_. As it does
not appear to have been called Cobble Hill before this date, the
reasonable inference may be drawn that it was so named by Greene's
troops because of its close resemblance to the Cobble Hill which
formed one of the fortified points in the siege of Boston, but a short
distance from Winter Hill, where Greene's brigade was posted. In the
orders of the day, the redoubt is known as "Smith's barbette,"
Captain William Smith, the engineer whom Lee brought with him, having
it in charge. The work mounted four guns, and, from its central
interior position, could have prevented the enemy from securing a
foothold on the peninsula in the rear or flank of the main line in
case they effected a landing back of Red Hook or crossed Gowanus Creek
above. This hill was long since cut away.[44]

[Footnote 44: One of Greene's orders refers to this fort as follows:
"_Camp on Long Island, July 19, 1776._--The works on Cobble Hill being
greatly retarded for want of men to lay turf, few being acquainted
with that service, all those in Colonel Hitchcock's and Colonel
Little's regiments, that understand that business, are desired to
voluntarily turn out every day, and they shall be excused from all
other duty, and allowed one half a pint of rum a day." Two guns fired
from Cobble Hill were to be the signal that the enemy had landed on
Long Island.]

REDOUBT AT THE MILL.--Near the corner of the present Degraw and Bond
streets, a small battery or breastwork, in the form of a right angle,
mounting one gun, was thrown up to cover the narrow passage over a
mill-dam which here crossed Gowanus Creek. It stood at the extremity
of a long low sand-hill, and the dam connected this point with a
tongue of land on the opposite side, on which two mills were built,
known as the upper or yellow, and lower mills. The upper mill was
immediately opposite the redoubt, and it was here that the Port Road
came down to the edge of the creek.

RED HOOK--FORT DEFIANCE.--This work, already referred to, was
originally a single water battery, mounting four eighteen-pounders,
_en barbette_, to prevent the passage of ships east of Governor's
Island, as well as to keep the enemy from landing at the southern
extremity of the peninsula. Washington speaks of it in May as being "a
small, but exceedingly strong" fort. Lieutenant Samuel Shaw, of Knox's
artillery, who was stationed there most of the summer, states that it
was named "Fort Defiance," and subsequently strengthened by additional
works, which, from the Hessian map and the Stiles draft, appear to
have consisted of a second and larger redoubt connected with the first
by an intrenchment or inclosed way.[45] On the 5th of July, Greene
wrote to Washington that he regarded Red Hook as "a post of vast
importance," and proposed stationing a considerable force there
permanently, as in that case the commanding officer would be "more
industrious to have every thing in readiness, and obstinate in
defence" when the attack came; and on the 8th we find the order for
"Col. Varnum's regiment to remove their encampment to Red Hook, and do
the duty of that post."

[Footnote 45: "Our fort [Defiance] is much strengthened by new works
and more troops, and it is in so good a posture of defence, that it
would be almost impossible to take it either by attack or surprise. To
guard against the latter, each man is every other night on
duty."--_Memoir of Samuel Shaw_, p. 17.]

FORT STIRLING.--The first work laid out on Long Island, as we have
seen, was Fort Stirling, which, in connection with batteries on the
New York side, was designed to command the East River channel. Its
exact site has been a point of dispute. Several writers and old
inhabitants associate the name with the remains of a large
fortification which stood at the corner of Henry and Pierrepont
streets as late as 1836. It is clear, however, that this was a work
erected by the British during the latter part of the Revolution.
General Robertson, acting as Governor of New York in 1780, wrote to
Lord Germaine, May 18th, that, among other works thrown up to make New
York more secure against an attack by the Americans, "a large square
fort is built at Brooklyn Heights."[46] The traveller Smyth, writing
in the same year, says, "The town [New York] is entirely commanded by
a considerable eminence in Long Island, directly opposite to it, named
Brookland Heights, on which a strong regular fort with four bastions
has lately been erected by the British troops." This exactly describes
the work in question.[47] The corner of Henry and Pierrepont streets,
moreover, being a thousand feet back from the river's edge, could not
have been selected at that time as the site for a strictly water
battery intended for effective resistance. The fort must be looked for
nearer the edge of the bluff, and there we find it. Both the Stiles
and the Hessian maps place it directly on the bank of the river--the
latter, a little north of what was then known as the Bamper House, or
at about the intersection of Clark and Columbia streets.[48]

[Footnote 46: _Documents, Col. Hist. of New York_, vol. viii., p.

[Footnote 47: The recollections and incidents preserved by Stiles and
Furman go to show that this was not an American-built fort.--_Stiles'
Brooklyn_, vol. i., pp. 314, 315.]

[Footnote 48: A return of the batteries around New York, March 24th,
describes Fort Stirling as opposite the "Fly Market" in Maiden Lane
[_Force_, Fourth Series, vol. v., p. 480]. Clark, Pineapple, and
Orange streets, Brooklyn, can all be called "opposite" Maiden Lane in
New York. The Hessian map puts the fort nearest the line of Clark.]

The fort was a strong inclosed work, mounting eight guns. Ward's men
broke ground for it about the 1st of March, and continued digging, as
their major, Douglas, writes, through "cold, tedious weather," until
other troops took their place.[49]

[Footnote 49: The work, which was to be known as the _Citadel_, was in
all probability the "redoubte commencé," or unfinished fort, indicated
on the Hessian map in the rear and to the south of Fort Stirling. The
site corresponds with that of the British fort of 1780, corner of
Henry and Pierrepont streets, which was then, as it still is, the
highest point on Brooklyn Heights, and hence the natural position for
a citadel or commanding fortification. Stirling, in his letter to the
President of Congress of March 14, says: "The work [Fort Stirling]
first begun on Long Island opposite to this city is almost completed,
and the cannon carried over. The grand citadel there will be marked
out to-morrow, and will be begun by the inhabitants of King's County
and Colonel Ward's Regiment."

The list of batteries, March 24th, contains a note to the effect that
a citadel covering five acres, called the _Congress_, was to be built
in the rear of Fort Stirling. Major Fish writes, April 9th: "There are
_two_ fortifications on Long Island opposite this city, to command the
shipping." One of these was Fort Stirling--the other, undoubtedly, the
citadel then in process of construction. The latter, though not in as
favorable a position for the purpose as the former, could still fire
on ships entering the river.

The position of these two works, taken in connection with Lee's plan
of forming an intrenched camp on Long Island, fortified with a chain
of redoubts, which, according to one of his letters, were to be three
in number, indicates quite clearly that this general intended to hold
simply the heights along the river. The facts fail to bear out the
supposition that the lines, as finally adopted on Long Island, were of
Lee's planning. Work on the citadel was probably discontinued, because
his plan was so much enlarged as to make that fortification

       *       *       *       *       *

Greene's soldiers, whose experience around Boston had made them
veterans, at least in the use of the spade, now went to work to throw
up these lines. He reminded them early of the importance of the post,
and the necessity of preparation and vigilance. "As the security of
New York greatly dependeth on this _pass_," runs his order of May 5th,
"while these works are constructing, the general hopes the troops will
carefully forward the same as fast as possible;" and this he followed
up with the caution that if any soldier left his work without liberty,
he should do fatigue duty for a whole week. Orders from headquarters
in New York at the same time directed General Greene to report "all
extraordinaries" to the commander-in-chief; the officers at Red Hook
and Governor's Island to do the same; and the officer commanding the
riflemen on Long Island to "constantly report all extraordinaries to
General Greene." Although no enemy had yet appeared, every regiment in
the army was ordered to mount a picket every evening, to lie on their
arms, and be ready to turn out at a moment's notice.

It is possible to follow the troops on Long Island in their routine of
camp life all through the tedious summer they were to spend on this
ground. Digging was the main thing at first, and they had so much of
this that the officers complained of their inability to keep the men
in clothes, they wore them out so fast, and they made themselves so
begrimed with dirt at the trenches, that the allowance of soap would
not clean them; all which moved Greene to write to Washington that it
would be no more than "a piece of justice to the troops" to allow them
a double quantity of soap. Their encampment, in the rear of the lines,
appears to have been a pleasant one. The soldiers lived in bell-shaped
tents with board floors, and varied their regulation fare with the
produce of the Dutch farms; with the permission of their
field-officers they could occasionally cross on a visit to the city.
Their general, however, held them closely to duty, and we find in
these early orders the beginnings of that strictness which
subsequently made him known, with his other soldierly qualities, as a
thorough disciplinarian. No enemy being near them, the men, when put
on guard, perhaps relaxed even ordinary vigilance; but they were soon
brought up sharply by the general, with the direction that every part
of camp duty must be done with as much exactness as if the British
were in their front, for bad habits once contracted, they are told,
"are difficult to get over, and doing duty in a slovenly manner is
both disgraceful and dangerous to officers and men." They were sure of
being watched, too, by Lieutenant-Colonel Cornell, of Hitchcock's
regiment, whose habit of reprimanding the men for every neglect had
won for him the title of "Old Snarl" throughout the camp;[50] but his
subsequent promotion to offices of responsibility showed that in other
quarters his particular qualities were appreciated. As the warm
season came on, Greene cautioned his soldiers about their health. The
"colormen" were to keep the camps clean, and look after the hospitals.
Many soldiers being down with fever in July, the general recommends
"the strictest attention to the cookery, and that broiling and frying
meat, so destructive to health, be prohibited;" going into the water
in the heat of the day is also forbidden. A neglect of these matters
at this critical season, Greene continues, "may be attended with
dreadful consequences."

[Footnote 50: _Letter from General Greene written at Fort Lee. Mrs.
Williams' Life of Olney._]

Occasionally it was found necessary to give the soldiers a sharp
reproof for insulting the inhabitants or trespassing on their
property. When the complaint was brought to Greene that some of his
men had been stealing watermelons, he promptly issued an order that
such practices must be punished. "A few unprincipled rascals," he
said, "may ruin the reputation of a whole corps of virtuous men;" and
on another occasion he called upon the soldiers to behave themselves
"with that decency and respect that became the character of troops
fighting for the preservation of the rights and liberties of America."
Perhaps the offenders found an excuse for their conduct in the Tory
character of the complainants; but Greene, though no friend himself to
such people, could never accept this as a provocation to justify a
breach of military discipline.

The Tory element in the population required other and sterner
treatment.[51] It had developed to such an extent in Kings and Queens
counties as to require its suppression by the civil and military power
combined. The refusal of the majority of the voters in Queens to send
delegates to the New York Provincial Convention in 1775 indicated not
only a confidence on their part that the Home Government would succeed
in crushing the rebellion, but a secret intention as well to give the
British troops upon their arrival all the aid and comfort in their
power. As they provided themselves with arms and the British fleet
with provisions, the Continental Congress took up the matter, ordered
the arrest of the leaders, and dispatched Colonel Heard, of New
Jersey, with a regiment of militia to execute the business. Arrests
were made, but the complete suppression of the loyalists here was
never effected.

[Footnote 51: A history of the Tories on Long Island and in New
York--the trouble they gave in the present campaign, and the measures
taken for their suppression--properly forms a subject by itself. The
scope of the present work admits of but brief allusions to them.
However honest this class of the population may have been in taking
sides with the British, and whatever sympathy may be expressed for
them in their trials, losses, and enforced dispersion during and at
the end of the war, there was obviously no course left to the
Americans, then in the midst of a deadly struggle, but to treat them
as a dangerous and obstructive set. The New York Provincial Congress,
in the fall of the year and later, dealt with them unsparingly; and no
man wished to see the element rooted out more than John Jay--a fact to
be borne in mind by those who condemn Lee and other American officers
for attempting to banish the Long Island Tories, as a military
precaution, in the early part of the year.]

While Lee was in command he saw no solution of the problem other than
to remove the entire Tory population to some other quarter where they
could do less mischief in the event of active operations; but
Congress, to the regret of Washington, could not sanction so radical a
method. Greene did his best to root out this element, but we may
imagine that it was uncongenial work, and that he took far more
interest in the progress of his redoubts than in chasing suspected
persons on the island.[52]

[Footnote 52: What General Greene thought of the Tories, and what
treatment he proposed in certain cases, appears from a report on the
subject signed by Generals Heath, Spencer, Greene, and Stirling, and
submitted to Washington towards the close of June: "With regard to the
disaffected inhabitants who have lately been apprehended," say these
officers, "we think that the method at present adopted by the County
Committee, of discharging them on their giving bonds as a security for
their good behavior, is very improper and ineffectual, and therefore
recommend it to your Excellency to apply to the Congress of this
province to take some more effectual method of securing the good
behavior of those people, and in the mean time that your Excellency
will order the officers in whose custody they are to discharge no more
of them until the sense of the Congress be had thereon."--_Journals of
the N.Y. Prov. Congress_, vol. ii.

On this subject Colonel Huntington wrote to Governor Trumbull, June
6th, as follows: "Long Island has the greatest proportion of Tories,
both of its own growth and of adventitious ones, of any part of this
colony; from whence some conjecture that the attack is to be made by
that way. It is more likely to be so than not. Notwithstanding the
vigilance of our outposts, we are sure there is frequent intercourse
between the Asia and the shore, and that they have been supplied with
fresh meat. New guards have lately been set in suspected places, which
I hope will prevent any further communication."--_Force_, 4th Series,
vol. vi., p. 725.]

By the 1st of June the works around Brooklyn appear to have so far
progressed as to admit of the mounting of some of the cannon, and on
the evening of that date the troops were ordered to parade with arms
and man the lines. On the 17th the general assigned them to permanent
positions as follows:

     "Colonel Varnum's regiment is to take Fort Box and the
     Oblong Redoubt for their alarm-posts--Fort Box, six
     companies; Oblong Redoubt, two companies. Captain
     Wolverton's Independent Company[53] to join those in the
     redoubt, and to receive orders from Colonel Varnum.

     Colonel Hitchcock's regiment to take Fort Putnam and the
     fort or redoubt on the left of it for their alarm-posts.

     Colonel Little's regiment to take Fort Greene for their

[Footnote 53: This was a company of New Jersey Minute-men from Essex
County, which had been sent over to Long Island on May 17th.]

To impress his soldiers with his own sense of the great importance of
the Long Island front, Greene added the determined words: "In case of
an attack, _all these posts are to be defended to the last
extremity_." And Colonel Little, who had proved his fitness to command
the post assigned him by his cool and soldierly conduct at Bunker
Hill, quietly resolved that if the enemy assaulted Fort Greene it
should never be surrendered while he was alive.[54]

[Footnote 54: Colonel Little to his son. Doc. No. 9.]

Guards were now stationed at the forts and greater vigilance enjoined
about the camp. Even as early as May 25th, when the works were still
far from complete, the orders were strict that none but a general
officer should be admitted to them without special leave. The lines
were to be manned every morning "between day and sunrise," and the
troops exercised at parapet firing. The orders of July 1st directed
the commanding officers of the regiments "to make a line round each of
the forts and fortifications for the troops to begin a fire on the
enemy if they attempt to storm the works, and the troops are to be
told not to fire sooner than the enemy's arrival at these lines,
unless commanded. The line should be about eighty yards from the
parapet." The officers of the guards were to be accountable for every
thing in the forts, but particularly for the rum lodged there for the
use of the men in time of action. Provisions also were to be supplied
to each alarm-post "in case of siege," and the water-casks kept
constantly full of fresh water. To assure the effectiveness of the
means of defence, one hundred spears were to be placed in Fort Greene,
thirty in the works to the right, twenty in the Oblong Redoubt, fifty
in Fort Putnam, and twenty to the left of it.

And so the work went on under Greene's eye, and by the middle of
summer his troops[55] had inclosed themselves on the Brooklyn
peninsula, with lines which, though unfinished, were still of very
respectable strength.

[Footnote 55: It is a somewhat singular fact, indicating perhaps the
scantiness of our material heretofore, that none of the local accounts
of operations on Long Island mention either Hitchcock's, Varnum's, or
Little's regiments in any connection, whereas these, with Hand's,
formed the permanent garrison on that side and threw up the greater
part of the works.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Recrossing the river to New York, we find the other brigades there at
work as uninterruptedly as Greene's on Long Island. The many
well-known "general orders" issued by the commander-in-chief during
this season testify to the great amount of fatigue duty performed by
the troops. Washington regretted that the necessity for it left so
little opportunity for drilling and he urged his officers to make the
most of what time they had for this purpose. But his chief anxiety was
to have the defences pushed on, and by the middle of June the
principal works were completed or well under way. The location and
names of these are indicated in the orders and maps of the day.[56]
Beginning on the North River side and continuing around the city, they
were as follows:

[Footnote 56: In locating the works in New York City, the writer
follows the list of batteries reported March 24th, 1776 (Force, 4th
Series, vol. v., p. 480); Putnam's order of May 22d, naming the
several works; Knox's artillery returns of June 10th, giving the
number of guns in each; and Hills' map of the fortifications, drawn at
the close of the war. The first list shows the works as they stood at
about the time the Boston troops came down, and which Lee had planned.
There are alterations and additions in Putnam's and Knox's lists,
which are to be followed where they differ from the list of March
24th. Although many other works were erected, no names appear to have
been attached to them, those only being designated which occupied the
most important points and were provided with guns and garrisons.

The Hills map is indispensable in this connection. John Hills,
formerly a British engineer, surveyed the city and island of New York
as far as Thirty-fourth Street in 1782, and in 1785 made a careful map
of the same, which John Lozier, Esq., presented to the Common Council
in 1847. This is still preserved, and is consulted at times for
official purposes. In addition to giving all the streets, blocks,
docks, and squares, Hills added all the works thrown up in and around
the city during the Revolution, giving their exact location and shape.
Part of the lines have a confused appearance, but they become clear on
referring to the following memorandum on the map: "All the works
colored yellow were erected by the Forces of the United States in
1776. Those works colored Orange were erected by Do and repaired by
the British Forces. Those works colored Green were erected by the
British Forces during the War." In the map of New York accompanying
the present work, Hills' "yellow" line has been followed, showing all
the American forts. Their location corresponds precisely with that
which Putnam gives, so far as he names them; and by projecting the
present streets over Hills' plan, it is possible to ascertain where
they stood in the plan of our modern city.]

GRENADIER BATTERY.--This was a "beautiful" circular battery, situated
on the bank of the North River where it ran out into a well-defined
bluff, at the corner of the present Washington and Harrison streets.
Captain Abraham Van Dyck's Grenadier Company of New York City
Independents built it while Lee and Stirling were in command, and
received the thanks of Washington in general orders for the skilful
manner in which they had executed their work. The fort mounted two
twelve-pounders and two mortars. The grenadier company was organized
by Stirling a few years before, when he lived in New York, and he
watched the construction of the battery with considerable pride. The
_Pennsylvania Gazette_ of May 8th, 1776, contains a letter from
Captain Van Dyck to Stirling, informing him of the completion of the
work, and desiring "the approbation of their former captain." Stirling
replied that he had frequently admired the battery, and reflected with
"real satisfaction" on the hour when he formed the company.

JERSEY BATTERY.--A short distance below, on the line of Reade Street,
just west of Greenwich, stood the Jersey Battery--a five-sided work,
mounting two twelve and three thirty-two pounders. A line of
intrenchments connected these two batteries, and, extending beyond on
either side, made the position a particularly strong one. Their guns
had the range of the bank up and down the river, and could enfilade an
enemy attempting to land in that vicinity.

McDOUGALL'S AND THE OYSTER BATTERY.--The works next below on the
Hudson consisted of two batteries situated on the high ground in the
rear and to the south of Trinity Church. The one on the bluff near the
church, or on the line of the present Rector Street, a little east of
Greenwich, was known under Stirling as McDougall's Battery; but this
name does not appear in the return of June 10th, and in its place in
the order of the works we have the "Oyster" Battery. It is possible
that this was the work a little south of McDougall's, at the
intersection of the present Morris and Greenwich streets. Its location
is described by Putnam in May as "behind General Washington's
head-quarters."[57] It mounted two thirty-two-pounders and three
twelve-pounders. In March, McDougall's Battery was provided with six

[Footnote 57: WASHINGTON'S HEADQUARTERS IN NEW YORK.--This reference
creates some uncertainty as to the particular house occupied by
Washington in New York during the first part of the campaign. If the
site of the Oyster Battery were known exactly the house could be
identified. On the other hand, if headquarters, as generally supposed,
were at the Kennedy Mansion, No. 1 Broadway, then the battery should
have stood still lower down, at the corner of Battery Place and
Greenwich Street; but the Grand Battery terminated there, and Hills'
map shows no distinct battery at that point. Mr. Lossing states
("Field Book of the Rev.," vol. ii., p. 594, n.) that Washington, on
his first arrival in the city, took up his quarters at 180 Pearl,
opposite Cedar Street, his informant being a survivor of the
Revolution, and that, on his return from a visit to Philadelphia, June
6th, he went to the Kennedy House. That Washington, however, spent the
greater part of the summer at the "Mortier House," on Richmond Hill,
is well known. He was there on June 22d and probably much earlier, as
appears in _Force_, 4th Series, vol. vi., p. 1157, where one Corbie is
described as keeping a tavern "to the south-east of General
Washington's house, to the westward of Bayard's woods, and north of
Lispenard's meadows." The house referred to was the Mortier. From Mr.
Lossing's informant, and the reference in the orders of August 8th,
which speaks of the "old head-quarters on the Broadway," we may
conclude that Washington first put up at 180 Pearl Street; that if he
then went to the Kennedy House at all, it was but for a short time;
that it is more likely, from the position of the batteries, that the
house he did occupy was one of the two or three next above it; and
that in June he moved his quarters to the Mortier House, where he
remained until September 14th, when he went to the Morris Mansion at
Harlem Heights. The Kennedy House was Colonel Knox's artillery
headquarters during part if not all of the time, his wife being with
him there up to July 12th. (_Drake's Life of Knox._)]

FORT GEORGE AND THE GRAND BATTERY.--These works at the lower end of
the city had been pronounced almost useless by Lee, but as it was of
course necessary to include that point in the system of defence they
were repaired and greatly strengthened under Washington. In Fort
George were mounted two twelve-pounders and four thirty-two-pounders.
The walls of the Grand Battery were banked up from within, and mounted
thirteen thirty-two-pounders, one twenty-four-pounder, three
eighteen-pounders, two twelve-pounders, one thirteen-inch brass
mortar, two eight-inch and one ten-inch iron mortars.

WHITEHALL BATTERY.--A small work on the Whitehall dock on the East
River, and practically a continuation of the Grand Battery. It carried
two thirty-two-pounders.

WATERBURY'S BATTERY.--On the dock at the north-east angle of Catherine
and Cherry streets, mounting, in June, two twelve-pounders.

BADLAM'S REDOUBT.--On the hill above, south of Market and between
Madison and Monroe streets. It mounted seven guns in March, but
appears not to have been occupied later in the season.

SPENCER'S REDOUBT.--This was either the horseshoe redoubt at the
intersection of Monroe and Rutgers streets, or the larger star redoubt
between Clinton and Montgomery, east of Henry Street.[58] It mounted
two twelve-pounders and four field-pieces.

[Footnote 58: Spencer's Brigade probably built both works, as it was
stationed in the vicinity of both. Colonel John Trumbull, who was then
Spencer's brigade major, and afterwards in the Canada army, says in
the "Reminiscences" of his own time: "The brigade to which I was
attached was encamped on the (then) beautiful high ground which
surrounded Colonel Rutgers' seat near Corlear's Hook."]

JONES' HILL.--From Spencer's Redoubt a line of intrenchments extended
around along the crest of the high land above Corlear's Hook to a
circular battery on the northern slope of Jones' Hill, a little north
of the intersection of Broome and Pitt streets, and was pierced for
eight guns. During Stirling's command it was proposed to call this
fortification "Washington," but it was known subsequently simply as
Jones' Hill. From this battery the works continued along the line of
Grand Street to the Bowery, and included two more circular
batteries--one on Grand at the corner of Norfolk Street, and the other
near the corner of Grand and Eldridge streets.

BAYARD'S HILL REDOUBT.--Upon this commanding site, west of the Bowery,
where Grand and Mulberry streets intersect, was erected a powerful
irregular heptagonal redoubt, mounting eight nine-pounders, four three
pounders, and six royal and cohorn mortars. It had the range of the
city on one side and the approach by the Bowery on the other. Lasher's
New York Independent companies first broke ground for it about the 1st
of March, and continued digging there as well as on the redoubt around
the hospital until May 16th, when they were relieved, with
Washington's "thanks for their masterly manner of executing the work
on Bayard's Hill."[59] In the March return this battery is called the
"Independent Battery," and it also received the name of "Bunker Hill,"
which was retained by the British during their occupation; but its
proper name as an American fort was "Bayard's Hill Redoubt," this
having been given to it officially in general orders; and it was so
called in letters and orders repeatedly through the summer.

[Footnote 59: _Force_, 4th Series, vol. v., p. 492. Compare, also,
Documents 38 and 41.]

THOMPSON'S BATTERY.--This was the name given to the work thrown up at
Horn's Hook by Colonel Drake's Westchester minute-men soon after Lee's
arrival. It mounted eight pieces.[60]

[Footnote 60: This work stood at the foot of East Eighty-eighth
Street. See Document 41. Some ten years after the war, Archibald
Gracie occupied this site, and it became known as Gracie's Point. The
writer of a city guide-book in 1807, referring to Mr. Gracie, says:
"His superb house and gardens stand upon the very spot called
_Hornshook_, upon which a fort erected by the Americans in 1776 stood
till about the year 1794, when the present proprietor caused the
remains of the military works to be levelled, at great expense, and
erected on their rocky base his present elegant mansion and
appurtenances."--_The Picture of New York, etc., 1807, New York._]

GOVERNOR'S ISLAND.--The forts erected on this island were among the
strongest around New York. According to a letter from Colonel Prescott
of July 3d, they consisted of a citadel with outworks, and were
garrisoned during the latter part of the summer by Prescott's and
Nixon's regiments. The works mounted in June four thirty-two and four
eighteen pounders.

PAULUS OR POWLE'S HOOK.--The point of land on the New Jersey side,
opposite the city, and which is now the site in part of Jersey City.
Works were commenced here about May 20th, and in June they mounted
three thirty-two-pounders, three twelve-pounders, and two
three-pounder field-pieces.[61]

[Footnote 61: The fortifications erected at the upper part of the
island are noticed in Chapter V. Mr. Lossing, it should be said, gives
a very full list of the Revolutionary works in and around New York
("Field Book of the Rev.," vol. ii., p. 593), from which the list as
given here, based on Hills' map, differs in several particulars.]

In addition to these, several other redoubts were erected north of the
town, in which no cannon were mounted, and which had no names. They
were probably thrown up to be ready for occupation in case the enemy
succeeded in landing above the city. There was a circular battery at
the corner of Broome and Forsyth streets; another in the middle of
Broadway, opposite White Street; another, of octagonal shape, near the
corner of Spring and Mercer streets; a half-moon battery above this,
between Prince and Spring, on the line of Thompson Street; another on
the northwesterly continuation of Richmond Hill, at McDougall and
Houston streets; and still another on the river-bank, near the
junction of Christopher and Greenwich streets. The hospital on Duane
Street was strongly fortified, and breastworks were thrown up at
numerous points between and around the forts. On June 10th the entire
number of guns fit for service in and around New York was one hundred
and twenty-one, thirty-three of which were held as a reserve for field
service, "to be run where the enemy shall make their greatest
efforts." The mortars were nineteen in number.

As for barricades, the city was full of them. Some were built of
mahogany logs taken from West India cargoes. Not a street leading to
the water on either side that was not obstructed in this manner; so
that, had the enemy been able to gain a footing in the city under the
fire of their ships, they would still have found it, to use Lee's
expression, "a disputable field of battle." The City Hall Park was
almost entirely inclosed. There was a barrier across Broadway in front
of St. Paul's Church, another at the head of Vesey Street, and others
at the head of Barclay, Murray, and Warren. On the Park Row or Chatham
Street side a barricade stretched across Beekman Street; another, in
the shape of a right angle, stood in Printing House Square, one face
opposite Spruce Street, the other looking across the Presbyterian
churchyard and Nassau Street;[62] another ran across Frankfort
Street; another at the entrance of Centre Street; and still another
near it, facing Chatham Street.

[Footnote 62: One side of this barricade ran in front of the _Times_,
and the other in front of the _Tribune_ building.]

Another element in the defence was a motley little fleet, made up of
schooners, sloops, row-galleys, and whale-boats, and placed under the
command of Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin Tupper,[63] who had
distinguished himself by a naval exploit or two in Boston Harbor
during the siege. Crews were drafted from the regiments and assigned
to the various craft, whose particular mission was to scour the waters
along the New Jersey and Long Island coast, to watch for the British
fleets, and prevent communication between the Tories and the enemy's
ships already lying in the harbor. Tupper, as commodore, appears first
in the sloop Hester as his flag-ship, and later in the season in the
Lady Washington, while among his fleet were to be found the Spitfire,
General Putnam, Shark, and Whiting. The gallant commodore's earliest
cruises were made within the Narrows, along the Staten Island shore,
and as far down as Sandy Hook, where he attempted the feat of
destroying the light-house. But he found this structure, which the
enemy had occupied since Major Malcom dismantled it in March, a hard
piece of masonry to reduce. He attacked it confidently, June 21st,
after demanding its surrender, but retired when he found that an
hour's bombardment made no impression upon its walls.[64] He kept a
good lookout along these waters, gathered information from deserters,
and when reporting on one occasion that the enemy's fleet were short
of provisions and the men reduced to half allowance, he added, with
unction, "May God increase their wants!" A little later we meet again
with the adventuresome Tupper and his flotilla.

[Footnote 63: This officer was Lieutenant-Colonel of Jonathan Ward's
Massachusetts Regiment, and subsequently became colonel in the
Massachusetts Continental Line.]

[Footnote 64: _Force_, 4th Series, vol. vi., p. 1011.]

As the soldiers went on with their exacting duties, the monotony of
the routine was now and then relieved by some diversion or excitement.
One day there is "Tory-riding"[65] in the city, in which citizens
appear to have figured principally. Then the whole camp is startled by
the report that a "most accursed scheme" had come to light, just "on
the verge of execution," by which Washington and all his generals were
to have been murdered, the magazines blown up, and the cannon spiked
by hired miscreants in the army at the moment the enemy made their
grand attack upon the city.[66] Again, on the 9th of July, the
brigades are all drawn up on their respective parade-grounds, listen
to the reading for the first time of the Declaration of Independence,
and receive it, as Heath tells us, "with loud huzzas;" and, finally,
to celebrate the event, a crowd of citizens, "Liberty Boys," and
soldiers collect that evening at Bowling Green and pull down the
gilded statue of King George, which is then trundled to Oliver
Wolcott's residence at Litchfield, Ct., for patriotic ladies to
convert into bullets for the American soldiers.[67]

[Footnote 65: "_Thursday, 13th June._--Here in town very unhappy and
shocking scenes were exhibited. On Munday night some men called Tories
were carried and hauled about through the streets, with candles forced
to be held by them, or pushed in their faces, and their heads burned;
but on Wednesday, in the open day, the scene was by far worse;
several, and among them gentlemen, were carried on rails; some
stripped naked and dreadfully abused. Some of the generals, and
especially Pudnam and their forces, had enough to do to quell the
riot, and make the mob disperse."--_Pastor Shewkirk's Diary, Doc.

[Footnote 66: The particulars of this plot need hardly be repeated;
indeed, they were never fully known. It was discovered that an attempt
had been made to enlist American soldiers into the king's service, who
at the proper time should assist the enemy in their plans. They were
to spike cannon, blow up magazines, and, as at first reported,
assassinate our generals; but the latter design seems not to have been
proved, though universally believed. Governor Tryon and Mayor
Matthews, of the city, were suspected of furthering the plot and
furnishing the funds. Matthews was arrested at Flatbush by a party of
officers under Colonel Varnum, but the evidence against him was
insufficient. Among the soldiers implicated was Thomas Hickey, of
Washington's guard, who was tried by court-martial, found guilty of
sedition, mutiny, and correspondence with the enemy, and executed in
the presence of the army on June 28th. Something of the feeling
excited by the discovery of the plot is exhibited in the letter from
Surgeon Eustis of Colonel Knox's regiment (_Document_ 39). This is
better known as the "Hickey Plot."]

[Footnote 67: The following memorandum, preserved among Governor
Wolcott's papers, is of interest in this connection:

"An Equestrian Statue of George the Third of Great Britain was erected
in the City of New York on the Bowling Green at the lower end of
Broadway. Most of the materials were _lead_ but richly _gilded_ to
resemble gold. At the beginning of the Revolution this statue was
overthrown. Lead being then scarce and dear, the statue was broken in
pieces and the metal transported to Litchfield a place of safety. The
ladies of this village converted the Lead into Cartridges for the
Army, of which the following is an account. O.W.

Mrs. Marvin,                    Cartridges        6,058
Ruth Marvin,                        "            11,592
Laura Wolcott,                      "             8,378
Mary Ann Wolcott,                   "            10,790
Frederick   "                       "               936
Mrs. Beach,                         "             1,802
Made by sundry persons              "             2,182
Gave Litchfield Militia on alarm,                    50
Let the Regiment of Col. Wigglesworth have          300
                                                 42,088 Cartridges."]

       *       *       *       *       *

But now occurred a much more stirring and important event to engage
the attention of the army, and this was the arrival of the enemy. It
was full time for them to make their appearance. Nearly three months
and a half had elapsed since the evacuation of Boston; the spring and
a whole month of summer had gone; the best season for active movements
was passing rapidly; and unless the British began operations soon,
all hope of conquering America "in one campaign" would have to be
abandoned. Rumors of their coming took definite shape in the last week
of June, when word reached camp that an American privateer had
captured a British transport with more than two hundred Highlanders as
prisoners. On the 25th and 26th three or four large ships arrived off
Sandy Hook, one of which proved to be the Greyhound, with Sir William
Howe on board; on the 29th a fleet of forty-five sail anchored off the
same point, and four days later the number had increased to one
hundred and thirty.[68] This was the fleet from Halifax with Howe's
Boston veterans. Preparations were made to land them on the Long
Island coast near the Narrows; but on being informed that the
Americans were posted on a ridge of hills not far distant, Howe
disembarked his troops opposite on Staten Island,[69] and there went
into camp to wait the arrival of the reinforcements from England under
Admiral Howe. The middle of July saw these also encamped on the
island, with the fleet increased to nearly three hundred transports
and ships of war. On the 1st of August there was an unexpected arrival
in the shape of the discomfited expedition under Generals Clinton and
Cornwallis, that was to gain a foothold in the South;[70] and last of
all, on the 12th of August came the British Guards and De Heister's
Hessians, after a tedious voyage of thirteen weeks from Spithead,
completing Howe's force, and swelling the fleet in the Narrows to more
than four hundred ships. England had never before this sent from her
shores a more powerful military and naval armament upon foreign

[Footnote 68: "For two or three days past three or four ships have
been dropping in, and I just now received an express from an officer
appointed to keep a lookout on Staten Island, that forty-five arrived
at the Hook to-day--some say more; and I suppose the whole fleet will
be in within a day or two."--_Washington to Hancock, June 29th._]

[Footnote 69: Extract of a letter from an officer in the Thirty-fifth
Regiment at Staten Island, July 9th, 1776: "Our army consisted of 6155
effectives, on our embarkation at Halifax; they are now all safe
landed here, and our head-quarters are at your late old friend, Will
Hick's Mansion house."--_London Chronicle._]

[Footnote 70: The expedition sailed from Cork for the Cape River in
North Carolina, where Clinton joined it. It was expected that the
loyalists in the State would rise in sufficient numbers to give the
expeditionary corps substantial aid; but not over eighteen hundred
were mustered, and these under General McDonald were completely
defeated by the North Carolina Militia under Colonels Caswell and
Lillington at Moore's Creek Bridge on the 27th of February. The
expedition then moved against Charleston, S.C., and there met with the
famous repulse from Colonel Moultrie off Charleston Harbor on the 28th
of June. Clinton and Cornwallis after this could do nothing but join
Howe at New York.]

The arrival of the enemy hastened Washington's preparations. The
troops which Congress had called out to reinforce his army were coming
in too slowly, and expresses were sent to governors, assemblies, and
committees of safety, announcing the appearance of the enemy, and
urging in the most pressing terms the instant march of the
reinforcements to New York. To his soldiers with him the
commander-in-chief issued both warning and inspiring orders. On the 2d
of July, a few days after Howe arrived, he reminded them that the time
was at hand which would probably determine whether Americans were to
be freemen or slaves. "The fate of unborn millions," he said, "will
now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our
cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance
or the most abject submission. This is all we can expect. We have,
therefore, to resolve to conquer or die. Our country's honor calls
upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully
fail we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us, therefore,
rely upon the goodness of the cause and the aid of the Supreme Being,
in whose hands victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and
noble actions. The eyes of all our countrymen are now upon us, and we
shall have their blessings and praises, if happily we are the
instruments of saving them from the tyranny meditated against them....
Any officer or soldier, or any particular corps, distinguishing
themselves by any acts of bravery and courage, will assuredly meet
with notice and rewards; and, on the other hand, those who behave ill
will as certainly be exposed and punished: the general being resolved,
as well for the honor and safety of the country as of the army, to
show no favor to such as refuse or neglect their duty at so important
a crisis."

The digging still went on; the troops were ordered to keep their arms
in condition for immediate use; the officers cautioned to look after
the health of their men, as the season was excessively warm and
sickly; and every attention to necessary details enjoined.

       *       *       *       *       *

In addition to their military and naval commands, the two Howes were
invested by their government with extraordinary powers as civil
commissioners. They were authorized to issue pardons, and to open up
the question of reconciliation and a peaceable settlement of the
troubles; but their first advances in a civil capacity completely
failed, though not without furnishing an entertaining episode. On the
14th of July they dispatched an officer in a barge with a
communication for General Washington. The barge was detained by one of
Commodore Tupper's boats in the harbor until Washington's pleasure in
regard to it could be known. Suspecting, by previous experience at
Boston, that Howe would not recognize his military title, Washington
consulted a few of his officers in the matter, and it was the
unanimous opinion that should the communication be addressed to him as
a private individual it could not, with propriety, be received.
Colonel Reed, the adjutant-general, and Colonel Knox immediately went
down the bay and met the British officer. The latter, with hat in
hand, bowed politely and said to Colonel Reed, "I have a letter from
Lord Howe to Mr. Washington." "Sir," replied Reed, "we have no person
in our army with that address." "But will you look at the address?"
continued the officer, at the same time taking out of his pocket a
letter marked



"No, sir," said Reed, "I cannot receive that letter." "I am very
sorry," returned the officer, "and so will be Lord Howe, that any
error in the superscription should prevent the letter being received
by _General Washington_." "Why, sir," replied Reed, whose instructions
were positive not to accept such a communication, "I must obey
orders;" and the officer, finding it useless to press the matter,
could only repeat the sentiment, "Oh! yes, sir, you must obey orders,
to be sure." Then, after exchanging letters from prisoners, the
officers saluted and separated. The British barge had gone but a short
distance when it quickly put about, and the officer asked by what
particular title Washington chose to be addressed. Colonel Reed
replied, "You are sensible, sir, of the rank of General Washington in
our army." "Yes, sir, we are," said the officer; "I am sure my Lord
Howe will lament exceedingly this affair, as the letter is quite of a
civil nature, and not of a military one. He laments exceedingly that
he was not here a little sooner." Reed and Knox supposed this to be an
allusion to the Declaration of Independence, but making no reply, they
again bowed, and parted, as Knox says, "in the most genteel terms

[Footnote 71: _Colonel Knox to his wife._--_Drake's Life of Gen.
Knox_, p. 131.]

But Howe was unwilling to have the matter dropped in this fashion, and
on the 20th he sent his adjutant-general, Lieutenant-Colonel
Patterson, to hold an interview with Washington in person, if
possible, and urge him to receive the letter and also to treat about
the exchange of prisoners. Patterson landed at the Battery, and was
conducted to Colonel Knox's quarters at the Kennedy House, without the
usual formality of having his eyes blindfolded. Washington, "very
handsomely dressed"[72] and making "a most elegant appearance,"
received him with his suite, and listened attentively while Patterson,
interspersing his words at every other breath with "May it please your
Excellency," explained the address on the letter by saying that the
etc. etc. appended meant every thing. "And, indeed, it might mean any
thing," replied Washington, as Patterson then proceeded to say, among
other things, that the benevolence of the king had induced him to
appoint General and Admiral Howe his commissioners to accommodate the
unhappy disputes; that it would give them great pleasure to effect
such an accommodation, and that he (Colonel Patterson) wished to have
that visit considered as preliminary to so desirable an object.
Washington replied that he himself was not vested with any authority
in the case; that it did not appear that Lord Howe could do more than
grant pardons, and that those who had committed no fault wanted no
pardons, as they were simply defending what they deemed their
indisputable rights.[73] Further conversation followed, when
Patterson, rising to leave, asked, "Has your Excellency no particular
commands with which you would please to honor me to Lord and General
Howe?" "Nothing," replied Washington, "but my particular compliments
to both;" and, declining to partake of a collation prepared for the
occasion, the British adjutant-general took his departure. Again the
king's "commissioners" had failed, and Washington had preserved the
dignity of the young nation and his own self-respect as the commander
of its armies.

[Footnote 72: "General Washington was very handsomely dressed, and
made a most elegant appearance. Colonel Patterson appeared awe-struck,
as if he was before something supernatural. Indeed, I don't wonder at
it. He was before a very great man, indeed."--_Ibid._ p. 132.]

[Footnote 73: Memorandum of an interview between General Washington
and Colonel Patterson.--_Sparks' Washington_, vol. iv., p. 510.]

An incident, of greater moment as a military affair, and which
disturbed Washington as much as the Patterson interview must have
diverted him, was the easy passage, on the 12th of July, of two of the
British men-of-war, the Rose and Phoenix, past all the batteries,
unharmed, up the North River. Taking advantage of a brisk breeze and
running tide, the ships with their tenders sailed rapidly up from the
Narrows, and to avoid the fire of the batteries as much as possible
kept near the Jersey shore. The American artillerists opened upon them
with all their guns along the river, but could do them no serious
damage, while by accident, in their haste to load the pieces, six of
their own gunners were killed. The ships sent many shots into the
city, some crashing through houses but doing no other injury, while
the roar of the cannon frightened the citizens who had not already
moved away, and caused more to go.[74] At the upper end of the
island, around Fort Washington, where the batteries and river
obstructions were as yet incomplete, the ships suffered still less
harm, and sailing by, anchored safely in the broad Tappan Bay above.
Their object was to cut off the supplies which came down the river to
Washington's army, and, as supposed, to encourage the loyalists in the
upper counties and supply them with arms. Washington acknowledged that
the event showed the weakness and inadequacy of the North River line
of defences, and reported to Congress that it developed a possible
plan of attack by the British upon his rear. Measures were taken to
annoy if not destroy the ships, and, on the 3d of August, Commodore
Tupper, with four of his sloops and schooners, boldly attacked the
enemy, but though, as Washington wrote, "our officers and men, during
the whole affair, behaved with great spirit and bravery," neither side
sustained serious damage. On the night of the 16th two fire-rafts were
directed against the ships, which were successful so far as to destroy
one of the tenders; and on the 18th the enemy weighed anchor and
returned to the Narrows as readily as they came up.

[Footnote 74: On August 17th Washington requested the New York
Convention to remove the women, children, and infirm persons, as the
city was likely soon to be "the scene of a bloody conflict." He stated
that when the Rose and Phoenix sailed past, "the shrieks and cries
of these poor creatures, running every way with their children, was
truly distressing." Pastor Shewkirk says: "This affair caused a great
fright in the city. Women and children, and some with their bundles,
came from the lower parts and walked to the Bowery, which was lined
with people."]

It was now apparent that the great struggle between the two armies
could be postponed no longer, and no day after the arrival of the
Hessians passed that the British attack was not looked for. The orders
of August 8th cautioned the men to be at their quarters, "especially
early in the morning or upon the tide of flood," when the enemy's
fleet might be expected, and every preparation was made to resist the
landing of the British at any point upon Manhattan Island.[75]

[Footnote 75: Captain Nathan Hale, the "Martyr-spy," says in a letter
of the 20th of August: "Our situation has been such this fortnight or
more as scarce to admit of writing. We have daily expected an
action--by which means, if any one was going, and we had letters
written, orders were so strict for our tarrying in camp, that we could
rarely get leave to go and deliver them. For about six or eight days
the enemy have been expected hourly, whenever the wind and tide in the
least favored."--_Document_ 40.]

Upon Long Island General Greene and his men were still at work on the
defences, and, since the arrival of the enemy, doubly vigilant. Hand's
riflemen kept close watch at the Narrows and reported every suspicious
movement of the fleet. Word was brought in on the 9th that a large
number of regulars were drawn up at the Staten Island ferry, and
Greene immediately sent around the order for "no officer or soldier to
stir from his quarters, that we may be ready to march at a moment's
warning, if necessary." Upon another alarm, when probably he himself
was indisposed, he directed Colonel Little, the senior regimental
officer present, to superintend the disposition of the troops. His
hastily written letter, penned apparently not long after midnight,
runs as follows:

     THURSDAY MORNING [August 8 or 15?]

     DEAR SIR--By Express from Col Hand and from Red Hook, and
     from on board the Sloop at Governor's Island it is very
     evident there was a General Imbarcation of the Troops last
     evening from Statten Island--doubtless they'l make a dessent
     this morning. Youl please to order all the troops fit for
     duty to be at their Alarm posts near an hour sooner than is
     common--let their flints arms and ammunition be examined and
     everything held in readiness to defend the works or go upon
     a detachment. A few minutes past received an Express from
     Head Quarters. Youl acquaint the Commanding officers of Col
     Hitchcock's Regiment and Col Forman's Regiment of this, and
     direct them to observe the same orders, also the Artillery

     I am ys,
       N. GREENE.

     [Addressed to Col. Little.][76]

[Footnote 76: Original in possession of Chas. J. Little, Esq.,
Cambridge, Mass.]

Greene had been promoted to the rank of major-general on the 9th, and
his old brigade on Long Island given to Brigadier-General John Nixon,
of Massachusetts, who was promoted from a colonelcy at the same time.
A new arrangement of the army was effected, and Brigadier-General
Heard's brigade of five New Jersey regiments was ordered to Long
Island to reinforce Greene. His division, now consisting of these two
brigades--Nixon's and Heard's--numbered, August 15th, two thousand
nine hundred men fit for duty. Parts of two Long Island militia
regiments under Colonels Smith and Remsen which joined him about this
date, and Colonel Gay's Connecticut levies, who had been on that side
since the 1st of August, increased this number to something over
thirty-five hundred.

But Greene was not to be a participator in the approaching scenes. The
prevailing fever which had prostrated so many officers and men seized
him with all but a fatal hold, and he was obliged to relinquish his
command. He clung to it, however, to the last moment in hopes of a
change for the better. "I am very sorry," he wrote to Washington on
the 15th, "that I am under the necessity of acquainting you that I am
confined to my bed with a raging fever. The critical situation of
affairs makes me the more anxious, but I hope, through the assistance
of Providence, to be able to ride before the presence of the enemy may
make it absolutely necessary;" and he assured the commander-in-chief
that his men appeared to be "in exceeding good spirits," and would no
doubt be able to render a very good account of the enemy should they
land on Long Island. On the 16th there was no change for the better in
his condition, but on the contrary Livingston, his aid, reported that
he had "a very bad night of it;" and in a day or two he was removed to
New York, to the house of John Inglis now the intersection of Ninth
Street and Broadway where with rest and care he slowly passed the
crisis of his illness.[77]

[Footnote 77: _Greene's Life of Greene_, vol. i.]

On the 20th Washington gave orders to General Sullivan, who had
recently returned from Canada, to take the command upon Long Island,
until General Greene's state of health should permit him to resume

[Footnote 78: _General Orders, August 20, 1776._--... "General
Sullivan is to take command upon Long Island till General Greene's
state of health will permit him to resume it, and Brigadier Lord
Stirling is to take charge of General Sullivan's division till he
returns to it again."]



Right here, before entering upon the details of the coming struggle,
we may delay a moment to glance at the two armies as they lay in their
opposite camps waiting to engage in the serious business before them.
What was their composition and organization, what their strength, who
their officers and leaders? In the case of the American troops
particularly may these questions be asked, because to them and their
services the country has long acknowledged its obligations, and so far
bound itself to perpetuate their memory. Who were the men who stood
with Washington in this first and critical year of our national
life--who came to this vicinity to fight on strange ground for a
common cause? We are called upon to remember them, not as soldiers
simply, but as public-spirited citizens arming to secure themselves in
their privileges, or perhaps as ancestors who had a thought for the
peace and happiness of present generations.

The original army of the Revolution was that ardent though disjointed
body of provincials which gathered around Boston immediately after the
Lexington alarm, and came nominally under the command of General
Artemas Ward, of Massachusetts. As a military corps it entirely lacked
cohesion, as the troops from New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and
Connecticut were under independent control, and yielded to General
Ward's authority only by patriotic consent. The appointment of
Washington as commander-in-chief of all the American forces relieved
this difficulty, and the adoption by Congress of the Boston troops as
a Continental army, under the orders and in the pay of Congress, gave
that army more of a military character. But the terms of enlistment
were short, and it became necessary to reorganize the entire body by
new enlistments for a year's service from the 1st of January, 1776.
This force thus recruited was the nucleus of the army which Washington
mustered at New York in the present campaign. It consisted of
twenty-seven battalions, or "regiments of foot," as they were styled,
each divided into eight companies, and having a maximum strength of
about six hundred and forty officers and men. With the exception of
the First Regiment, or Pennsylvania Riflemen, all were from the New
England States; and, as already stated, twenty-one of them, after the
evacuation of Boston, marched to New York under the command of
Generals Heath, Spencer, Sullivan, and Greene.

This force, diminished by the regiments sent to Canada, was quite
inadequate for the purposes of the campaign, and on the 1st of June
Congress issued a call for large reinforcements both for the New York
army and that on the Canada border. For the former thirteen thousand
eight hundred troops were voted necessary, and for the latter six
thousand, while in addition it was resolved to establish a "flying
camp" of ten thousand men, who could be sent wherever needed. The
quota Massachusetts was to furnish for New York was two thousand;
Connecticut, five thousand five hundred; New York, three thousand; and
New Jersey, three thousand three hundred. For the flying camp,
Pennsylvania was to recruit six thousand; Delaware, six hundred; and
Maryland, three thousand four hundred. All these men were to be
militia or State troops, but to serve under the orders of Congress and
in its pay until at least the 1st of December following.

The necessity of these calls was impressed upon the country by urgent
letters from the President and members of Congress and the leaders of
the day. "The militia of the United Colonies," wrote Hancock, "are a
body of troops that may be depended upon. To their virtue, their
delegates in Congress now make the most solemn appeal. They are called
upon to say whether they will live slaves or die freemen." To the
governors and State assemblies he added: "On your exertions at this
critical period, together with those of the other colonies in the
common cause, the salvation of America now evidently depends....
Exert, therefore, every nerve to distinguish yourselves. Quicken your
preparations, and stimulate the good people of your government, and
there is no danger, notwithstanding the mighty armament with which we
are threatened, but you will be able to lead them to victory, to
liberty, and to happiness." But the reinforcements came forward
slowly, and it was not until the enemy had actually arrived that the
peculiar dangers of the situation were appreciated and the militiamen
hurried to Washington's assistance at his own pressing call for them.
By the 27th of August, his army, which on July 13th numbered a little
over ten thousand men fit for duty, had been increased in the
aggregate to twenty-eight thousand; but so many were on the sick list
during this month, that he could muster not quite twenty thousand
effectives, officers and men, at the opening of active operations.

To this force the State of New York contributed thirteen regiments. Of
her Continental battalions then in the service, three were in the
Northern department under Schuyler, part of another in the Highlands,
and two, commanded by Colonels Alexander McDougall and Rudolph
Ritzema, here with Washington, both of which were largely recruited
from New York City. McDougall, colonel of the first battalion, had
identified himself early with the liberty party in the city, became a
member of the Provincial Congress, and by his zealous and energetic
efforts in both his civil and military capacity contributed much
towards preserving the honor and interests of the colony in the
present crisis. In August he was promoted to the rank of
brigadier-general in the Continental army, and rose to the grade of
major-general before the close of the war. Nine of the other regiments
from this State, chiefly militia, formed two brigades under
Brigadier-Generals John Morin Scott and George Clinton. In Scott's
command were two battalions which were credited to and represented the
city distinctively. The oldest and largest was the "First Independent
Battalion," commanded by Colonel John Lasher, remembered as one of the
substantial citizens of the place. A man of property and influence,
with a taste for military affairs and evidently popular, he had been
elected colonel of the Independent Companies during the colonial
régime, and now, with most of his officers and men, had taken up the
Continental cause.[79] The battalion was a favorite corps, composed of
young men of respectability and wealth, and when on parade was
doubtless the attraction of the city. Its companies bore separate
names, and the uniform of each had some distinguishing feature. There
were the "Prussian Blues," under Captain James Alner; the "Oswego
Rangers," under Captain John J. Roosevelt; the "Rangers," under
Captain James Abeel; the "Fusileers," under Captain Henry G.
Livingston; the "Hearts of Oak," under Captain John Berrian; the
"Grenadiers," under Captain Abraham Van Dyck; the "Light Infantry,"
under Captain William W. Gilbert; the "Sportsmen," under Captain
Abraham A. Van Wyck; the "German Fusileers," under Captain William
Leonard; the "Light Horse," under Captain Abraham P. Lott; and the
"Artillery," under Captain Samuel Tudor. As reorganized in the summer
of 1776, the regiment had for its field officers Colonel John Lasher,
Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Stockholm, and Major James Abeel. The Second
New York City Battalion was originally commanded by Colonel William
Heyer, and among its companies were the "Brown Buffs," "Rifles,"
"Grenadiers," "Hussars," and "Scotsmen," the latter of whom were
commanded by Captain Robert Smith, of New York, who, after doing good
service at various times during the war, settled in Philadelphia,
where for nearly half a century after he filled offices of public and
private trust.[80] In 1776, in the reappointment of field officers,
William Malcom, formerly first major, became colonel; Isaac
Stoutenburgh, lieutenant-colonel; and James Alner, major.[81] The two
remaining regiments of Scott's brigade were commanded by Colonel
Samuel Drake, of Westchester, and Colonel Cornelius Humphrey, of
Dutchess County. Scott himself was a man of the highest public spirit.
A history of the progress of the revolutionary sentiment in the Colony
of New York would be incomplete without a record of his career. An
able lawyer and speaker, he early resisted the pretentions and
arbitrary policy of the home government, and when war became
inevitable, he spared no energy to provide for the crisis. In 1775 and
1776 he was one of the most active and useful members of the
Provincial Congress and the Committee of Safety. "Nothing from the
other side of the water," he wrote to a friend in November, 1775, "but
a fearful looking for of wrath. But let us be prepared for the worst.
Who can prize life without liberty? It is a bauble only fit to be
thrown away." He served through the present campaign, and then
continued in the public service as Secretary of the State of New York
and afterwards member of the Continental Congress.

[Footnote 79: In a letter to Peter Van Schaack, dated New York,
February 23d, 1776, Fred. Rhinelander says: "We are going to raise a
new battalion; Colonel Lasher and Gouverneur Morris are candidates for
the command. As both the gentlemen have great merit, it is hard to
tell which will succeed." The reference here is probably to a plan
formed by private citizens in New York to raise a battalion of fifteen
hundred men for nine months, on condition that the projectors could
appoint the officers. This being refused by the Provincial Congress
the plan was abandoned.--_Life of G. Morris_, vol. i. p. 89, n.]

[Footnote 80: See Biographical Sketches, Part II.]

[Footnote 81: The New York Congress voted that the City and County of
New York should furnish twelve hundred men as their quota of the three
thousand recently called for, and these were to consist of "the two
independent battalions." They were composed of ten companies each,
which, however, never reached their maximum strength. In September
Lasher's total was 510; Malcom's, 297.]

Two other acquisitions to the army in this campaign were the brothers
James and George Clinton, of Ulster County, N.Y., both destined to be
prominent characters in the Revolution. James Clinton, as colonel of
one of the Continental regiments, superintended the construction of
fortifications in the Highlands, and in August was promoted to the
rank of brigadier-general in the Continental service. George was
member of Congress, and after voting for the Declaration of
Independence returned to command a militia brigade which the State
called out during the summer, and which joined Washington's army just
before the battle of Long Island. These troops were commanded by
Colonel Levi Paulding, of Ulster County; Colonels Morris Graham and
James Swartwout, of Dutchess; Colonel Isaac Nichol, of Orange; and
Colonel Thomas Thomas, of Westchester. Before this, in November, 1775,
an attempt was made to raise three regiments of militia in New York
City to be commanded respectively by Henry Remsen, John Jay, and
Abraham P. Lott; but the enlistment of men into other corps made it
impossible to organize them.[82] In this campaign, too, we first meet
with young officers from this State who subsequently rose to
distinction in the service. Here Alexander Hamilton appears; and we
read that upon the certificate of Captain Stephen Badlam, that he had
examined Hamilton and found him qualified for a command, the New York
Convention appointed him, March 14th, Captain of the "Provincial
Company of Artillery of the Colony." Among others were Lieutenant-Colonel
Henry B. Livingston, Majors Nicholas Fish and Richard Platt, and Hugh
Hughes, teacher of a classical school, who, as assistant
Quartermaster-General, rendered, at least on one occasion, a most
important service to the army.

[Footnote 82: Lewis Morris, one of the Signers of the Declaration, was
appointed brigadier-general of the Westchester County militia, but he
remained in Congress until later in the fall, when he took the field
for a short time with New York militia in the Highlands.]

Long Island was represented in the New York quota by two regiments of
militia and two small companies of "troop." The Suffolk County
regiment, at the eastern end, was commanded by Colonel Josiah Smith,
of South Haven parish, and that from King's County by Colonel Rutgert
Van Brunt. But the militia, especially in disaffected Kings and Queens
counties, could be mustered, as volunteers, with difficulty; and early
in August the New York Provincial Congress ordered a draft to be made
from these counties, and the troops so raised to be commanded by
Colonel Jeronimus Remsen, of Queens, with Nicholas Cowenhoven, of
Kings, for lieutenant-colonel, and Richard Thorne, of Queens, for
major. Colonel Smith's lieutenant-colonel at this time was John Sands,
and his major, Abraham Remsen. The two regiments--Smith's and
Remsen's--did not report to Greene until August 15th and after, and
mustered together probably less than five hundred men. The troopers,
not over fifty in all, were a few horsemen from Brooklyn under Captain
Adolph Waldron and Lieutenant William Boerum; and others, representing
King's County, under Captain Lambert Suydam. About the middle of
August, Nathaniel Woodhull, of Mastic, brigadier-general of the Long
Island militia, and now President of the State Convention, dropping
his civil functions, repaired to the Island to render whatever aid the
situation might demand. A man of the purest motives and capable of
doing good service, an unhappy, although a soldier's fate, awaited

New Jersey at the outbreak of the war met an obstacle to hearty
co-operation with the other colonies in the conduct of William
Franklin, her royal governor. Little sympathy had he with the
revolutionary movement, and his influence was powerful in keeping men
out of it, until the aroused State legislature ordered his arrest. In
William Livingston, her new governor, New Jersey found a patriot and
civil leader of the right stamp for the emergency. Part of the year he
acted in a military capacity, and directed the movements of the
militia in the vicinity of Amboy and Elizabeth. As the Tory element
was very considerable here, the State found the same difficulty
experienced by New York in raising troops for the army; but she
furnished a good proportion. Her three Continental regiments under
Colonels Dayton, Maxwell, and Winds, were in the Canada army during
the present campaign. In the spring and summer the State sent several
detachments of militia, under Lieutenant-Colonels Ward and Cadmus and
other officers, to assist in fortifying New York. In answer to the
last call of Congress, the legislature voted to raise a brigade of
five battalions, to be known as "new levies," to serve until December
1st, and to each man that would enlist a bounty of three pounds was
offered. The command of the brigade was given to Colonel Nathaniel
Heard, of Woodbridge, now promoted to a State brigadier. The colonels
were Philip Van Cortland, whose regiment was recruited in Bergen,
Essex, and Burlington counties; David Forman, with four companies from
Middlesex and four from Monmouth; Ephraim Martin, with four from
Morris and four from Sussex; Philip Johnston, with three from Somerset
and five from Hunterdon; and Silas Newcomb, with men from Salem,
Gloucester, Burlington, and Cumberland. In September the command
numbered seventeen hundred and sixty-two enlisted men, and one hundred
and sixty officers.[83] We shall find these troops figuring in the
movements on Long Island.

[Footnote 83: _List of the Officers and Men from New Jersey who served
in the Revolution._ By Adjutant-General W.S. Stryker.]

Pennsylvania was well represented in this campaign. Her troops
participated in nearly every engagement, and had the opportunity in
more than one instance of acquitting themselves with honor. Besides
her large body of "associators," or home guards, many of whom marched
into New Jersey, the State sent four Continental regiments under
Colonels Wayne, St. Clair, Irvine, and De Haas, to Canada, and eight
other battalions, three of them Continental, to the army at New York.
Of these, the oldest was commanded by Colonel Edward Hand, of
Lancaster. It was the first of the Continental establishment, where it
was known as the "rifle" corps. Enlisting in 1775, under Colonel
Thompson, it joined the army at the siege of Boston, re-enlisted for
the war under Colonel Hand in 1776, and fought all along the Continent
from Massachusetts to South Carolina, not disbanding until the peace
was signed in 1783. Hand himself, a native of Ireland, and, like many
others in the service, a physician by profession, had served in the
British army, was recognized as a superior officer, and we find him
closing his career as Washington's adjutant-general and personal
friend. The two other regiments, raised on the Continental basis, were
commanded by Colonels Robert Magaw, formerly major of Thompson's
regiment, and John Shee, of Philadelphia. The remaining battalions
were distinctively State troops, and formed part of the State's quota
for the Flying Camp. Colonel Samuel Miles, subsequently mayor of
Philadelphia, commanded what was known as the First Regiment of
Riflemen. Unlike any other corps, it was divided into two battalions,
which on their enlistment in March aggregated five hundred men each.
The lieutenant-colonel of the first was Piper; of the second, John
Brodhead. The majors were Paton and Williams. Another corps was known
as the First Regiment of Pennsylvania Musketry, under Colonel Samuel
John Atlee, of Lancaster County, originally five hundred strong, and
recruited in Chester and the Piquea Valley. Atlee had been a soldier
in his youth in the frontier service, afterwards studied law, and in
1775 was active in drilling companies for the war. Mercer, who knew a
good soldier when he met him, wrote to Washington that Atlee was
worthy his regard as an officer of "experience and attention," and his
fine conduct on Long Island proved his title to this word of
commendation from his superior. How much of a man and soldier he had
in his lieutenant-colonel, Caleb Parry, the events of August 27th will
bear witness. The three other battalions were incomplete. Two were
composed of Berks County militia, under Lieutenant-Colonels Nicholas
Lutz and Peter Kachlein. Lutz's major was Edward Burd, and their
colonel was Henry Haller, of Reading, who did not join the army until
after the opening of the campaign. Another detachment consisted of
part of Colonel James Cunningham's Lancaster County militiamen, under
Major William Hay.

[Illustration: [signature: Edw. Hand]


Steel Engr. F. von Egloffstein N.Y.]

Delaware furnished more than her proportion to the flying camp. The
"Lower Counties," as this little State had been known in colonial
times, had shown no haste to break with the mother country. Her people
were chiefly farmers of a peaceable disposition, who used herbs for
tea and felt no weight of oppression. But Delaware had her
public-spirited men, who, when the crisis came, felt that the
"counties" must take their place by the side of the colonies in the
pending conflict. Among these were Thomas MacKean and Cæsar Rodney.
Rodney's right-hand man in his patriotic efforts was John Haslet, born
in Ireland, once a Presbyterian minister, now a physician in Dover,
"tall, athletic, of generous and ardent feelings." The news of the
adoption of the Declaration of Independence Haslet celebrated with "a
turtle feast;" and he did more. Already he had begun to raise a
regiment for the field, and five weeks before the opening battle it
left Dover eight hundred strong, composed of some of the best blood
and sinew Delaware had to offer.[84]

[Footnote 84: _Delaware's Revolutionary Soldiers._ By William G.
Whiteley, Esq., 1875.]

Maryland raised as her contingent for this campaign four regiments and
seven independent companies; but of these, Smallwood's battalion
and four of the companies alone had joined the army when hostilities
commenced. Though forming part of the State's quota for the flying
camp, this was far from being a hastily-collected force. It stands
upon record that while Massachusetts was preparing for the contest in
the earlier days, there were men along the Chesapeake and the Potomac
who took the alarm with their northern brethren. Mordecai Gist, Esq.,
of "Baltimore town," was among the first to snuff the coming storm,
and the first to act, for he tells us that as early as December, 1774,
at the expense of his time and hazard of his business, he organized "a
company composed of men of honor, family, and fortune," to be ready
for any emergency. The Lexington news, four months later, found the
best part of Maryland ready to arm. In Baltimore, William Buchanan,
lieutenant of the county, collected a body of the older citizens for
home defence, while their unmarried sons and others organized
themselves into two more companies, donned "an excellent scarlet
uniform," and chose Gist for their leader. When the State called for
troops at large many of these young men responded, and in the spring
of 1776 made up three companies, which, with six other companies that
gathered at Annapolis from the surrounding country, formed the first
Maryland battalion of "State regulars." William Smallwood, living on
the banks of the Potomac, in Charles County, was chosen colonel;
Francis Ware, lieutenant-colonel; and Mordecai Gist, first major. On
the day it left for the field, July 10th, it numbered, inclusive of
Captain Edward Veazey's large independent company from the Eastern
Shore, seven hundred and fifty men. The State sent no better material
into the service. Without cares, patriotic, well drilled, well led,
priding themselves in their soldierly appearance, both officers and
men were a notable and much needed acquisition to Washington's army.

Men from Virginia, too, were to take an active part in this campaign,
but not until after it had opened. The State had nine regiments
organized for service, five of which, under Colonels Weedon, Reed,
Scott, Elliott and Buckner, joined the army during the fall. There
were several Virginia officers on the ground, however, as early as
July and August, one of whom was a host in himself. This was General
Hugh Mercer, who had been a surgeon in the Pretender's army on the
field of Culloden; who afterward coming to America figured as a
volunteer in Braddock's defeat, and then settled down to practice as a
physician in Fredericksburg. Appointed a Continental Brigadier,
Washington intrusted him with the important command of the New Jersey
front, where he kept a constant watch along the shore opposite Staten
Island. He had at various times from three to six thousand troops
under him, composed of Pennsylvania and New Jersey home guards and
militia, but which were never enrolled as a part of Washington's

[Footnote 85: Durkee's Continentals garrisoned Powle's Hook, and
Bradley's Connecticut regiment was at Bergen, both being returned on
Washington's rolls, but otherwise under Mercer's orders.]

From New England, as we have seen, came the troops sent on from Boston
by Washington, which formed the nucleus or basis of the force gathered
at New York. These were all Continental or established regiments, and
were reinforced from this section during the summer by militia and
State troops.

Massachusetts furnished the Continental battalions commanded by
Colonels William Prescott, of Pepperell; John Glover, of Marblehead;
Moses Little, of Newburyport; John Nixon, of Framingham; Jonathan
Ward, of Southboro; Israel Hutchinson, of Salem; Ebenezer Learned, of
Oxford; Loammi Baldwin, of Woburn; John Bailey, of Hanover; Paul
Dudley Sargent, of Gloucester, and Joseph Read. In August,
Brigadier-General John Fellows, of Sheffield, brought down three
regiments of militia under Colonels Jonathan Holman, of Worcester
County, Jonathan Smith, of Berkshire, and Simeon Cary, with men from
Plymouth and Bristol counties. The State also sent the only artillery
regiment[86] then in the service, under Colonel Henry Knox, of Boston.

[Footnote 86: At New York, the artillery was increased by Captain
Alexander Hamilton's company, and soldiers were detached from the
several regiments to act as gunners in consequence of Knox's inability
to furnish enough from his own regiment to man all the points.]

Many of these officers named had already made something of a record
for themselves. Prescott will be forever associated with Bunker Hill.
With him there were Nixon, who was severely wounded, Ward, Little,
Sargent, and not a few of the officers and men who were here in the
present campaign. Many of them were representative citizens. Little,
of Newburyport, whose name we have seen associated with the defences
of Long Island, had been surveyor of the king's lands, owned large
tracts in his own right, and was widely known as a man of character
and influence. As an officer he was distinguished for his judgment and
great self-possession in the field. His lieutenant-colonel, William
Henshaw, of Leicester, belonged to the line of Henshaws whose ancestor
had fallen in the English Revolution in defence of popular rights and
privileges. A man of the old type, with cocked hat and provincial
dress, modest and brave, he writes home to his wife one day that he
finds it difficult to stop profanity among the troops; another day he
hopes his children are improving in all the graces; and then he is
heard of in the heat of some engagement. He was the first
adjutant-general of the provincial army around Boston in 1775, and
served in that capacity with the rank of colonel until relieved by
General Gates. The services rendered by Colonel and afterwards General
Glover in this as well as in other campaigns is a well-known record.
Learned and Nixon became Continental brigadiers. Shepherd, Brooks,
Jackson, Winthrop Sargent, and many other officers from this State,
distinguished themselves in the later years of the Revolution. But
perhaps no man proved his worth more in this campaign than Colonel
Rufus Putnam, of Brookfield, Washington's chief engineer. He succeeded
Colonel Gridley at Boston; and at New York, where engineering skill of
a high order was demanded in the planning and construction of the
works, he showed himself equal to the occasion. That Washington put a
high estimate on his services, appears from more than one of his

[Footnote 87: Document 43, Part II., contains interesting and
important extracts from Colonel Putnam's Journal, now published for
the first time.]

Rhode Island at this time had two regiments in the field. In 1775 they
were around Boston; in 1776 they were here again with the
army--Varnum's Ninth and Hitchcock's Eleventh Continentals. A third
regiment from this State, under Colonel Lippett, did not join the army
until September. Varnum and Hitchcock were rising young lawyers of
Providence, the former a graduate of Brown University, the latter of
Yale. Hitchcock's lieutenant-colonel was Ezekiel Cornell, of Scituate,
who subsequently served in Congress and became commissary-general of
the army. Greene, Varnum, Hitchcock, and Cornell were among those
Rhode Islanders who early resisted the pretensions of the British
Ministry. In the discipline and soldierly bearing of these two
regiments Greene took special pride, and not a few of their officers
subsequently earned an honorable reputation. Varnum was created a
brigadier; Hitchcock, as will be seen, closed his career as a
sacrifice to the cause; Colonels Crary and Angell and the Olneys
served with the highest credit; and the men of the regiments, many of
them, fought through the war to the Yorktown surrender.

In proportion to her population, no State contributed more men to the
army in 1776 than Connecticut, nor were all ranks of society more
fully represented. Fortunately the State had in Trumbull, its
governor, just the executive officer which the times demanded. A man
of character and ability, greatly respected, prompt, zealous, ardent
in the cause, his words and calls upon the people were seldom
unheeded; and the people were generally as patriotic as their
governor. In the present crisis Connecticut sent to New York six
Continental battalions, seven of "new levies," and twelve of militia.
Her Continentals were commanded by Colonels Samuel Holden Parsons,[88]
of Lyme; Jedediah Huntington, of Lebanon; Samuel Wyllys, of Hartford;
Charles Webb, of Stamford; John Durkee, of Bean Hill, near Norwich;
and Andrew Ward,[89] of Guilford. The "levies" were the troops raised
in answer to the last call of Congress, and were commanded by Colonels
Gold Selleck Silliman, of Fairfield; Phillip Burr Bradley, of
Ridgefield; William Douglas, of Northford; Fisher Gay, of Farmington;
Samuel Selden, of Hadlyme; John Chester, of Wethersfield; and Comfort
Sage, of Middletown. Among these names will be recognized many which
represented some of the oldest and best families in the State. Wyllys
was a descendant of one of the founders of Hartford. His father held
the office of Secretary of State for sixty-one years; his grandfather
had held it before that, and after the Revolution the honor fell to
the colonel himself. The three held the office in succession for
ninety-eight years. Three members of this family, which is now
extinct, were in the army during this campaign, and two served with
honor through the war. From Lebanon came Colonel Jedediah Huntington
and his two brothers, Captains Joshua and Ebenezer. They were sons of
Jabez Huntington, who like Trumbull was a type of the patriotic
citizen of the Revolution. Although his business and property, as a
West India merchant, would be greatly endangered if not ruined by the
war, he and his family cheerfully ignored their personal interests in
their devotion to the common cause. The three brothers and their
brother-in-law, Colonel John Chester, served through the present
campaign as they had in the previous one, and two of them, Jedediah
and Ebenezer, fought to the end of the struggle. Parsons, who
subsequently rose to the rank of a Continental major-general, Wyllys
and Webb, were among those who pledged their individual credit to
carry out the successful enterprise against Ticonderoga in 1775. In
his section of the State few men were more influential than Colonel
Silliman, of Fairfield, where, before the war, he had held the office
of king's attorney. After the present campaign, in the course of which
he was more than once engaged with the enemy, he was appointed a State
brigadier, rendered further service during the British forays into
Connecticut, and marched with troops to the Hudson Highlands upon
Burgoyne's approach from Canada. Colonel Douglas, of Northford,
engaged heart and hand in the struggle. Joining Montgomery's command
in 1775, he served in the flotilla on Lake Champlain, and was
subsequently appointed commodore by Congress; but accepting a
colonelcy of Connecticut levies he marched to New York in 1776, after
first advancing the funds to equip his regiment. With Silliman he
enjoyed the confidence and good opinion of the commander-in-chief, and
both were appointed to command regiments to be raised for the
Connecticut Continental Line. Another of those citizen-soldiers who
came from the substantial element in the population was Colonel
Selden. A descendant of the Seldens who were among the first settlers
in the Connecticut Valley, fifty years of age, possessing a large
estate, incapacitated for severe military duty, the father of twelve
children, he nevertheless answered the governor's call for troops, and
joined the army at New York, from which he was destined not to return.
Durkee, Knowlton, Hull, Sherman, Grosvenor, Bradley, afterwards a
Continental colonel, and many others, were men from Connecticut, who
gave the country their best services. The militia regiments from this
State turned out at the governor's call upon the arrival of the enemy.
Of the fourteen he designated to march, twelve reported at New York
before August 27th, each averaging three hundred and fifty men, with
Oliver Wolcott as their brigadier-general,[90] than whom no man in
Connecticut had done more to further the public interests of both the
State and the nation. Signing the Declaration in 1776, he was to be
found in the following year fighting Burgoyne in the field, and
afterwards constantly active in a military or civil capacity until the
success of the cause was assured.

[Footnote 88: On his promotion to a brigadier-generalship in August,
Parsons was succeeded by his lieutenant-colonel, John Tyler.]

[Footnote 89: This was the same officer who came down with Lee in the
spring. When his regiment returned home he was put in command of
another raised on the continental basis. He joined the army in August,
but did not cross to Long Island.]

[Footnote 90: The original letter from Trumbull to Wolcott, among the
latter's papers, informing him of his appointment, states that the
fourteen regiments had been called out upon "the most pressing
application of General Washington." The governor adds: "Having formed
raised expectations of your disposition and ability to serve your
country in this most important crisis, on which the fate of America
seems so much to depend, I trust you will cheerfully undertake the
service," etc. General Wolcott proceeded at once to New York, and was
with the militia in the city during the fighting on Long Island, and
for some time after. As to the number of the regiments that came down,
see Colonel Douglas' letter of August 23d (Document 22), where he says
twelve were on the parade the day before.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Pass these men in review, and we have before us not a small proportion
of those "fathers" of the Revolution, to whose exertions and
sacrifices America owes her independence. It was a crude, unmilitary
host, strong only as a body of volunteers determined to resist an
invasion of their soil. Here and there was an officer or soldier who
had served in previous wars, but the great mass knew nothing of war.
The Continental or established regiments formed much less than half
the army, and some of these were without experience or discipline;
very few had been tested under fire. As to arms, they carried all
sorts--old flint-locks, fowling-pieces, rifles, and occasionally good
English muskets captured by privateers from the enemy's transports.
Not all had bayonets or equipments. Uniforms were the exception; even
many of the Continentals were dressed in citizens' clothes.[91] The
militiamen, hurriedly leaving their farms and affairs, came down in
homespun, while some of the State troops raised earlier in the spring
appeared in marked contrast to them, both in dress and discipline.
Smallwood's Marylanders attracted attention with their showy scarlet
and buff coats. The Delawares, with their blue uniform, were so nearly
like the Hessians as to be mistaken for them in the field. Miles'
Pennsylvanians wore black hunting shirts; and Lasher's New York
battalion perhaps appeared, in the various uniforms of gray, blue and
green worn by the independent companies. The general and regimental
officers in the army were distinguished by different-colored cockades
and sashes. For regimental colors, each battalion appears to have
carried those of its own design. One of the flags captured by the
Hessians on Long Island was reported by a Hessian officer to have been
a red damask standard, bearing the word "Liberty" in its centre.
Colonel Joseph Read's Massachusetts Continentals carried a flag with a
light buff ground, on which there was the device of a pine-tree and
Indian-corn, emblematical of New-England fields. Two officers were
represented in the uniform of the regiment, one of whom, with blood
streaming from a wound in his breast, pointed to children under the
pine, with the words, "For posterity I bleed."[92]

[Footnote 91: When it was proposed to put the Boston army on the new
Continental basis on January 1st, 1776, Washington evidently hoped to
have it all uniformed. Thus his orders of December 11th, 1775, read:
"As uniformity and decency in dress are essentially necessary in the
appearance and regularity of an army, his Excellency recommends it
earnestly to the officers to put themselves in a proper uniform....
The general by no means recommends or desires officers to run into
costly or expensive regimentals; no matter how plain or coarse, so
that they are but uniform in their color, cut, and fashion. The
officers belonging to those regiments whose uniforms are not yet fixed
upon had better delay making their regimentals until they are." The
orders of January 5th, 1776, say: "The regimentals, which have been
made up, and drawn for, may be delivered to the respective Colonels,
by the Quartermaster-General, to the order of those Colonels, who drew
them at such prices as they have cost the continent, which is much
cheaper than could otherwise be obtained. As nothing adds more to the
appearance of a man than dress, and a proper degree of cleanliness in
his person, the General hopes and expects that each regiment will
contend for the most soldierlike appearance." These "regimentals" were
of a brown color. That Little's and Hitchcock's men, or most of them,
were in uniform when they came to New York, appears from General
Greene's Providence order of April 4th (_ante_, p. 62). A description
of the colors of Colonel Joseph Read's Massachusetts Continental
regiment refers to the "uniform of the regiment;" so doubtless most of
the Boston army was in uniform. But whether they were kept supplied
with uniforms may be doubted. The men wore out their clothes fast
while throwing up the works, and Washington speaks of the "difficulty
and expense" of providing new ones. (Orders, July 24th, 1776.) At this
date he does not insist on uniforms, but recommends the adoption of
the hunting shirt and breeches as a cheap and convenient dress, and as
one which might have its terrors for the enemy, who imagined that
every rebel so dressed was "a complete marksman." A valuable article
on "The Uniforms of the American Army" may be found in the _Magazine
of American History_, for August, 1877, by Professor Asa Bird Gardner,
of the West Point Military Academy.]

[Footnote 92: _Force_, 5th Series, vol. ii., p. 244.]

Had this force acquired the discipline and been hardened by the
service which made Washington's troops later in the war a most trusty
and effective body, the campaign of 1776 would have shown another
record. But not the less are we to respect it, with all its failings
and defeats. If not all the men were "patriots;" if some lost faith in
the cause; if others deserted it entirely and joined the enemy; if
some entered the army from mercenary motives and proved cravens in the
field; if still others who were honest enough in their intentions were
found to be wretched material for the making of good soldiers--this
was only the common experience of all popular struggles. As a body, it
fairly represented the colonists in arms; and as an army, it did its
share in bringing about the final grand result.

       *       *       *       *       *

To recapitulate: Washington's army, at the opening of the campaign on
August 27th, consisted of seventy-one regiments or parts of regiments,
twenty-five of which were Continental, aggregating in round numbers
twenty-eight thousand five hundred officers and men. Of these,
Massachusetts furnished seven thousand three hundred; Rhode Island,
eight hundred; Connecticut, nine thousand seven hundred; New York,
four thousand five hundred; New Jersey, one thousand five hundred;
Pennsylvania, three thousand one hundred; Delaware, eight hundred; and
Maryland, nine hundred. Between eight and nine thousand were on the
sick-list or not available for duty, leaving on the rolls not far from
nineteen thousand effectives, most of them levies and militia, on the
day of the battle of Long Island.[93] As officered and brigaded at
this date the army stood as follows:

[Footnote 93: The last official return of the army before the battle,
published in _Force's Archives_, bears date of August 3d; the next
about September 12th. The latter is the proper basis for making an
estimate of the numbers for August 27th, as it includes all the
regiments except Haslet's known to be then present, and no more. On
September 12th the total of rank and file on the rolls, not including
the absent sick, was 24,100. To these add 1800 commissioned officers
and 2500 sergeants, drums and fifes, and the total strength is 28,400.
On the same date, rank and file, _fit for duty_, numbered 14,700. Add
to these 1000 lost on Long Island and 3500 officers, sergeants, drums
and fifes fit for duty, and we have, all told, between 19,000 and
20,000 effectives on August 27th; and these figures correspond with
Washington's statement of September 2d: "Our number of men at present
fit for duty is under 20,000." The army suffered greatly from sickness
during August and September. General Heath writes in his _Memoirs_,
under date of August 8th: "The number of sick amounted to near 10,000;
nor was it possible to find proper hospitals or proper necessaries for
them. In almost every farm, stable, shed, and even under the fences
and bushes, were the sick to be seen, whose countenances were but an
index of the dejection of spirit and the distress they endured." On
the 4th of August, Colonel Parsons wrote to Colonel Little: "My Doctor
and Mate are sick. I have near Two Hundred men sick in Camp; my
neighbours are in very little better state." And he asks Little to
consent to his surgeon's mate remaining with him until his own
surgeons were better. [MS. letter in possession of Charles J. Little,




_Colonel_ William Grayson, of Virginia; _Lieutenant-Colonel_ Richard
Cary, Jr., of Massachusetts; _Lieutenant-Colonel_ Samuel B. Webb, of
Connecticut; _Lieutenant_ Tench Tilghman, of Pennsylvania.


_Lieutenant-Colonel_ Robert Hanson Harrison, of Virginia.


_Colonel_ Joseph Reed, of Philadelphia.


_Colonel_ Stephen Moylan, of Pennsylvania.


_Colonel_ Joseph Trumbull, of Connecticut.


_Colonel_ William Palfrey, of Massachusetts.


_Colonel_ Gunning Bedford, of Pennsylvania.


_Doctor_ John Morgan, of Pennsylvania.


_Colonel_ Rufus Putnam, of Massachusetts.




Major Aaron Burr, Major ----.



Brigade-Major, David Henly.

Colonel Joseph Read,       Massachusetts  505[95]
   "    Ebenezer Learned,       "         521
   "    John Bailey,            "         503
   "    Loammi Baldwin,         "         468

[Footnote 94: General Clinton being absent all summer in the
Highlands, the brigade was commanded first by Colonel Read, and
afterwards by Colonel Glover.]

[Footnote 95: The figures given here represent the total number of
enlisted men on the rolls on September 12, absent sick included. In
the case of some of the regiments, especially from the flying camp,
under Lutz, Kachlein, and others, only an estimate can be formed. The
strength of these is noted in connection with the losses on Long
Island in the next chapter. The Connecticut militia regiments are
credited with 350 men each, as Washington gives the figures.]



Brigade-Major, Nicholas Fish.

Colonel John Lasher,         New York  510
   "    William Malcom,         "      297
   "    Samuel Drake,           "      459
   "    Cornelius Humphrey,     "      261



Brigade-Major, Mark Hopkins.

Colonel Jonathan Holman,  Massachusetts  606
   "    Simeon Cary,           "         569
   "    Jonathan Smith,        "         551
   "    John Glover,[96]       "         365

[Footnote 96: Glover's regiment did not join the army at New York
until August. It was assigned on the 12th to Stirling's brigade, and
on the 15th to Fellows'.]




Major Thomas Henly, Major Israel Keith.



Brigade-Major, Jonathan Mifflin.

Colonel Robert Magaw,             Pennsylvania   480
   "    John Shee,                     "         496
   "    Israel Hutchinson,        Massachusetts  513
   "    Paul Dudley Sargent,[97]       "         527
   "    Andrew Ward,              Connecticut    437

[Footnote 97: Sargent's and Ward's reported on the ground in August.
They were _probably_ in Mifflin's brigade.]



Brigade-Major, Albert Pawling.

Colonel Isaac Nichol,     New York  289
   "    Thomas Thomas,       "      354
   "    James Swartwout,     "      364
   "    Levi Paulding,       "      368
   "    Morris Graham,       "      437




Major William Peck, Major Charles Whiting.



Brigade-Major, Thomas Dyer.

Colonel Jedediah Huntington,  Connecticut    348
   "    Samuel Wyllys,            "          530
   "    John Durkee,              "          520
   "    John Tyler,               "          569
   "    Jonathan Ward,        Massachusetts  502



Brigade-Major, John Palsgrave Wyllys.

Colonel Gold Selleck Silliman,  Connecticut  415
   "    Fisher Gay,                 "        449
   "    Comfort Sage,               "        482
   "    Samuel Selden,              "        464
   "    William Douglas,            "        506
   "    John Chester,               "        535
   "    Phillip Burr Bradley,       "        569




Major Alexander Scammell, Major Lewis Morris, Jr.



Brigade-Major, W.S. Livingston.

Colonel William Smallwood,          Maryland      600
   "    John Haslet,                Delaware      750
   "    Samuel Miles,               Pennsylvania  650
   "    Samuel John Atlee,               "        300
Lieutenant-Colonel Nicholas Lutz,        "        200
   "          "    Peter Kachlein,       "        200
Major Hay,                               "        200



Brigade-Major, Richard Platt.

Late McDougall's, New York            428
Colonel Rudolph Ritzema, New York     434
   "    Charles Webb, Connecticut     542
   "    Jonathan Brewer (Artificers)  584




Major William Blodgett, Major William S. Livingston.



Brigade-Major, Daniel Box.

Colonel Edward Hand,            Pennsylvania   288
   "    James Mitchell Varnum,  Rhode Island   391
   "    Daniel Hitchcock,            "         368
   "    Late Nixon's,           Massachusetts  419
   "    William Prescott,            "         399
   "    Moses Little,                "         453



Brigade-Major, Peter Gordon.

Colonel David Forman,           New Jersey  372
   "    Phillip Johnston,           "       235
   "    Ephraim Martin,             "       382
   "    Silas Newcomb,              "       336
   "    Phillip Van Cortlandt,      "       269



Colonel Thompson,           Connecticut  350
   "    Hinman,                  "        "
   "    Pettibone,               "        "
   "    Cooke,                   "        "
   "    Talcott,                 "        "
   "    Chapman,                 "        "
   "    Baldwin,                 "        "
Lieutenant-Colonel Mead,         "        "
   "         "     Lewis,        "        "
   "         "     Pitkin,       "        "
Major Strong,                    "        "
  "   Newberry,                  "        "



Brigade-Major, Jonathan Lawrence.

Colonel Josiah Smith,      Long Island  250
   "    Jeronimus Remsen,       "       200

[Footnote 98: These regiments were nominally under General Woodhull,
but actually under Greene and Sullivan. At the time of the battle of
the 27th both were doing duty with Nixon's brigade. (Sullivan's
orders, August 25th. _Document_ 2.) Their strength can only be
estimated, but it is probably correct to say that together they were
less than five hundred strong.]


Colonel Henry Knox, Massachusetts  406

As appears from a document among the papers of General Knox, the
encampments and posts of these brigades, before the advance of the
enemy, were fixed as follows: Scott's, in the city; Wadsworth's, along
the East River, in the city; Parsons', from the ship-yards on the
East River to Jones' Hill, and including one of the redoubts to the
west of it; Stirling's and McDougall's, still further west as a
reserve near Bayard's Hill; Fellows', on the Hudson, from Greenwich
down to the "Glass House," about half-way to Canal Street; and James
Clinton's, from that point down to the "Furnace," opposite the
Grenadier Battery. These brigades, forming Putnam's, Spencer's, and
Sullivan's divisions, with the Connecticut militia, were retained
within the city and its immediate vicinity. Of Heath's division,
Mifflin's brigade was posted at Fort Washington, at the upper end of
the island, and George Clinton's at King's Bridge. Greene's
division--Nixon's and Heard's brigades--with the exception of
Prescott's regiment and Nixon's, now under his brother,
Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Nixon, which were on Governor's Island,
occupied the Long Island front.[99]

[Footnote 99: See Appendix to Drake's _Life of General Knox_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

A far more perfect and formidable army was that which lay encamped on
Staten Island, seven miles down the bay. It was the best officered,
disciplined, and equipped that Great Britain could then have mustered
for any service. The fact that she found it difficult to raise new
troops to conquer America only made it necessary to send forward all
her available old soldiers. The greater part of Howe's army,
accordingly, consisted of experienced regulars. He had with him
twenty-seven regiments of the line, four battalions of light infantry
and four of grenadiers, two battalions of the king's guards, three
brigades of artillery, and a regiment of light dragoons, numbering in
the aggregate about twenty-three thousand officers and men. The six
thousand or more that came from Halifax were the Boston "veterans."
These had been joined by regiments from the West Indies; and among the
reinforcements from Britain were troops that had garrisoned Gibraltar
and posts in Ireland and England, with men from Scotland who had won a
name in the Seven Years' War.[100] Howe's generals were men who showed
their fitness to command by their subsequent conduct during the war.
Next to the commander-in-chief ranked Lieutenant-Generals Clinton,
Percy, and Cornwallis; Major-Generals Mathews, Robertson, Pigot,
Grant, Jones, Vaughan, and Agnew; and Brigadier-Generals Leslie,
Cleveland, Smith, and Erskine.

[Footnote 100: The "Highlander" regiments were the Forty-second and
Seventy-first. In _Stewart's Highlanders_, vol. i., p. 354, as quoted
in the _Memoir of General Graham_, the following passage appears: "On
the 10th April, 1776, the Forty-second Regiment being reviewed by Sir
Adolphus Oughton, was reported complete, and so unexceptionable that
none were rejected. Hostilities having commenced in America, every
exertion was made to teach the recruits the use of the firelock, for
which purpose they were drilled even by candle-light. New arms and
accoutrements were supplied to the men; and the colonel of the
regiment, at his own expense, supplied _broadswords and pistols_....
The pistols were of the old Highland fashion, with iron stocks. These
being considered unnecessary except in the field, were not intended,
like the swords, to be worn by the men in quarters. When the regiment
took the field on Staten and Long Island, it was said that the
broadswords retarded the men by getting entangled in the brushwood and
they were therefore taken from them and sent on board the

The Hessians or "foreigners" formed more than one fourth of the
enemy's strength. They numbered eight thousand officers and men,
which, added to the distinctively British force, raised Howe's total
to over thirty-one thousand. His total of effectives on the 27th of
August was something more than twenty-four thousand.[101]

[Footnote 101: General Clinton, quoting from Howe's returns on this
date, says he had "24,464 effectives fit for duty; a total of 26,980,
officers not included, who, when added, amount to 31,625 men." See
General Carrington's _Battles of the Revolution_, p. 199. To the
British force should be added two or three companies of New York

Drawn up in complete array upon the field this army would have
confronted Washington's in the following order:[102]

[Footnote 102: The list that follows is copied from what appears to
have been the roster-book of Adjutant Gilfillan of the Fifty-fifth
Regiment. The book was captured by Captain Nathaniel Fitz Randolph, of
New Jersey (see _Document_ 56), and is now in the possession of
Captain John C. Kinney, of Hartford, a great-grandson of the latter.
There is no date attached to the "Order of Battle," but from the few
dates that follow it was probably made out in the first part of
August, 1776. The list gives the full British strength, and is
interesting as naming the majors of brigade, represented by the
abbreviation M.B.]






2d Batn Lt. Infty. 3d Brigade[103] Lt. Infty. 1st Batn Lt. Infty.

[Footnote 103: An error, evidently, for Battalion.]

Major of Brigade Lewis.


2nd Brig. of Art'lly. 3d Brigade of Art. 1st Brigade of Art.

Major of Brigade Farrington.


[Transcriber's Note: The following table has been split into two parts
for readability.]

          M.G. Pigot.             M.G. Agnew.
Cavalry.  5th, 35th, 49th, 28th.  23d, 57th, 64th, 44th.
          2d Brigade.             6th Brigade.
          M.B. Disney.            M.B. Leslie.

          B.G. Smith.           M.G. Robertson.         M.G. Mathews.
Cavalry.  43d, 63d, 54th, 23d.  15th, 45th, 27th, 4th.  Guards.
          5th Brigade.          1 Brigade.              2 Battalions.
          M.B. McKenzie.        M.B. Smith.



M.G. Grant.              B.G. Erskine.   M.G. Jones.
17th, 46th, 55th, 40th.  71st Regiment.  37th, 52d, 38th, 10th.
4th Brigade.             3 Battalions.   3d Brigade.
M.B. Brown.              M.B. Erskine.   M.B. Baker.



Major Genll Vaughan.

2 B. Grendrs 4th B. Grendrs 3 Batt. Grendrs 1st Battln Grendrs

42 Regmt. 33d Regt.


[Footnote 104: The arrangement of the Hessian troops, as here given,
is compiled from Von Elking's work, Baurmeister's Narrative, and the
Hessian map in vol. ii. of the Long Island Historical Society's





Kniphausen. Rall. Lossberg.




Donop. Mirbach. Hereditary Prince.




Block. Minegerode. Lisingen.





Von Ditfurth. Von Trumbach.

       *       *       *       *       *

When and where, now, will these two armies meet? Or rather, the
question was narrowed down to this: When and where will the British
attack? With Washington there was no choice left but to maintain a
strictly defensive attitude. The command which the enemy had of the
waters was alone sufficient to make their encampment on Staten Island
perfectly secure. As to assuming the offensive, Washington wrote to
his brother, John Augustine, on July 22d: "Our situation at present,
both in regard to men and other matters, is such as not to make it
advisable to attempt any thing against them, surrounded as they are by
water and covered with ships, lest a miscarriage should be productive
of unhappy and fatal consequences. It is provoking, nevertheless, to
have them so near, without being able to give them any disturbance."
Earlier in the season an expedition had been organized under Mercer,
in which Knowlton was to take an active part, to attack the enemy's
outposts on Staten Island from the Jersey shore, but the weather twice
interfered with the plan. All that the Americans hoped to do was to
hold their own at and around New York. Washington tells us that he
fully expected to be able to defend the city.[105] Even the passage of
the Rose and Phoenix did not shake his faith. None of his letters
written during the summer disclose any such misgivings as Lee
expressed, respecting the possibility of maintaining this base, and in
attempting to hold it he followed out his own best military judgment.

[Footnote 105: "Till of late I had no doubt in my own mind of
defending this place."--_Washington to Congress_, September 2d, 1776.]

What occasioned the principal anxiety in the mind of the
commander-in-chief was the number of points at which the British could
make an attack and their distance from one another. They could advance
into New Jersey from Staten Island; they could make a direct attack
upon the city with their fleet, while the transports sailed up the
Hudson and the troops effected a landing in his rear; they could cross
to Long Island and fall upon Greene in force; or they could make
landings at different points as feints, and then concentrate more
rapidly than Washington, as their water carriage would enable them to
do, and strike where he was weakest.[106]

[Footnote 106: "Before the landing of the enemy in Long Island, the
point of attack could not be known, nor any satisfactory judgment
formed of their intentions. It might be on Long Island, on Bergen, or
directly on the city."--_Washington to Congress_, September 9th,

The summer and the campaign season were passing, and still the
uncertainty was protracted--when and where will the enemy attack?



At length, upon the twenty-second of August, after days of expectation
and suspense in the American camp, the British moved forward.
Thoroughly informed of Washington's position, the strength of his
army, and the condition of his lines at every point,[107] Lord Howe
matured his plan of action deliberately, and decided to advance by way
of Long Island. An attack from this quarter promised the speediest
success and at the least cost, for, should he be able to force the
defences of Brooklyn, New York would be at his mercy; or, failing in
this, he could threaten Washington's flank from Hell Gate or beyond,
where part of the fleet had been sent through the Sound, and by a push
into Westchester County compel the evacuation of the city.
Preparations were accordingly made to transport the troops from Staten
Island across to the Long Island coast and debark them at Gravesend
Bay, a mile to the eastward of the Narrows. A thunder-storm of great
violence on the previous evening, which had fallen with fatal effect
on more than one of Washington's soldiers, threatened to delay the
movement, but a still atmosphere followed, and the morning of the 22d
broke favorably.[108] At dawn the three frigates Phoenix, Greyhound
and Rose, with the bomb-ketches Thunder and Carcass, took their
stations close into the Bay as covering ships for the landing, while
Sir George Collier placed the Rainbow within the Narrows, opposite De
Nyse's Ferry, now Fort Hamilton, to silence a battery supposed to be
at that point. Upon the Staten Island shore fifteen thousand British
and Hessian troops, fully equipped, and forty pieces of artillery had
been drawn up during the day and evening before, and a part of them
embarked upon transports lying near at anchor. At the beach were
moored seventy-five flat-boats, eleven batteaux, and two galleys,
built expressly for the present service, and manned by sailors from
the ships of war, which, with the rest of the naval armament, were
placed under the direction of Commodore Hotham.

[Footnote 107: The Tories gave Howe all the information he needed. One
Gilbert Forbes testified at the "Hickey Plot" examination that a
Sergeant Graham, formerly of the Royal Artillery, had told him that he
(the sergeant), at the request of Governor Tryon, had surveyed the
works around the city and on Long Island, and had concerted a plan of
attack, which he gave to the governor (_Force_, 4th Series, vol. vi.,
p. 1178). On his arrival at Staten Island, Howe wrote to Germaine,
July 7th: "I met with Governor Tryon, on board of ship at the Hook,
and many gentlemen, fast friends to government, attending him, from
whom I have had the fullest information of the state of the rebels,
who are numerous, and very advantageously posted, with strong
intrenchments, both upon Long Island and that of New York, with more
than one hundred pieces of cannon for the defence of the town towards
the sea," etc.--_Force_, 5th Series, vol. i., p. 105.]

[Footnote 108: This storm, which is mentioned by Colonel Douglas,
Captain Hale, Chaplain Benedict, and others, hung over the city from
seven to ten in the evening, and is described by Pastor Shewkirk as
being more terrible than that which "struck into Trinity Church"
twenty years before. Captain Van Wyck and two lieutenants of
McDougall's regiment and a Connecticut soldier were killed by the

As soon as the covering frigates were in position, the brigade of
light infantry and the reserves of grenadiers and foot, forming an
advance corps four thousand strong and headed by Sir Henry Clinton and
Lord Cornwallis, entered the flotilla and were rowed in ten divisions
to the Gravesend landing, where they formed upon the plain without
opposition.[109] Then followed the remaining troops from the
transports, and before noon the fifteen thousand, with guns and
baggage, had been safely transferred to Long Island. All who witnessed
this naval spectacle that morning were the enemy themselves, a few
Dutch farmers in the vicinity, and the pickets of Hand's riflemen, who
at once reported the movement at camp.

[Footnote 109: The landing-place was at the present village of Bath.
No opposition by the Americans would have availed and none was
attempted. Washington wrote to Hancock, August 20th: "Nor will it be
possible to prevent their landing on the island, as its great extent
affords a variety of places favorable for that purpose, and the whole
of our works on it are at the end opposite to the city. However, we
shall attempt to harass them as much as possible, which will be all
that we can do." To the same effect Colonel Reed's letter of August
23d: "As there were so many landing-places, and the people of the
island generally so treacherous, we never expected to prevent the
landing." General Parsons says (_Document_ 5): "The landing of the
troops could not be prevented at the distance of six or seven miles
from our lines, in a plain under the cannon of the ships, just within
the shore." An American battery had gone down to De Nyse's, earlier in
the summer, to annoy the Asia, but there was none there at this date.
The particulars of the debarkation and of subsequent movements of the
enemy appear in the reports and letters of the two Howes and Sir
George Collier. (_Force_, 5th Series, vol. i., pp. 1255-6; and _Naval
Chronicle_, 1841.)]

The landing successfully effected, Cornwallis was immediately detached
with the reserves, Donop's corps of chasseurs and grenadiers, and six
field-pieces, to occupy the village of Flatbush, but with orders not
to attempt the "pass" beyond, if he found it held by the rebels; and
the main force encamped nearer the coast, from the Narrows to
Flatlands. As Cornwallis advanced, Colonel Hand and his two hundred
riflemen hurried down from their outpost camp above Utrecht, and,
keeping close to the enemy's front, marched part of the way "alongside
of them, in the edge of the woods," but avoided an open fight in the
field with superior numbers.[110] Captain Hamilton and twenty men of
the battalion fell back on the road in advance, burning grain and
stacks of hay, and killing cattle, which, says Lieutenant-Colonel
Chambers, he did "very cleverly." Among the inhabitants along the
coast, confusion, excitement, and distress prevailed,[111] and many
moved off their goods in great haste to find refuge in the American
lines or farther east on the island; while others remained to welcome
the enemy, for whose success they had been secretly praying from the

[Footnote 110: "On the morning of the 22d of August there were nine
thousand British troops on New Utrecht plains. The guard alarmed our
small camp, and we assembled at the flagstaff. We marched our forces,
about two hundred in number, to New Utrecht, to watch the movements of
the enemy. When we came on the hill we discovered a party of them
advancing toward us. We prepared to give them a warm reception, when
an imprudent fellow fired, and they immediately halted and turned
toward Flatbush. The main body also moved along the great road toward
the same place."--Lieutenant-Colonel Chambers, of Hand's riflemen, to
his Wife, September 3d, 1776. _Chambersburg in the Colony and the

[Footnote 111: _Strong's History of Flatbush._]

The section of Long Island which the enemy now occupied was a broad
low plain, stretching northward from the coast from four to six miles,
and eastward a still further distance. Scattered over its level
surface were four villages, surrounded with farms. Nearest to the
Narrows, and nearly a mile from the coast, stood New Utrecht; another
mile south-east of this was Gravesend; north-east from Gravesend,
nearly three miles, the road led through Flatlands, and directly north
from Flatlands, and about half-way to Brooklyn Church, lay Flatbush.
Between this plain and the Brooklyn lines ran a ridge of hills, which
extended from New York Bay midway through the island to its eastern
extremity. The ridge varied in height from one hundred to one hundred
and fifty feet above the sea, and from the plain it rose somewhat
abruptly from forty to eighty feet, but fell off more gradually in its
descent on the other side. Its entire surface was covered with a dense
growth of woods and thickets, and to an enemy advancing from below it
presented a continuous barrier, a huge natural abattis, impassable to
artillery, where with proportionate numbers a successful defence could
be sustained.

The roads across the ridge passed through its natural depressions, of
which there were four within a distance of six miles from the harbor.
The main highway, or Jamaica Road--that which led up from Brooklyn
Ferry--after passing through Bedford, kept on still north of the
hills, and crossed them at the "Jamaica Pass," about four miles from
the fortified line. From this branched three roads leading to the
villages in the plain. The most direct was that to Flatbush, which cut
through the ridge a mile and a half from the works. Three quarters of
a mile to the left, towards the Jamaica Pass, a road from Bedford led
also to Flatbush; and near the coast ran the Gowanus Road to the
Narrows. Where the Red Lion Tavern stood on this road, about three
miles from Brooklyn Church, a narrow lane, known as the Martense Lane,
now marking the southern boundary of Greenwood Cemetery, diverged to
the left through a hollow in the ridge and connected with roads on the
plain. To clearly understand succeeding movements on Long Island, it
is necessary to have in mind the relative situation of these several
routes and passes.

When word of the enemy's landing reached Sullivan and Washington the
troops were immediately put under arms. The commander-in-chief had
already been prepared for the intelligence by a dispatch from Governor
Livingston, of New Jersey, the night before, to the effect that he had
certain information from the British camp that they were then
embarking troops and would move to the attack on the following
day.[112] As the report came in that the enemy intended to march at
once upon Sullivan, Washington promptly sent him a reinforcement of
six regiments, which included Miles' and Atlee's from Stirling's
brigade, Chester's and Silliman's from Wadsworth's, and probably
Lasher's and Drake's from Scott's, numbering together some eighteen
hundred men. They crossed with light spirits, and were marched to
alarm-posts. Miles' two battalions went on to the Bedford Pass;
Silliman was ordered down into "a woody hill near Red Hook, to prevent
any more troops from landing thereabout."[113] Hand's riflemen,
supported by one of the Eastern regiments, watched and annoyed the
Hessians under Donop at Flatbush, and detachments were sent to guard
the lower roads near the Red Lion.[114] Within the Brooklyn lines the
troops stood to their alarm-posts. Colonel Little, expecting that
"morning would bring us to battle," and remembering his promise to
defend Fort Greene to the last extremity, enclosed his will to his
son, and directed him in a certain event to take proper charge at

[Footnote 112: Livingston sent a spy to Staten Island on the night of
the 20th, who brought word that the British were embarking, and would
attack on Long Island and up the North River. Washington received the
information during the storm on the following evening, and immediately
sent word to Heath at King's Bridge that the enemy were upon "the
point of striking the long-expected stroke." The next morning, the
22d, he wrote again instructing Heath to pick out "eight hundred or a
thousand, light, active men, and good marksmen," ready to move rapidly
wherever they were most needed; and he promised to send him some
artillery, "if," he continues, "we have not other employment upon
hand, which General Putnam, who is this instant come in, seems to
think we assuredly shall, this day, as there is a considerable
embarkation on board of the enemy's boats." (_Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll._,
volume for 1878. The Heath correspondence.) On the same date
Washington wrote to Hancock: "The falling down of several ships
yesterday evening to the Narrows, crowded with men, those succeeded by
many more this morning, and a great number of boats parading around
them, as I was just now informed, with troops, are all circumstances
indicating an attack, and it is not improbable it will be made to-day.
It could not have happened last night, by reason of a most violent
gust." (_Force_, 5th Series, vol. i., p. 1110). On the 21st, Colonel
Hand at the Narrows reported three times to General Nixon that the
British transports were filling with men and moving down, and the
reports were sent to Washington. These facts show how closely the
enemy were watched. The embarkation was known at headquarters early on
the morning of the 22d, before the landing was made on Long Island.]

[Footnote 113: Washington wrote to Heath the next day: "Our first
accounts were that they intended by a forced march to surprise General
Sullivan's lines, who commands during the illness of General Greene;
whereupon I immediately reinforced that post with six regiments."
Miles, Silliman, and Chester's adjutant, Tallmadge, state that their
regiments were among the first to cross after the enemy landed.
Sullivan's orders of the 25th and other records seem to indicate that
Atlee's, Lasher's, and Drake's were the other three battalions sent
over at the same time.]

[Footnote 114: See Sullivan's orders, Silliman's letters, Miles'
Journal (Part II.), and Chambers' letter. [Transcriber's Note: The
marker in the text for this footnote is missing in the original.]]

The morning of the 23d, however, brought no battle, nor did the enemy
attempt any advance for three days. Washington made Sullivan an early
visit, saw the situation there for himself, and during the day issued
another of his fervent orders to the army. He formally announced the
landing of the British, and again reminded his troops that the moment
was approaching on which their honor and success and the safety of the
country depended. "Remember, officers and soldiers," he said, "that
you are freemen, fighting for the blessings of liberty; that slavery
will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit
yourselves like men. Remember how your courage and spirit have been
despised and traduced by your cruel invaders; though they have found
by dear experience at Boston, Charleston, and other places what a few
brave men, contending in their own land and in the best of causes, can
do against base hirelings and mercenaries." He urged them, too, to be
cool, but determined; not to fire at a distance, but wait for the word
from their officers; and gave express orders that if any man
attempted to skulk, lie down, or retreat, he must be instantly shot
down as an example. Those who should distinguish themselves for
gallantry and good conduct were assured that they might depend upon
being honorably noticed and suitably rewarded. Strict orders as to
other matters were also issued. The commissary-general was to have
five days' baked bread on hand for distribution; the men were to have
constantly ready with them two days' hard bread and pork, and the
officers were to see not only that they had it, but kept it. The
officers of the newly arrived militiamen were instructed also to see
that the cartridges fitted their soldiers' muskets, and that each man
had twenty-four rounds and two flints.

On the Long Island front, Sullivan was alert, and kept his division in
readiness for the attack, which was now hourly expected. He ordered
his command that afternoon, the 23d, to prepare two days' provisions
and turn out the next morning at three o'clock. For the night, he
assigned Hitchcock's and Little's regiments to guard the Flatbush
Pass, Johnston's and Martin's to the coast road, and Remsen's Long
Island militia to support Miles on the Bedford Road. They were all to
be at their posts at six o'clock, and the regiments they relieved were
to return to their encampments and, like the rest, "get two days'
provisions dressed, and be ready for action."

Meanwhile some brisk skirmishing occurred in front of Flatbush. In the
afternoon of this day, the enemy, as Sullivan reported, formed, and
attempted to pass the road by Bedford, but meeting a warm reception
from the riflemen, some "musketry" sent to their support, and two or
three of our field pieces, they fell back. "Our men," wrote Sullivan
to Washington, "followed them to the house of Judge Lefferts (where a
number of them had taken lodgings), drove them out, and burnt the
house and a number of other buildings contiguous. They think they
killed a number; and, as evidence of it, they produced three officers'
hangers, a carbine, and one dead body, with a considerable sum of
money in pocket. I have ordered a party out for prisoners
to-night."[115] The enemy returned in force, and the American
skirmishers, having but two wounded, withdrew to the hills; but their
conduct in the affair was so highly appreciated by Sullivan, that he
issued a congratulatory order in the following terms:

"The general returns his thanks to the brave officers and soldiers
who, with so much spirit and intrepidity, repulsed the enemy and
defeated their designs of taking possession of the woods near our
lines. He is now convinced that the troops he has the honor to command
will not, in point of bravery, yield to any troops in the universe.
The cheerfulness with which they do their duty, and the patience with
which they undergo fatigue, evince exalted sentiments of freedom and
love of country, and gives him most satisfactory evidence that when
called upon they will prove themselves worthy of that freedom for
which they are now contending."[116]

[Footnote 115: Referring evidently to this skirmish,
Lieutenant-Colonel Chambers says: "Strong guards were maintained all
day on the flanks of the enemy, and our regiment and the Hessian
yagers kept up a severe firing, with a loss of but two wounded on our
side. We laid a few Hessians low, and made them retreat out of
Flatbush. Our people went into the town and brought the goods out of
the burning houses. The enemy liked to have lost their field-pieces.
Captain Steel acted bravely. We would certainly have had the cannon
had it not been for some foolish person calling retreat. The main body
of the foe returned to town, and when our lads came back they told of
their exploits."]

[Footnote 116: Little's Order Book, _Document_ 2. But it seems that
Remsen's Long Island militiamen were seized by a panic, either during
this skirmish or at a later hour, on the Bedford Road, and ran from
their posts. Sullivan rebuked them sharply in his orders of the 24th
(_Document_ 2), and confined them thereafter to "fatigue" duty. This
proved to be only the first of several militia panics experienced in
this campaign.]

On the 24th, Washington was still in doubt as to the intentions of the
enemy. Reports represented their numbers on Long Island at not more
than eight thousand, whereas they were double this estimate; and it
was suspected at headquarters that their landing might only be a feint
to draw off our troops to that side, while the real attack should be
made on New York. But the imprudence of running any risks on the
Brooklyn side was obvious, and Washington sent over a further
reinforcement of four regiments, which appear to have been Wyllys's,
Huntington's, and Tyler's of Parsons' brigade (his entire command was
there on the next day) together with the Pennsylvania detachments
under Lieutenant-Colonel Lutz and Major Hay. On this date
Brigadier-General Lord Stirling crossed over, where more than half his
brigade had preceded him; and Brigadier-General John Nixon, whose name
now first appears in connection with the operations on Long Island,
was detailed as field officer of the day, with orders to take command
of the outer line and post his men "in the edge of the woods next the

[Footnote 117: Sullivan's Orders, August 24th. _Document_ 2.]

But the principal event of the 24th was the change made in the chief
command on Long Island. Sullivan was superseded by Putnam. There were
now on that side the whole of Nixon's and Heard's brigades (the two
regiments on Governor's Island excepted), the larger part of
Stirling's and Parson's, and half of Scott's and Wadsworth's. As this
roster included one third of the army's effective force, the command
could properly be assigned to Putnam as the senior major-general
present; but it does not appear that the question of his rank entered
into the reasons for the change. In a letter to Governor Livingston
from Colonel Reed, the adjutant-general, dated August 30th, 1776, the
statement is made that Washington, "finding a great force going to
Long Island, sent over Putnam;" leaving the inference to be drawn
that, apart from his rank, Putnam was considered the proper officer,
or an officer competent, to command such a force. Reed states further
that some movements had been made on Long Island of which the
commander-in-chief did not entirely approve, and this also called for
a change. Sullivan, too, was wholly unacquainted with the ground;
although, as to this, Putnam's knowledge of it was not extensive, as
he had been over it only "occasionally." That Sullivan was a brave,
zealous, and active officer, his military career abundantly proves.
Appointed a brigadier-general from New Hampshire, he commanded a
brigade under Lee throughout the Boston siege, and had been sent, as
already stated, in the spring of this year to help repair the
misfortunes attending our force on the Canada border; but success was
not to be met with there, and Sullivan, finding Gates promoted to the
chief command in that quarter, returned, after visiting Congress, to
the New York army. Like most of our general officers at that date, he
as yet lacked military experience, especially in an independent
capacity, for which his ambition to succeed was not a sufficient
equivalent. How far Putnam was more competent to assume the command on
Long Island, is a point which the issue there, at least, did not
determine. His record before this was all in his favor. A veteran of
the old war, a man of known personal courage, blunt, honest,
practical, and devoted to the American cause, he had the confidence
of at least the older part of the army, with which he had been
identified from the beginning of the struggle. As he had never been
tried in a separate department, Washington could not say how he would
manage it, but he could say, from his experience with him at Boston,
that Putnam was "a most valuable man and fine executive officer,"[118]
and such he continued to prove himself through the present campaign.
He seconded Washington heartily and efficiently in all his plans and
preparations, and when he was sent to Long Island the commander-in-chief
had reason to feel that whatever directions he might give as to
operations there, Putnam would follow them out to the letter. But if
Putnam took the general command across the river, Sullivan continued
in active subordinate control, as second in command.[119]

[Footnote 118: Washington to Congress, January 30th, 1776.]

[Footnote 119: In regard to the change in the command, the
adjutant-general's statement in full is this: "On General Greene's
being sick, Sullivan took the command, who was wholly unacquainted
with the ground or country. Some movements being made which the
general did not approve entirely, and finding a great force going to
Long Island, he sent over Putnam, who had been over occasionally; this
gave some disgust, so that Putnam was directed to soothe and soften as
much as possible." (_Sedgwick's Life of Livingston_, p. 201.) What
movements were referred to, unless it was the random firing of the
skirmishers and the burning of houses at Flatbush by some of our men,
or how Putnam was to reconcile Sullivan to the change, as he was
directed (this evidently being the meaning of Reed's last phrase),
does not appear. From subsequent occurrences, the inference is
justified that Putnam did not disturb Sullivan's arrangements, but
left the disposition of the troops to him. What Sullivan himself says
is given in a note further along in the chapter. That Putnam went over
on the 24th, and in the forenoon, is evident from a letter from Reed
to his wife of that date, in which he says: "While I am writing, there
is a heavy firing and clouds of smoke rising from the wood [on Long
Island]. General Putnam was made happy by obtaining leave to go
over--the brave old man was quite miserable at being kept here."
(_Reed's Life of Reed._) This firing, as Washington wrote to Schuyler
on the same date, occurred in the morning. Putnam had been engaged
during the summer, principally, in looking after the defences in the
city and the river obstructions. He had charge, also, of the water
transportation, boats, pettiaugers, etc. His division was in the city
or close to it. Had the enemy, accordingly, attacked the city
directly, it would have fallen largely to Putnam to conduct the
defence; and this is doubtless the reason why, as Reed says, he was
"kept here." But as it now seemed certain that the British were
concentrating on Long Island, he evidently wished to be with the
troops there, where that morning there was "a heavy firing" going on,
and obtained leave to cross. Finding a change desirable, Washington,
probably at the same time, gave Putnam the command and "sent" him

On the 25th, Putnam received written instructions from Washington. He
was directed to form a proper line of defence around his encampment
and works on the most advantageous ground; to have a brigadier of the
day constantly upon the lines that he might be on the spot to command;
to have field-officers go the rounds and report the situation of the
guards; to have the guards particularly instructed in their duty; and
to compel all the men on duty to remain at their camps or quarters and
be ready to turn out at a moment's warning. The wood next to Red Hook
bordering Gowanus Creek was to be well attended to, and the woods
elsewhere secured by abattis, if necessary, to make the enemy's
progress as difficult as possible. The militia, or troops which were
least disciplined and had seen the least service, were to man the
interior lines, while the best men were "at all hazards" to prevent
the enemy's passing the woods and approaching the works. He
disapproved also of the unmeaning picket firing and the burning of
houses, and warned the general finally that when the attack came it
was certain to be "sudden and violent."[120]

[Footnote 120: Mr. Davis, in his Life of Aaron Burr, who was Putnam's
aid at this time, states that after crossing to Long Island and making
the round of the outposts, he (Burr) urged his general to beat up the
enemy's camp, but that Putnam declined, on the ground that his orders
required him to remain strictly on the defensive.]

For brigadier for the day, General Lord Stirling was assigned to duty
on this date.[121]

[Footnote 121: Sullivan's Orders, August 25th. _Document_ 2.]

In the skirmishing that continued from the 24th to the 26th the
Americans showed skill and bravery, although at times indulging in
desultory firing. The riflemen, supported by field-pieces, made
occasioned dashes upon the enemy and picked off their men with almost
no loss to themselves. Among the troops on picket near Flatbush, on
the 25th, were Colonel Silliman and his Connecticut battalion; and
from the colonel, who wrote from there, on a drum-head, to his wife,
we get a glimpse of the situation at that point during his tour of
duty. "I am now posted," he says, "within about half a mile from the
Regulars with my Regt. under the covert of a woody hill to stop their
passage into the country. There are a number of Regts. posted all
around the town within about the same distance and for the same
purpose. The Regulars keep up an almost constant fire from their
Cannon and Mortars at some or other of us, but neither shott nor shell
has come near my Regt. as yet and they are at too great a distance to
fire muskets at. I have a scouting party going out now to see if they
can't pick up some or get something from them.... They have wounded in
all of our men in 3 days skirmish about 8 or 9, one or two mortally,
which is not half the number that we have killed for them besides
wounded." On the 26th a considerable party with artillery attacked the
Hessians and drove them in, killing several men belonging to the Von
Lossberg regiment, which later in the day advanced in turn and
compelled our skirmishers to fall back. In this affair Colonel Ephraim
Martin, of New Jersey, was severely wounded.

On the morning of the 26th, Washington again crossed to Long Island,
where he remained until night. The records are quite silent as to how
he passed the most of his time, but judging from his letter to
Congress of this date, in which he expressed his belief that the enemy
had landed nearly all their force on that side, and that it was there
they would make their "grand push," it was doubtless a busy, watchful,
and anxious day with him. To suppose that he did not inform himself of
all the preparations made to meet the enemy, that he did not know what
number of men were posted on the hills and at what points, that he did
not study the several modes and directions of attack possible for the
enemy to adopt, and that he did not himself give personal directions,
would be to charge that at the most important moment of the campaign
he failed to exercise that care and attention to detail which he
exercised on so many occasions both before and after. Indeed, although
Putnam and Sullivan were in immediate command on Long Island,
Washington never shifted the final responsibility from his own
shoulders, and as a matter of fact was probably as well acquainted
with the ground as either of these generals. Towards evening, in
company with Putnam, Sullivan, and other officers, he rode down to the
outposts near Flatbush and examined the position of the enemy. How
long he remained, or what information he was able to gather, does not
appear; but both the other generals, Putnam and Sullivan, made a
detour of the pickets either at this time or at an earlier hour in the
day, visited Miles and Brodhead on the extreme left, took their
opinion as to the movements and intentions of the British, so far as
one could be formed by them, and then rode off to the right "to
reconnoitre the enemies lines."[122]

[Footnote 122: Several writers, Mr. Sparks among them, make the
statement that neither Washington nor Putnam went outside of the
Brooklyn lines. It would be impossible to credit this without absolute
proof of the fact. Washington always reconnoitred the position of the
enemy whenever they were near each other; in the last scenes of the
war at Yorktown he was among the first at the outposts examining the
British works. Undoubtedly he rode out to the Flatbush Pass on the
26th, as stated by the writer of the letter to the _South Carolina
Gazette_ (Document 19), who says: "The evening preceding the action,
General Washington, with a number of general officers, went down to
view the motions of the enemy, who were encamped at Flatbush." A
letter from a survivor of the Revolution, present on Long Island,
published in a newspaper several years since, well authenticated, and
preserved in one of Mr. Onderdonk's scrap-books in the Astor Library,
New York, confirms this statement. The soldier recollects that he saw
Washington and others looking at the enemy with their glasses.]

On this day also, the 26th, additional regiments were sent over. Two
of these were the remainder of Stirling's brigade--Haslet's Delaware
battalion, the largest in the army, as we have seen, and Smallwood's
Marylanders, one of the choicest and best equipped. Either on this or
one of the two previous days, Lieutenant-Colonel Kachlein's incomplete
battalion of Pennsylvania riflemen, with two or three independent
companies from Maryland, crossed; and among the last to go over were
one hundred picked men, the nucleus of the "Rangers," from Durkee's
Connecticut Continentals at Bergen, with Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas
Knowlton at their head.[123] These additions raised the force on Long
Island on the night of the 26th to a total of about seven thousand men
fit for duty.[124]

[Footnote 123: Statement of Colonel Thomas Grosvenor to the late David
P. Hall, Esq., of New York, who knew Grosvenor well, and preserved
many facts in writing in regard to his military career. Knowlton's
captains were Grosvenor and Stephen Brown, of Pomfret, Conn. The
detachment was on duty at the outposts on the night of the 26th. The
soldier whose letter is referred to in the note preceding this was one
of the "Rangers," and he states that their number was about one
hundred. That Smallwood's and Haslet's regiments crossed on the 26th,
we have from Smallwood himself.--_Force_, 5th Series, vol. ii., p.

[Footnote 124: The regiments were Little's and Ward's, from
Massachusetts; Varnum's and Hitchcock's, from Rhode Island;
Huntington's, Wyllys's, Tyler's, Chester's, Silliman's, and Gay's, and
Knowlton's "Rangers," from Connecticut; Lasher's and Drake's, from New
York; Smith's and Remsen's, from Long Island; Martin's, Forman's,
Johnston's, Newcomb's, and Cortland's, from New Jersey; Hand's,
Miles', Atlee's, Lutz's, Kachlein's, and Hay's, detachment from
Pennsylvania; Haslet's, from Delaware; and Smallwood's, from Maryland.
Among other artillery officers on that side were Captains Newell and
Treadwell, Captain-Lieutenants John Johnston and Benajah Carpenter;
Lieutenants Lillie and "Cadet" John Callender. This list is believed
to include all the battalions and detachments on Long Island at the
time the British attacked.]

Following in turn after Nixon and Stirling, Brigadier-General Parsons
was detailed as field officer of the day[125] for the next twenty-four
hours--the day of the engagement.

[Footnote 125: Parson's own statement, letter of October 5th: "On the
day of the surprise I was on duty."--_Document_ 5.]

       *       *       *       *       *

At about the time that Washington started to return to his
headquarters at New York, on this evening, Sir William Howe began to
set his columns in motion for the attack, and on the next morning, at
the passes in the hills and along their inner slopes, was fought what
is known in our Revolutionary history as the battle of Long Island.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fortunately, a point so essential to the comprehension of the progress
of any engagement, the position of both armies on Long Island, just
before the attack, is now known nearly to the last detail. The record
here is clear and satisfactory. On the night of the 26th, the various
regiments and detachments on guard at the American outposts numbered
not far from twenty-eight hundred men. At the important Flatbush Pass,
supporting the two or three gun battery there, and with strong pickets
thrown out to the edge of the woods nearest the enemy, were posted
Hitchcock's and Little's Continental regiments, and Johnston's New
Jersey battalion, the two former being commanded by their
lieutenant-colonels, Cornell and Henshaw. To this point, also,
Knowlton and his rangers appear to have been sent. The battery or
redoubt here stood about where the Flatbush and narrow Port Road
united, and was apparently no more than a plain breastwork, with
felled trees in front of it, thrown up across the road, and perhaps
extending to the rising ground on the left.[126] At the coast road,
around and beyond the Red Lion, the guards consisted of Hand's
riflemen, half of Atlee's musketry, detachments of New York troops,
and part of Lutz's Pennsylvanians under Major Burd. At the Bedford
Pass, to the left of the Flatbush Road, were stationed Colonel Samuel
Wyllys's Connecticut Continentals, and Colonel Chester's regiment from
the same State, under Lieutenant-Colonel Solomon Wills, of Tolland,
who had seen service in the French war and at Havana. Still further to
the left, Colonel Miles was now encamped a short distance beyond, in
the woods. Between these several passes, sentinels were stationed at
intervals along the crest of the ridge, to keep communication open
from one end of the line to the other.[127]

[Footnote 126: The site of this breastwork is now within the limits of
Prospect Park, and it stood across what is known as "Battle Pass." Dr.
Stiles in his History of Brooklyn, and Mr. Field in vol. ii. of the
L.I. Hist. Society's _Memoirs_, put a well-constructed redoubt at this
point on a hill-top to the left of the road. The account in the _South
Carolina Gazette_ says that the Flatbush Pass guards were posted "near
a mile from the parting of the road [_i.e._, a mile from where the
Flatbush Road branched from the Jamaica Road] where an _abattis_ was
formed across the road, and a breastwork thrown up and defended by two
pieces of cannon." In the original sketch of the "engagement," made by
John Ewing, who was Hand's brother-in-law, and with him on the spot,
there is this reference: "F. Where a considerable Number of our people
were stationed with several Field-pieces & Breast-works made with
Trees felled across the Road to defend themselves when attacked."
(_Document_ 15.) Colonel Miles speaks of "a small redoubt in front of
the village [Flatbush]" (_Document_ 20.) The breastwork across the
road was doubtless the principal defence here, and this was merely

[Footnote 127: The number of men at each of the three passes was about
eight hundred, and on the left of these were Miles' two battalions,
with perhaps five hundred men on duty. Sullivan's orders of August
25th give the detail which was to mount for picket on the following
morning. This detail, therefore, was the one on duty on the night of
the 26th. The order runs: "Eight hundred [men] properly officered to
relieve the troops on Bedford Road to-morrow morning, six field
officers to attend with this party. The same number to relieve those
on Bush [Flatbush] Road, and an equal number those stationed towards
the Narrows. A picket of three hundred men under the command of a
Field Officer, six Captains, twelve subalterns to be posted at the
wood on the west side of the creek every night till further orders."
(See also _Documents_ 5, 18, 19.) That Miles was on the extreme left,
we well know; that Wyllys was at the Bedford Pass, appears from both
Miles' and Brodhead's accounts; that Chester's regiment was with him,
appears from an extract quoted below--Chester's lieutenant-colonel
being Solomon Wills; that Johnston was at the Flatbush Pass, appears
from the same and other authorities; that Henshaw with Little's
regiment was there, he himself states; that Cornell was also there
with Hitchcock's Rhode Islanders, appears from Captain Olney's
narrative as given in _Mrs. Williams' Life of Olney_, and from the
lists of prisoners; that Hand was at the lower road, until relieved,
and Major Burd also, the major himself and Ewing's sketch both state;
the New York detachment there was probably a part of Lasher's
regiment. The extract referred to is from the _Connecticut Courant_,
containing a letter from an officer engaged in the battle, which says:
"The night before August 27th, on the west road, were posted Colonel
Hand's regiment, a detachment from Pennsylvania and New York; next
east were posted Colonel Johnson, of Jersey, and Lieutenant-Colonel
Henshaw, of Massachusetts; next east were posted Colonel Wyllys and
Lieutenant-Colonel Wills, of Connecticut. East of all these Colonel
Miles, of Pennsylvania, was posted towards Jamaica, to watch the
motion of the enemy and give intelligence."]

As far, then, to the left as Miles' position the hills were as well
guarded as seemed possible with the limited force that could be
spared, and at the passes themselves a stout resistance could have
been offered. But it was still an attenuated line, more than four
miles long, not parallel but oblique to the line of works at Brooklyn,
and distant from it not less than one and a half, and at the farthest
posts nearly three miles. Should the enemy pierce it at any one point,
an immediate retreat would have been necessary from every other. The
line could have been defended with confidence only on the supposition
that the British would not venture to penetrate the thick woods, but
advance along the roads through the passes.

It will be noticed that in this disposition no provision was made for
holding the fourth or Jamaica Pass far over to the left. That the
enemy could approach or make a diversion by that route, must have been
well understood. But the posting of a permanent guard there would
obviously have been attended with hazard, for the distance from the
lines to this pass was four miles, and from the Bedford Pass two miles
and a half through the woods. The position was thus extremely
isolated, if the troops stationed there were expected to make the
fortified line their point of retreat. None were stationed there
during the five days since the British landed, and it nowhere appears
that any were intended or ordered to be so stationed by either
Sullivan, Putnam, or the commander-in-chief. There was but one
effective way of preventing surprise from that quarter, and that was
to have squads of cavalry or troops constantly patrolling the road,
who on the appearance of an enemy could carry the word immediately and
rapidly to the outposts and the camp. But in all Washington's army
there was not a single company of horsemen, except the few Long Island
troopers from Kings and Queens counties, and these were now engaged
miles away in driving off stock out of reach of the enemy. The duty,
accordingly, of looking after the open left flank fell, in part, upon
Colonel Miles' two battalions. Lieutenant-Colonel Brodhead leaves it
on record that it was "hard duty." The regiment sent out scouting
parties every day a distance of four or five miles; one hundred men
were mounted for guard daily, and thirty more with a lieutenant were
kept on duty on the left, evidently in the direction of the Jamaica
Road. General Parsons reports that "in the wood was placed Colonel
Miles with his Battalion to watch the motion of the Enemy on that
part, with orders to keep a party constantly reconnoitering to and
across the Jamaica road." Should he discover the enemy at any time,
it would have been expected of him to report the fact at once, oppose
them vigorously, and retreat obstinately in order to give time for the
other detachments to govern their movements accordingly.

One other circumstance is to be noticed in regard to this Jamaica
Pass. General Sullivan, subsequently referring to his connection with
this battle, claimed that while he was in sole command he paid
horsemen out of his own purse to patrol the road, and that he
predicted the approach of the enemy by that road. Whatever inferences
may be drawn from this is not now to the point; but we have the fact
that upon the evening of the 26th he exercised the same authority he
had exercised in making other details, and sent out a special patrol
of five commissioned officers to watch the Jamaica Pass. Three of
these officers belonged to Colonel Lasher's New York City
battalion--Adjutant Jeronimus Hoogland and Lieutenants Robert Troup
and Edward Dunscomb; and the other two were Lieutenant Gerrit Van
Wagenen, a detached officer of McDougall's old regiment, and a
Lieutenant Gilliland, who with Van Wagenen had crossed to Long Island,
as a volunteer. What part this patrol played in the incidents of the
following morning will presently appear.

Thus on the night of the 26th the American outposts stretched along
the hills from the harbor to the Jamaica Pass, with unguarded
intervals, a distance of more than six miles, while in the plains
below lay the enemy, nearly ten times their number, ready to fall upon
them with "a sudden and violent" shock. During the night one change
was made in the picket guard. Colonel Hand's riflemen, who had been on
almost constant duty since the arrival of the British, were relieved
at two o'clock in the morning by a detachment from the flying camp,
which may have been a part of Hay's and Kachlein's men, and returning
to the lines, dropped down to sleep.[128]

[Footnote 128: Hand's letter of August 27th: "I escaped my part by
being relieved at 2 o'clock this morning." (Document 12.) See John
Ewing's letter and sketch.]

       *       *       *       *       *

If we leave our outposts now upon the hills and pass into the enemy's
camp on the plain below, we shall find them on the eve of carrying out
a great plan of attack. The four days since the 22d had been given to
preparation. On the 25th, Lieutenant-General De Heister crossed from
Staten Island with the two Hessian brigades of Von Stirn and Von
Mirbach, leaving behind Von Lossberg's brigade, with some detachments
and recruits, for the security of that island. With this addition,
Howe's force on Long Island was swelled to a total of about twenty-one
thousand officers and men, fit for duty and in the best condition for
active service.[129] As disposed on the 26th, the army lay with the
Hessians and the reserves under Cornwallis at Flatbush, the main body
under Clinton and Percy massed at Flatlands, and Grant's division of
the fourth and sixth brigades nearer the Narrows.

[Footnote 129: Extract from a British officer's letter dated, _Statton
Island, August 4, 1776_: ... "We are now in expectation of attacking
the fellows very soon, and if I may be allowed to judge, there never
was an army in better spirits nor in better health, two very important
things for our present business."--_Hist. Mag._, vol. v., p. 69.]

Outnumbering the Americans three to one on the island, Howe could lay
his plans with assurance of almost absolute success. He proposed to
advance upon the "rebels" in three columns. Grant was ordered to move
up from the Narrows along the lower road, and De Heister was to engage
the attention of the Americans at the Flatbush Pass, while Clinton,
Percy, and Cornwallis, with Howe himself, were to conduct the main
body as a flanking force around the American left by way of the
Jamaica Pass. A previous reconnoissance made by Clinton and Erskine,
and information gathered from the Tories, showed the practicability of
this latter movement.[130] Grant and De Heister were simply to make a
show of an attack until they were assured by the sound of the firing
that the flanking column had accomplished its design, when their
demonstrations were to be turned into serious fighting. It was
expected that by this plan the Americans stationed at the hills and
passes would be entirely enveloped and thoroughly beaten if not
captured in a body. With what nice precision this piece of strategy
was executed, events will show.

[Footnote 130: Stedman, the British historian, who served as an
officer under Howe, says: "Sir Henry Clinton and Sir William Erskine,
having reconnoitred the position of the enemy, saw that it would not
be a difficult matter to turn their left flank, which would either
oblige them to risk an engagement or to retire under manifest
disadvantage. This intelligence being communicated to Sir William
Howe, he consented to make the attempt."]

       *       *       *       *       *

The first collision was ominous. Grant's advance-guard, marching up
from the Narrows, struck the American pickets in the vicinity of the
Red Lion about two o'clock on the morning of the 27th. Whether because
they were all new troops, a part of whom had but just come upon the
ground, and were alarmed by the night attack, or because they were
surprised at their posts and put in danger of capture, or whatever the
reason, our picket guard at that point retreated before the enemy
without checking their march. There was hardly more than an exchange
of fire with Major Burd's detachment, as the major himself writes, and
in the confusion or darkness he, with many others probably, was taken
prisoner. This was an unfortunate beginning, so far as our men had
abandoned one of the very posts which it had been proposed to hold;
but otherwise, there being other positions available, it was not
necessarily fatal to the plan of defending the hills.[131]

[Footnote 131: Hardly more than a general statement can be made in
regard to the attack on the pickets at the lower road. A part of them
watched Martense Lane, where, it would appear from Ewing's sketch,
Hand's riflemen were posted before being relieved. Major Burd's
detachment, on the same authority, was probably on the direct road to
the Narrows, both parties communicating with each other at the Red
Lion Tavern, which stood near the fork of the roads. Grant's main
column advanced by the Narrows Road, and possibly a party of the enemy
came through the Martense Lane at about the same time. The skirmish
Major Burd speaks of occurred in the vicinity of Thirty-eighth and
Fortieth streets, on the Narrows Road, where former residents used to
say the Americans had a picket guard stationed. When the enemy came up
firing took place and some men were killed; and this firing "was the
first in the neighborhood." The pickets retreated, though General
Parsons was misinformed when he wrote that they did so "without firing
a gun." There was firing, but no stand made.]

Word of the attack was quickly carried to General Parsons at his
quarters and to General Putnam in camp. Parsons, as the brigadier on
duty, rode at once to the spot, and found "by fair daylight" not only
that the guards had "fled," but that the enemy were through the woods
and already on this side of the main hills. Hastily collecting some
twenty of the scattered pickets, he made a show of resistance, which
temporarily halted the enemy's column.[132] At the same time Putnam,
whose instructions were to hold the outposts "at all hazards" with his
best men, called up Stirling and directed him in person to take the
two regiments nearest at hand and march down to meet the enemy.[133]
Stirling promptly turned out Haslet's and Smallwood's battalions and
marched down. Colonel Atlee, who was also ordered forward, was on the
road before him, with that part of his regiment, about one hundred and
twenty men, not already on picket; and Huntington's Connecticut
Continentals, under Lieutenant-Colonel Clark (Huntington himself being
sick),[134] and Kachlein's Pennsylvania riflemen were soon after
started in the same direction. Meanwhile, within the lines, the
alarm-guns were fired, the whole camp roused, and the troops drawn up
at the forts and breastworks. Hand's riflemen, who had but just lain
down, "almost dead with fatigue," were turned out to take post in Fort
Putnam and the redoubt on its left.[135]

[Footnote 132: _Parsons' Letters._ Part II., Document 5.]

[Footnote 133: _Stirling to Washington, Aug. 29th:_ "About three
o'clock on the morning of the 27th I was called up, and informed by
General Putnam that the enemy were advancing," etc.--_Force_, 5th
Series, vol. i., p. 1245.]

[Footnote 134: "Col. Huntington is unwell, but I hope getting a little
better. He has a slow fever. Maj. Dyer is also unwell with a slow
fever. Gen'l Greene has been very sick but is better. Genls. Putnam,
Sullivan, Lord Sterling, Nixon, Parsons, & Heard are on Long Island
and a strong part of our army."--_Letter from Col. Trumbull, Aug.
27th, 1776._ _Document_ 7.]

[Footnote 135: See references on Ewing's sketch, Document 15: "H. Fort
Putnam where part of Colo. Hand's men commanded by Lieut C.
[Lieutenant-Colonel] Chambers were detached from the Regt. to man the
fort.--I. A small upper Fort where [I] was with the Colo the Day of
the Engagement." Lieutenant-Colonel Chambers says: "We had just got to
the fort, and I had only laid down, when the alarm-guns were fired. We
were compelled to turn out to the lines, and as soon as it was light
saw our men and theirs engaged with field-pieces." Nearly all the
accounts put Hand and his battalion at the Flatbush Pass during the
battle on the 27th. This, as we now find, is an error. The battalion
was worn out by its continued and effective skirmishing since the
landing of the enemy, and required rest; but of this it was to get
very little, even within the lines.]

When Stirling reached a point within half a mile of the Red Lion he
found, as Parsons had before him, that the enemy had met with little
opposition or delay at the outposts on that road, and were now on the
full march towards the Brooklyn lines. As there were still good
positions which he could occupy, he immediately made a disposition of
his force to offer resistance. The road here ran in a winding course
along the line of the present Third Avenue, but a short distance from
the bay, with here and there a dwelling which together constituted the
Gowanus village or settlement. Where the present Twenty-third Street
intersects the avenue there was a small bridge on the old road which
crossed a ditch or creek setting up from the bay to a low and marshy
piece of ground on the left, looking south; and just the other side of
the bridge, the land rose to quite a bluff at the water's edge, which
was known among the Dutch villagers as "Blockje's Bergh." From the
bluff the low hill fell gradually to the marsh or morass just
mentioned, the road continuing along between them.[136] Right here,
therefore, the approach by the road was narrow, and at the corner of
Twenty-third Street was confined to the crossing at the bridge.

[Footnote 136: The writer is indebted to the Hon. Teunis G. Bergen, of
Bay Ridge, L.I., for an accurate description and sketch of the Gowanus
Road, as it lay at the time of the battle. His survey is followed in
the "Map of the Brooklyn Defences," etc., Title, Maps. Part II.]

[Illustration: [signature: Jed Huntington]


Steel Engr. F. von Egloffstein N.Y.]

According to his own account, and from our present knowledge of the
topography, Stirling evidently came to a halt on or just this side of
"Blockje's Bergh." Seeing the British not far in his front, and taking
in the situation at a glance, he ordered Atlee to post his men on the
left of the road and wait the enemy's coming up, while he himself
retired with Smallwood's and Haslet's to form line on a piece of "very
advantageous ground" further back. Atlee reports this preliminary move
as follows: "I received orders from Lord Stirling to advance with my
battalion and oppose the enemy's passing a morass or swamp at the foot
of a fine rising ground, upon which they were first discovered, and
thereby give time to our brigade to form upon the heights. This order
I immediately obeyed, notwithstanding we must be exposed without any
kind of cover to the great fire of the enemy's musketry and
field-pieces, charged with round and grapeshot, and finely situated
upon the eminence above mentioned, having entire command of the ground
I was ordered to occupy. My battalion, although new and never before
having the opportunity of facing an enemy, sustained their fire until
the brigade had formed; but finding we could not possibly prevent
their crossing the swamp, I ordered my detachment to file off to the
left and take post in a wood upon the left of the brigade."[137]
General Parsons says: "We took possession of a hill about two miles
from camp, and detached Colonel Atlee to meet them further on the
road; in about sixty rods he drew up and received the enemy's fire and
gave them a well-directed fire from his regiment, which did great
execution, and then retreated to the hill."

[Footnote 137: _Atlee's Journal._ _Force_, 5th Series, vol. i., p.

This advantageous site, where Stirling had now drawn up his brigade to
dispute Grant's progress, was the crest of the slope which rose
northerly from the marsh and low ground around "Blockje's Bergh," and
which to-day is represented by about the line of Twentieth
Street.[138] Here was an elevation or ridge favorable for defence,
and here Stirling proposed to make a stand. On the right, next to the
road, he posted Smallwood's battalion, under Major Gist; further along
up the hillside were the Delawares, under Major MacDonough;[139] and
on their left, in the woods above, Atlee's men formed after falling
back from their attempt to stop the enemy.

[Footnote 138: Probably the earliest of modern attempts to identify
the site where Stirling formed his line was that made in 1839 by Maj.
D.B. Douglass, formerly of the United States Army. Greenwood Cemetery,
says Mr. Cleveland in his history of _Greenwood_, owes its present
beautiful appearance largely to this officer's "energy and taste,"
Douglass having been one of the first surveyors of the ground. He
located Stirling's position on what was then known as Wyckoff's hill,
between Eighteenth and Twentieth streets; and tradition and all the
original documents confirm this selection. This was a lower elevation
in the general slope from the main ridge towards the bay. Stirling
simply drew his men up in a straight line from the road towards the
hill-tops, and beyond him on the same line or more in advance, was
Parsons. The map in Sparks' _Washington_ putting Stirling down near
the Narrows is erroneous.]

[Footnote 139: The colonels and lieutenant-colonels of both these
regiments were detained at New York as members of the court-martial
which tried Lieutenant-colonel Zedwitz, of MacDougall's regiment,
charged with treasonable correspondence with the enemy. They joined
their regiments after the battle.]

When Kachlein's[140] riflemen came up, the general stationed part of
them along hedges near the foot of the hill in front of the
Marylanders, and part in front of the woods near Atlee. The line had
hardly been formed before it was observed that the enemy threatened to
overlap it on the left, and Parsons was accordingly ordered to take
Atlee's and Huntington's regiments and move still further into the
woods to defeat the designs on that flank.

[Footnote 140: This name appears in other accounts as Kichline or
Keichline. It is properly Kachlein, being so spelled by other members
of this officer's family.]

Finding Stirling thus thrown across their path, the British also drew
up in line and disposed their force as if intending to attack him at
once. About opposite to the Marylanders, possibly on Blockje's Bergh,
Grant posted the sixth brigade in two lines, while the fourth brigade
was extended in a single line from the low ground to the top of the
hills in Greenwood Cemetery.

Here, then, was a regular battle formation--Grant and Stirling
opposing each other--and we may regard it with interest not only as
the only line of battle preserved, on the American side at least,
during this day's struggle, but as being the first instance in the
Revolution where we met the British in the open field. Before this it
had been fighting under different conditions--the regulars mowed down
at Bunker Hill, Montgomery attempting to storm Quebec, or Moultrie
bravely holding a fort against a fleet; now the soldiers on either
side stood face to face, and the opportunity seemed at hand to fairly
test their native courage. Greatly disproportionate, however, was the
strength of these two lines. Stirling's, all told, contained not more
than sixteen hundred men; while Grant's, which besides the two
brigades included the Forty-second Highlanders and two companies of
American loyalists, was little less than seven thousand strong. But if
we find here a threatening attitude, let us not expect any desperate
fighting. It was not Grant's object to bring on an engagement at this
early hour, now seven o'clock in the morning, for he wished to keep
Stirling where he was until the other movements of the day were
developed. He contented himself with appearing to be on the point of
attack, and Stirling could do no more than prepare for a stubborn
defence of his ground.

The first move of the British was to send forward a small body of
light troops from their left, which advanced to within one hundred and
fifty yards of Stirling's right. This would bring them not far from
the little bridge on the road, where, from behind hedges and
apple-trees, they opened fire on our advanced riflemen, who replied
with spirit.

In the mean time, Stirling was reinforced by a two-gun battery from
Knox's artillery, under Captain-Lieutenant Benajah Carpenter, of
Providence, R.I., which was at once placed on the hillside to command
the road, and, according to Stirling, "the only approach for some
hundred yards," which must have been that part of the road running
over the bridge. The skirmishing was kept up at a lively rate for
about two hours, and occasionally, it would appear, our entire line
engaged in the fire. Of the particular incidents which occurred at
this point we have almost nothing; but perhaps, from one or two mere
references that have been preserved, the whole scene can be imagined.
"The enemy," writes one of the Maryland soldiers, "advanced towards
us, upon which Lord Stirling, who commanded, drew up in a line and
offered them battle in true English taste. The British then advanced
within about 200 yards of us, and began a heavy fire from their cannon
and mortars, for both the Balls and Shells flew very fast, now and
then taking off a head. Our men stood it amazingly well; not even one
of them shewed a Disposition to shrink. Our orders were not to fire
until the Enemy came within fifty yards of us, but when they perceived
we stood their fire so cooly and resolutely they declined coming any
nearer, altho' treble our number."[141] Colonel Haslet, although not
with his regiment, reported to his friend Cæsar Rodney that "the
Delawares drew up on the side of a hill, and stood upwards of four
hours, with a firm, determined countenance, in close array, their
colors flying, the enemy's artillery playing on them all the while,
not daring to advance and attack them;"[142] and his ensign, Stephens,
pointed with pride to the standard "torn with shot" while held in his

[Footnote 141: _Extracts from the Stiles Diary_ in vol. ii., p. 488,
of the Long Island Historical Society's _Memoirs_.]

[Footnote 142: _Haslet to Rodney._ _Force_, 5th Series, vol. ii., p.

Galled perhaps by the fire of Carpenter's battery, the British light
troops retired to their main line, and the firing from this time was
continued chiefly by the artillery. On their left they advanced one
howitzer to within three hundred yards of Stirling's right, and in
front of his left they opened with another piece at a distance of six
hundred yards, and until about eleven o'clock the cannonading was
vigorously sustained. Here was an engagement begun, and for four hours
Stirling's men were encouraged with the belief that they were holding
back the invaders. Their general inspired them with his own resolution
and bravery, both by word and example; and their good conduct in this
their first experience under fire, exposed without cover to cannon and
musket shot, indicated that Grant could not have pushed them back
without suffering severely. The casualties had not been large, but the
nerves of the men were none the less tested by the ordeal. Among the
Marylanders, Captain Edward Veazey, who commanded one of the
independent companies, doing duty with Smallwood's regiment, fell
"early in the engagement;" and either here, or on the retreat at a
later hour, also fell Captain Carpenter, whose battery had been doing
good work on Stirling's line. Of the Delawares, Major MacDonough and
Lieutenants Anderson and Course were slightly wounded. Accounts agree
that few of the men in either Smallwood's, Haslet's, or Kachlein's
battalions were killed or wounded while holding this position.

The three regiments immediately under Stirling thus not only appeared
to be doing well, but had actually proved themselves the best of
soldiers, both by keeping an unwavering line when the British light
troops advanced, as if to be followed by the main column, and in
maintaining their ranks and discipline when subjected to the
subsequent fire of the artillery.

Nor were these the only men who did themselves credit. That little
party composed of Atlee's and Huntington's battalions, under General
Parsons, which had gone into the woods to protect Stirling's left,
must not be forgotten. Our published accounts heretofore fail to
particularize the service it did; but it was of no small account, as
Parson's and Atlee's independent testimony and the returns of the
British losses clearly show. The party, not much over three hundred
strong, filed off to the left, and soon came in sight of "a hill of
clear ground" about three hundred yards distant, which was judged to
be the proper situation from which to watch the enemy.[143] The
direction Parsons' men took, the distances mentioned, and the fact
that tradition associates the site with part of the fighting on that
day, can leave no doubt but that the hill referred to here was one of
the two or three distinct elevations in the north-western section of
Greenwood Cemetery, and to one of which has since been given the
commemorative title of "Battle Hill." A spot fitly named, for around
it some brave work was done! As the detachment neared the hill, the
British flanking troops were also observed to be marching to seize it.
Atlee seeing this hurried his men to reach it first, but the enemy
were there before him and poured a volley into his battalion.
Fortunately, not being well aimed, this did trifling damage, but under
the shock a part of his men, with two companies from the Delaware
regiment, which had been ordered to join them, wavered. Rallying the
most of them, Atlee soon ordered an advance up the hill, telling the
men at the same time "to preserve their fire and aim aright;" and they
all pushed forward with so much resolution, and apparently with such
an effective discharge of their pieces, that the enemy fell back,
leaving behind them twelve killed and a lieutenant and four privates
wounded. In this encounter Atlee lost his "worthy friend" and
lieutenant-colonel, Caleb Parry, who fell dead upon the field without
a groan, while cheering on the battalion. Ordering four soldiers to
take the remains of "the hero" back into the Brooklyn lines, Atlee
halted his "brave fellows" on the hill, and all Parsons' command here
took post to await the further movements of the British on this flank.
The force they had met and repulsed consisted of the Twenty-third and
Forty-fourth and a part of the Seventeenth regiments, by whom they
were soon to be attacked again. In half an hour after the first affair
the enemy formed for another effort to seize the hill, but again
Atlee's and Huntington's men opened upon them, and for a second time
compelled their retreat, with the loss of Lieutenant-Colonel Grant, a
brave and valued field-officer of the Fortieth Regiment, whose fall
gave ground for the report, credited for some days after in the
American army, that Major-General Grant, the division commander, was
among the enemy's killed in the battle of Long Island. Parsons' men by
this time had fired away all their ammunition (Atlee says that his
battalion, at least, had entirely emptied their cartridge-boxes), and
had used what charges could be got from the enemy's dead and wounded,
when Huntington's ammunition cart "very luckily" came on the ground,
and the men were re-supplied for still a third attack, which was
threatened with the assistance of the Forty-second Highlanders; but
the British this time kept a safe distance, and Parsons and Atlee
remained on the hill, where they collected the enemy's dead and placed
their wounded under the shelter of the trees. Thus bravely and
effectively had this small body of Americans protected Stirling's
flank and dealt the enemy the severest blows they suffered at any one
point during the day, and this, as in the case of Stirling's men, with
but small loss to themselves. From behind fences and trees, and, if
tradition is correct, from the tops of trees as well, and from open
ground on the hill, they kept up their destructive fire and
successfully accomplished what they had been called upon to do.[144]
That the British did not intend at this hour to drive Parsons and
Atlee from their post is no detraction from the spirited fight made by
these officers and their men, who knew nothing of the enemy's
intentions, and who actually won the field from the troops they met.
All along this front, from Stirling holding the road on the right to
Parsons holding the left, with a long gap between them, the fighting
thus far had resulted most favorably to the American side. The main
line, as already stated, had lost not more than two officers killed
and three or four wounded, with a small number of men; while Parsons
and Atlee both report that in addition to the death of Lieutenant-Colonel
Parry they lost only one or two men wounded. But, on the part of the
British, Grant's two brigades, with the Forty-second Highlanders and
the two companies of New York loyalists, lost, according to Howe's
official report, two officers killed and four wounded, and among the
men twenty-five killed and ninety-nine wounded. The four regiments
alone which at different times encountered Parsons--the Seventeenth,
Twenty-third, Forty-fourth, and Forty-second--lost in the aggregate
eighty-six officers and men killed and wounded.

[Footnote 143: _Atlee's Journal._ _Force_, 5th Series, vol. i., p.

[Footnote 144: Parsons' reference to this affair at or near "Battle
Hill" in Greenwood is as follows: "I was ordered with Col. Atlee and
part of his Reg't, and Lt. Col. Clark with Col. Huntington's Reg't to
cover the left flank of our main body. This we executed though our
number did at no time exceed 300 men and we were attacked three
several times by two regiments, ye 44th and 23d and repulsed
them in every attack with considerable loss. The number of dead we had
collected together and the heap the enemy had made we supposed
amounted to about 60. We had 12 or 14 wounded prisoners who we caused
to be dressed and their wounds put in the best state our situation
would admit."--_Document_ 5.

See Colonel Atlee's journal in _Force's Archives_ for a full account
of the part his battalion took in this fighting.]

       *       *       *       *       *

While, now, Stirling and Parsons seemed to be effectually blocking the
advance of the British by the lower road and the Greenwood hills, what
was the situation at the other passes?

Up to eight o'clock, some five hours after Grant's appearance at the
Red Lion, no determined attack had been reported from either the
Flatbush or Bedford roads. The Hessians had made some show of
advancing from Flatbush at an early hour, but they had not as yet
driven in our pickets, although approaching near enough for the guns
at the breastwork on the road to fire upon them. No word had come from
Miles; nothing had been heard from the patrol of officers at the
Jamaica Pass. Whatever tactics the enemy were pursuing, it was evident
that at this hour they had not developed indications of a simultaneous
advance "all along the line." Were they making their principal push
against Stirling? Were they waiting for the fleet to work its way up
to co-operate? or would they still attempt to force the passes and the
hills at all points and overcome the American outguards by sheer
weight of numbers? Whatever theory our generals may have entertained
at this time as to the intentions of the British--a point which we
have no means of determining--it is certain that at about half-past
eight or nine o'clock Major-General Sullivan rode out from the
Brooklyn lines to the Flatbush Pass, with the evident purpose of
examining the situation at that and other points, and of obtaining the
latest information respecting the enemy's movements. We have this
substantially from his own pen: "I went," he says, "to the hill near
Flatbush to reconnoitre the enemy."[145] Nothing more natural, and
nothing more necessary; the situation at that hour required that some
responsible general officer should be in this vicinity to direct the
disposition of the troops the moment the enemy uncovered their plan.
Stirling on the lower road had his hands full, and it became some
one's duty to see that he was not put in danger by any possible mishap
elsewhere on the hills. Sullivan, therefore, the second in command,
went out to "examine" and to "reconnoitre." He had been out the
evening before, making the rounds with Putnam; to him Miles had
reported the situation of affairs on the extreme left; and it was by
his general orders that the last detail of guards had been made for
each of the passes. He was accordingly familiar with the plan of the
outer defence, and upon reaching the Flatbush Pass, where, as Miles
states, he took his station at the redoubt or barricade on the road,
he seems to have given certain directions on the strength of the
information he had obtained. If we may credit the writer of one of the
letters published at the time, the general was told that the main
body of the enemy were advancing by the lower road, "whereupon he
ordered another battalion to the assistance of Lord Stirling, keeping
800 men to guard the pass."[146] It is not difficult to accept this as
a correct statement of what actually occurred, because it is what we
should expect would have taken place under the circumstances. That
Sullivan took out any additional troops with him when he went to the
pass does not appear, but doubtless some were sent there. But as to
this Flatbush Pass, the most that can be said with any degree of
certainty is, that at about nine o'clock in the morning the Hessians
still remained comparatively quiet at the foot of the hills below;
that our guards and pickets stood at their different posts, not in
regular line, but detached on either side of the road, the commander
of each party governing himself as necessity required; that they were
expected to hold that point stubbornly, if for no other purpose now
than to secure Stirling's line of retreat; and that if attacked they
were to be reinforced. At the hour Sullivan reached the pass the
situation at all points appeared to be satisfactory.

[Footnote 145: Most of our writers are led into the error of supposing
that Sullivan was already at the Flatbush Pass, and that when he went
to reconnoitre he started from this point. The general says: "I went
to the Hill near Flatbush to reconnoitre the enemy, and with a picket
of four hundred men was surrounded by the enemy," etc. He went to the
hill--where from? The main camp, necessarily. We already had our
pickets well out in front, and had Sullivan gone beyond these he would
have come upon the Hessians. Besides his position fully overlooked
Flatbush, and no reconnoissance was necessary. Miles states that the
general remained at the redoubt. The quotation above means no more
than that Sullivan went out from the Brooklyn lines, and afterwards
was surrounded and fought with four hundred of the guard who were
there at the Pass with him.]

[Footnote 146: _Document_ 19.]

       *       *       *       *       *

But little did the Americans suspect that at the very moment their
defence seemed well arranged and their outguards vigilant they were
already in the web which the enemy had been silently weaving around
them during the night. That flanking column! Skilfully had it played
its part in the British plans, and with crushing weight was it now to
fall upon our outpost guards, who felt themselves secure along the
hills and in the woods. Cross again into the opposite camp and follow
the approach of this unlooked-for danger. First, Lord Howe withdrew
Cornwallis from Flatbush to Flatlands towards evening on the 26th,
and at nine o'clock at night set this flanking corps in motion. Sir
Henry Clinton commanded the van, which consisted of the light dragoons
and the brigade of light infantry. Cornwallis and the reserve
immediately followed; and after him marched the First Brigade and the
Seventy-first Regiment, with fourteen pieces of field artillery. These
troops formed the advance corps, and were followed at a proper
interval by Lord Percy and Howe himself, with the Second, Third, and
Fifth brigades, the guards, and ten guns. The Forty-ninth Regiment,
with four twelve-pounders, and the baggage with a separate guard,
brought up the rear. All told, this column was hardly less than ten
thousand strong. With three Flatbush Tories acting as guides, it took
up the march and headed, as Howe reports, "across the country through
the new lots" towards the Jamaica Pass, moving slowly and cautiously
along the road from Flatlands until it reached Shoemaker's Bridge,
which crossed a creek emptying into Jamaica Bay, when the column
struck over the fields to the Jamaica Road, where it came to a halt in
the open lots a short distance south-east of the pass, and directly in
front of Howard's Halfway House.[147]

[Footnote 147: Consult map of the battle-field, Part II.]

Here now occurred one of those incidents which, though insignificant
in themselves, sometimes become fatalities that turn the scale of
battle. The five American officers whom General Sullivan had sent out
the evening before to patrol this pass had stationed themselves at
this time, now between two and three o'clock on the morning of the
27th, a short distance east of Howard's house, apparently waiting for
sounds of the enemy on the line of the road. Evidently they had no
thought of his approach "across lots" from the direction of Flatlands,
or they could not have left the pass unwatched by one or more of the
party. For most of them, this was the first tour of military duty of
so responsible a nature, and whatever mistakes they made may be
referred to their inexperience or ignorance of the relative situation
of the roads in that vicinity. Who had charge of the party does not
appear. So far as known, only one of them, Lieutenant Van Wagenen, had
seen any considerable service; but although something of a veteran,
having entered the army in 1775 and charged with Montgomery upon
Quebec, he could have known nothing of the country he was now
patrolling. Lieutenants Troup and Dunscomb were young Columbia College
graduates of two years' standing, who had eagerly taken up the cause
of the colonists in the midst of adverse associations. Gilliland may
have once been an officer in McDougall's regiment, and Hoogland was
adjutant of Colonel Lasher's battalion. Had these officers, who
without doubt were all mounted, been patrolling at the pass or nearer
the lines, the events of the 27th might have worn a far different
aspect. As it was, the British by coming into the road at Howard's had
put themselves in the rear of the patrol, and its capture was quickly
effected. Captain William Glanville Evelyn, "a gallant officer" of the
Fourth Infantry, or King's Own, and a descendant of the eminent John
Evelyn, of England, led the British advance this night, and it fell to
his fortune to surround and capture all five American officers and
send them immediately to Clinton, who commanded the leading column.
Here was a blow inflicted upon us by the British, the real importance
of which they themselves even were ignorant of, for they had made
prisoners of the only patrol that was watching the Jamaica route from
the pass down to the very lines themselves!

Clinton "interrogated" the prisoners upon the spot, and ascertained
from them that the pass had not been occupied by the Americans. He
then attempted to obtain information of the position at Brooklyn and
the number of troops now there, by pressing the officers with
questions, when Dunscomb, indignant at the advantage he was taking of
their situation, replied to Clinton that "under other circumstances he
would not dare insult them in that manner." For this the young
lieutenant was called "an impudent rebel," and the British officers
threatened to have him hanged. Dunscomb's courage was equal to the
occasion, and, scouting the threat, declared that Washington would
hang man for man in return, and that as for himself he should give
Clinton no further information. But stoutly as Dunscomb and his
fellows maintained their rights and honor as prisoners, their capture
was one of the fatal turns that brought misfortune to the American

[Footnote 148: Hardly one of our modern accounts refers to this patrol
or its capture. The incident, however, affected the situation gravely.
Howe mentions it in his report as follows: "General Clinton being
arrived within half a mile of the pass about two hours before
daybreak, halted, and settled his disposition for the attack. One of
his patrols falling in with a patrol of the enemy's officers took
them; and the General learning from their information that the Rebels
had not occupied the pass, detached a battalion of Light Infantry to
secure it." Gordon says this: "One of his [Clinton's] patrols falls in
with a patrol of American officers on horseback, who are trepanned and
made prisoners." The letter in the _South Carolina Gazette_
(_Document_ 19) is to similar effect: "Five officers were also sent
out on horseback to patrol the last-mentioned road and that leading to
Jamaica, ... and were all made prisoners." Still stronger is the
testimony of a letter to be found in the _Autobiography and
Correspondence of Mary Granville, Mrs. Delany, with Interesting
Reminiscences of George III. and Queen Charlotte, &c., London, 1862_.
"The Hon. Mrs. Boscawen to Mrs. Delany.--_Glan Villa_, 17th Oct.
1776.... To compleat the prosperity of my journey I found on my return
to ye inn the most delightful news of our success on Long Island so
that I had a most agreeable supper and drank health to the noble
brothers [the two Howes]. We have had a letter from Capt. Evelyn from
the field of battle; he was in ye brigade of light infantry, and
took 5 officers prisoners who were sent to observe our motions. He
mentions Dr. Boscawen's son being well, for whom we were in great
care, being the only child. O! to compleat this by good news from N.
York and then peace!" We know who these officers were from several
sources, the most authoritative and important being the documents left
by one of the party himself, Lieutenant Van Wagenen, and now in the
possession of his grandson, Mr. Gerret H. Van Wagenen, of Brooklyn.
This officer had been sent down to Philadelphia in charge of prisoners
from Canada. At this point his deposition states that "on his return
to New York he found the enemy landing upon Long Island, and being a
supernumerary he went to Long Island and offered his services to Gen'l
Sullivan, who requested him, and four other officers, namely, Robert
Troup, Edward Dunscomb, William Guilderland and Jeromus Hooghland, to
go and reconnoitre the enemy, who were observed to be in motion, and
in the various advances on the enemy, fell in with a body of horse and
infantry by whom he and his little party were made prisoners, and
continued a Prisoner for about twenty-two months." Respecting the
questioning of the officers by Clinton, there is good authority.
Lieutenants Troup and Dunscomb, who afterwards rose to the rank of
Lieutenant-colonel and Captain respectively, have daughters still
living in New York, and from their own recollections and from papers
in their possession, the account given in the text is collated. At the
time of Captain Dunscomb's death one or more letters were published by
friends who had the particulars of the incident directly from him.
(See biographical sketches of these officers, Part II.) The sending
out of officers on such duty as was required this night, was not
unusual. The British scouts who preceded the expedition to Lexington
in 1775 were officers in disguise. Similar instances during the war
could be recalled as at Brandywine. Mr. Henry Onderdonk, Jr., of
Jamaica, states, in his carefully compiled and valuable collection of
_Revolutionary Incidents on Long Island_, that the patrol was captured
under a tree east of Howard's House.]

Upon learning that the pass was unguarded, Clinton, as Howe reports,
ordered one of the light infantry battalions to occupy it, and soon
after the main column followed. It would appear, however, that he
still moved cautiously, and that the battalion, or the troops that
followed, avoided a direct approach, and reached the Jamaica Road on
the other side of the pass by a roundabout lane known as the Rockaway
Path. The innkeeper Howard was waked up, and with his son compelled
to guide the British around to the road, where it was discovered, as
the patrol had stated, that the pass was unguarded. When the whole
force had marched through to the other side it was halted for a brief
"rest and refreshment," and then continued down the road to Bedford,
where the van, consisting of dragoons and light infantry, arrived
about half-past eight o'clock in the morning. So this flanking corps
had succeeded in making a slow, difficult, and circuitous march of
some nine miles from Flatlands during the night, and had placed itself
directly in the rear of the left of the American outposts, before its
approach was known in the Brooklyn camp. It was now nearer the lines
than were our picket guards at either of the outposts on the hills,
and by a swift advance down the Jamaica Road and along the Gowanus
Road to its intersection with the Port Road, it could have interposed
itself across every avenue of retreat from the hills to the lines. It
was Howe's plan to cut off the American retreat entirely, but while
successful in reaching our rear he fortunately failed to reap the
fullest advantage of his move. The loss he was now able to inflict
upon us was hardly a third of what might have been possible. But for
the Americans it was more than enough. From this point followed trial
and disaster. The day, which had opened so promisingly on the lower
road, had already, at early dawn, been lost to them at the Jamaica

What next happened after the British reached Bedford? What, in the
first place, had Miles been about in the woods on the extreme left
that the enemy should gain his rear before he knew it? Fortunately we
have the colonel himself and his lieutenant-colonel, Brodhead, to tell
us much if they do not explain all. Miles then puts it on record that,
on the day before the engagement, General Sullivan came to his camp,
to whom he reported his belief that when the enemy moved they would
fall into the Jamaica Road, and he hoped there were troops there to
watch them. On the following morning, at about seven o'clock, firing
began at the redoubt on the Flatbush Road, and he immediately marched
in that direction, but was stopped by Colonel Wyllys at the Bedford
Pass, who informed him that he could not pass on, as they were to
defend the Bedford Road. "Colonel Wyllys bearing a Continental, and I
a State commission," says Miles, "he was considered a senior officer,
and I was obliged to submit; but I told him I was convinced the main
body of the enemy would take the Jamaica Road, that there was no
probability of their coming along the road he was then guarding, and
if he would not let me proceed to where the firing was, I would return
and endeavor to get into the Jamaica Road before General Howe. To this
he consented, and I immediately made a retrograde march, and after
marching nearly two miles, the whole distance through woods, I arrived
within sight of the Jamaica Road, and to my great mortification I saw
the main body of the enemy in full march between me and our lines, and
the baggage guard just coming into the road."

Had Miles been surprised? This is one of the problems of the battle.
For four days he had been on the watch on this flank, and now the
British were in his rear! Would he have made that "retrograde" march
this morning, when the strictest attention to one's particular orders
was necessary, unless he had known that there were no troops on the
Jamaica Road, and unless it was a part of his duty to reconnoitre in
that direction? But he was now making a stout effort to find and fight
Howe, and before charging him with a blunder let us follow the battle
to its close.

One of Miles' soldiers hurried into camp and reported to Putnam that
infantry and cavalry were marching down from the Jamaica Pass;[149]
but all too late, for right upon the heels of the information came the
enemy! They pushed down the road from Bedford, and across the country,
to attack the American outguards in the rear, while the Hessians were
to come up in front. So, if we glance over the field again at about
half-past nine or ten o'clock on this eventful morning, we find the
whole aspect changed, and our entire force on the hills apparently
caught in a trap. Stirling was still facing Grant upon the right, but
his rear was in danger; while Sullivan and the picket guards at the
other passes were wedged in between the two powerful columns under
Howe and De Heister. What now was done? Who escaped?

[Footnote 149: _Force_, 5th Series, vol. i., p. 1195.]

Evidently Miles, way out in the woods on the left, had the least
prospect of getting back to the Brooklyn lines. When he found the
British on the road between him and camp he first proposed to attack
their baggage guard and cut his way through to the Sound, but on
consulting his officers (his first battalion alone being with him) he
turned about, determined to attempt a retreat to camp. It was
impossible for him to succeed, for he had a march of full three miles
to make; and after encountering the enemy once or twice in the woods,
he, with many of his men, was compelled to surrender. Brodhead, while
marching through the woods in Indian file to join him, was also
attacked and his men dispersed, though most of them, with the
lieutenant-colonel himself, escaped to the lines. The rout was
speedily communicated to the guards at the two remaining points. At
the Bedford Pass the detachments under Colonel Wyllys and
Lieutenant-Colonel Wills appear to have realized their danger about
the time the British reached Bedford village. Finding Miles' troops
broken up and flying, they too, through fear of being intercepted,
took up the retreat. Finally, at the Flatbush Pass--the last point in
the outpost line to be attacked--the peril was still greater, for now
the Hessians were moving up in front. Here, as we have seen, General
Sullivan had just arrived to examine the situation. He had not long to
wait, however, before the nature of that situation fully dawned upon
him and the troops at the pass. While watching the Hessians at
Flatbush they suddenly hear the rattle of musketry on the left of
their rear, where British light infantry and dragoons are beginning to
chase and fire upon Miles, Brodhead, and Wyllys, and their broken
detachments. The Flatbush Pass was a point to be held, for it was the
centre of the outpost line, and retreat therefrom would endanger
Stirling; but Sullivan and his men must act promptly if they would do
no more even than save themselves, for the enemy by this time are much
nearer the Brooklyn lines than they. Just what occurred at this
juncture the records fail to tell us clearly. Did Sullivan, as one
letter states, immediately send word to Stirling to retreat?[150]
This would have been the first and natural step. Whoever the
commanding officer might be at the Flatbush Pass, it was for him to
watch the situation at the outpost line and give orders to the right
and left. All depended on what was done at that pass. If the guards
there gave way all the others must give way instantly. Whether the
word, therefore, reached Stirling or not, we must believe that
Sullivan sent it, as he ought to have done, and is reported to have
done. As for the general himself and his party, retreat was the only
alternative. Leaving the advanced pickets to fall back before the
Hessians, they turned towards the British in their rear. Very soon
they encountered the light infantry and dragoons, who were now
engaging in the attack with the highest dash and spirit. Reinforced by
four companies of the guards, the latter captured three pieces of our
artillery--the same, doubtless, which had just been playing upon the
Hessians, but were now turned, in the retreat, upon the British--and
which our gunners defended "heroically" to the last. Sullivan and his
men fought well, and apparently in separate parties, until nearly all
that had been stationed at the Flatbush Pass succeeded in breaking or
making their way through to the lines.

[Footnote 150: The supposition that Stirling commanded outside of the
lines on Long Island is erroneous. He had command of the reserves in
camp (Orders of August 25th), and was the proper officer to call upon
to reinforce any part of the outer line in case of attack. Sullivan
says, "Lord Stirling commanded the main body without the lines;" by
which is meant that he was with the principal force that went out, as
he was. Until the attack, the general officer of the day was in charge
of the outposts. Sullivan governed himself according to circumstances.
He was to be second in command under Putnam within the lines, he
writes; but the situation soon required his presence outside, where he
was also familiar with the dispositions.]

Meanwhile the Hessians appeared. They came up from the Flatbush plains
with drums beating and colors flying. Donop's grenadiers and yagers
led, and immediately after them followed the veteran De Heister at the
head of the brigades. Reaching the summit of the ridge, they deployed
their lines, and putting their sharpshooters in advance, moved rapidly
upon the position which our Flatbush Pass guard had just abandoned.
They met with little opposition, for they had nothing before them but
our scattered pickets. Soon, however, they fell in with the
retreating groups which the British had cut off from the lines and had
pushed back into the hills, and upon these they fell fiercely, and in
many instances cruelly. Where they found a rifleman resisting too
long, they pinned him with their bayonets, and to some of the wounded
they showed no mercy. Most of the prisoners fell into their hands, for
the reason that they had been driven towards the Hessians by the
British; but otherwise the day afforded no opportunity for fair
fighting between these "foreigners" and our troops.[151]

[Footnote 151: The Hessians are usually credited with taking a
prominent part in this battle, whereas the day was practically decided
before they came up. Necessarily our guards at the Flatbush Pass knew
that the British were in their rear as soon or sooner than the
Hessians knew it. They therefore turned to meet this unexpected enemy.
What Olney and Henshaw say settles this point. Olney states that
Cornell marched towards the lines on hearing firing in his rear,
leaving Olney to reinforce his pickets in front of the Hessians.
Henshaw writes that, finding the enemy between him and the lines, and
knowing no orders could come to retreat, he marched for camp. Cornell
and Henshaw were old officers, knew the ground thoroughly, and saw at
once that they must retreat. No mention is made of the Hessians.
Lieutenant Olney was in front of the latter some time before he
followed after his regiment. Howe reports that it was the _British_
who took our guns in that part of the field. If there was any such
severe fighting at that pass, as Von Elking makes out, would the
Hessians have lost but two men killed--all that they lost during the
day? There are errors of fact in this writer's account. The most that
the Hessians did was to chase, capture, and sometimes bayonet those of
our soldiers whom the British had already routed. The real fighting of
the day was done by Howe's English troops, and the very best he had,
principally the light infantry, grenadiers, dragoons, and

Thus all along the hills, from the Flatbush Pass to the extreme left,
our outer guards were in full retreat! It was a flight and fight to
reach the Brooklyn lines! Ten o'clock--and Miles, Brodhead, Wyllys,
Wills, Johnston, Henshaw, and Cornell, with two thousand men, were
hurrying through the woods, down the slopes and across the fields,
some singly, some in groups, some keeping together in companies, some
in battalions, all aiming for one objective--the camp! Here they
fought the light infantry; there they were charged upon by the
dragoons; those who were intercepted fell into the hands or upon the
bayonets of the Hessians. It was a trying and desperate situation from
which there was no relief and for a long time the woods echoed with
the shouts and cries of the contending parties. But upon the whole the
loss to the Americans up to this time was not heavy, and could
Stirling have been saved, the enemy would have had no great victory to
boast of. Full half of Miles' two battalions reached the lines;
Wyllys' and Chester's suffered but slightly; Henshaw and Cornell
brought their men in without much loss, and in comparatively good
order; the greatest blow to the Jerseymen was the death of their brave
colonel, Johnston, their casualties otherwise being light; and
Knowlton's hundred rangers just saved themselves from the dragoons,
"with the utmost difficulty and on the full run." The artillerymen
suffered more. General Sullivan himself, after showing good courage
and avoiding capture until noon, endeavored to conceal himself, but
was found and made prisoner by three Hessian grenadiers.[152]

[Footnote 152: During this fighting by the British infantry,
Cornwallis and the reserves moved straight down the Jamaica Road. The
Thirty-third Regiment and the grenadiers in their pursuit of some of
the American fugitives approached the fortified lines between Fort
Greene and Fort Putnam, and showed such eagerness to storm them that,
according to Howe's report, it required repeated orders to hold them
back. On the part of the Americans, Little reports that the enemy
"attempted to force our lines, but soon retreated, being met with a
smart fire from our breastworks;" and Little, no doubt, was at Fort
Greene, an eye-witness.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The day was lost at the left and centre, and it only remains to return
to Stirling on the right. This general stood his ground firmly, though
the firing in his rear grew ominously distinct. He refused to
retreat, says Scott, for want of orders. If Sullivan sent him orders,
as we have assumed on one writer's authority that he did, they failed
to reach him. The time had come for the general to act on his own
judgment, and finding his salvation dependent on an immediate retreat,
he fell back from Grant's front between eleven and twelve o'clock, but
only to discover that he too was surrounded. The force which had
anticipated him was Cornwallis with the Seventy-first Regiment and the
Second Grenadiers, and they were holding his line of retreat on the
Gowanus Road. Stirling, realizing his danger, at once determined upon
the only manoeuvre that promised escape for any of his command. Upon
his left lay the Gowanus marsh and creek, where both were at their
broadest, and where a crossing had never been attempted. But now the
attempt must be made, or every man is lost. Upon the other side of the
creek are the Brooklyn peninsula, the lines, and safety. Stirling
therefore ordered his men to make their way across as they could,
while, to protect them as they forded or swam, he himself took Gist
and half the Maryland battalion and proceeded to attack Cornwallis.
Against all the misfortunes of the day this piece of resolution and
true soldiership stands out in noble relief. The Marylanders followed
their general without flinching, and were soon "warmly engaged" with
the enemy, who had posted themselves at a house--the old "Cortelyou"
house--above the upper mills near the intersection of the Port and
Gowanus roads. They rallied to the attack several times, as Stirling
reports, and seemed on the point of dislodging Cornwallis, when
reinforcements came up, and the British drove back the Marylanders
into a piece of woods. Here, with conspicuous courage and
determination, they formed again for still another effort to break
through. Stirling's example was inspiring. "He encouraged and animated
our young soldiers," writes Gist, "with almost invincible resolution."
But his handful of brave men had done all that was possible, and in
their last charge they were met by great numbers and forced to retire
again, "with much precipitation and confusion."[153] They broke up
into small parties and sought escape. Nine only, among whom was Major
Gist, succeeded in crossing the creek, the rest having retreated into
the woods.[154] Stirling endeavored to get into the lines between the
British and Fort Box, or by way of the mill-dam, but finding this
impossible, he turned, ran through their fire, and eluding pursuit
around a hill, made his way to the Hessian corps and surrendered
himself to General De Heister. He had sacrificed himself and party as
prisoners, but his main object was accomplished. The rest of the
command was saved! They crossed the marsh and creek with a loss of but
two or three killed and six or eight drowned.

[Footnote 153: The conduct of the Marylanders was soldierly beyond
praise. But some accounts subject them to a singular martyrdom,
killing every man of the two hundred and fifty-nine reported missing.
As there was but one officer wounded, or at the most one killed and
one wounded in the party, according to the official returns, the
proportion of men killed was doubtless small. The letter in _Force_,
5th Series, vol. i., p. 1232, referring to this attack, bears every
evidence of having been written by Gist himself, and it is quoted as
his in the text. In this letter Gist speaks of being surrounded on all
sides, and then adds: "The impracticability of forcing through such a
formidable body of troops rendered it the height of rashness and
imprudence to risk the lives of our remaining party in a third
attempt, and it became necessary for us to endeavor to effect our
escape in the best manner we possibly could." This shows that there
were many left to disperse. Their prudence was equal to their

[Footnote 154: Before Stirling's fight with Cornwallis took place, the
mill and little bridge at the further end of the mill-dam across
Gowanus Creek were burned down. Colonel Smallwood charged "a certain
Colonel Ward" with the act, and claimed that the destruction of the
bridge prevented the escape of Stirling and the Marylanders with him.
Mr. Bancroft and Mr. Field repeat the charge. But Smallwood is
contradicted both by Stirling and Gist, the former stating that he
could not get by the British on the road full half a mile beyond the
bridge, and the latter adding that he was driven back into the woods.
The charge had no foundation, the bridge not having been set on fire
until after the enemy took possession of the road above (see Ewing's
sketch). The "Colonel Ward" was Colonel Jonathan Ward, of
Massachusetts; and the probability is that he and Colonel Tyler, both
of whom lost some men during the day, had been sent out on the Port
Road, but, finding Cornwallis there, retreated, burning mill and
bridge to obstruct the latter's possible advance in that quarter.]

It was during this scene in the incidents of the day that Washington
and his staff came upon the ground. They had remained at New York
watching the fleet, when, finding that no danger was to be apprehended
from that quarter, they crossed to Long Island. From the top of one of
the hills within the lines, possibly Cobble Hill, the Chief witnessed
Stirling's retreat and fight, and is said there to have been
profoundly moved as he saw how many brave men he must inevitably lose.
Colonel Smallwood, of the Marylanders, who had rejoined his regiment,
petitioned for a force to march out and assist Stirling, but the
general declined on account of the risks involved. Douglas's
Connecticut levies, just coming up from the ferry,[155] were sent to
the extreme right opposite the mouth of Gowanus Creek, where, with
Captain Thomas' Maryland Independent Company and two pieces of
artillery, they stood ready to prevent pursuit of the retreating party
by the enemy.

[Footnote 155: The reinforcements that came over during the forenoon,
besides Douglas's regiment, were Sage's and Selden's, which, with
Douglas, completed Wadsworth's brigade on that side; Charles Webb's,
of McDougall's brigade; and Scott, with Malcom and Humphrey's men, or
the rest of his brigade.]

Last of all, where were Parsons and Atlee? Had they been holding that
hill in Greenwood all the morning, with a tenacity worthy of veterans,
only to be swallowed up in the defeat and confusion of the day? Such
was to be their fate. For some unexplained reason, when Stirling fell
back, he failed to inform Parsons of his move. Both Parsons and Atlee
state that no word reached them to join the general, and that it was
greatly to their surprise when they found the line, whose flank they
had been protecting, no longer there. Whatever the mistake, there was
no time to lose, for the enemy were now pressing on this little force,
and it must retreat as Stirling had done. But it soon found itself
more effectually hemmed in than any party in the field. Cornwallis,
after driving the Marylanders back, had complete command of the road,
and as Parsons and Atlee came along they found it impossible even to
reach the marsh. Some escaped, but the greater part turned into the
woods and were all taken. Atlee, with twenty-three men, avoided
capture until five o'clock in the afternoon; while Parsons, more
fortunate, hid in a swamp, having escaped from the action and pursuit
"as by a miracle," and with seven men made his way into our lines at
daylight next morning.[156]

[Footnote 156: "Colonel Huntington's and the Maryland regiment
suffered the most. General Parsons says that some of our men fought
through the enemy not less than 7 or 8 times that day. He lay out
himself part of the night concealed in a swamp, from whence he made
his escape with 7 men to our lines about break of day the next
morning."--_Letter from an Officer, Conn. Journal_, September 18th,
1776. "I came in with 7 men yesterday morning, much fatigued."--_General
Parsons_, August 29th, 1776.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The battle was over. It had continued at intervals, at one point or
another, over a range of five miles, from three o'clock in the morning
until nearly two in the afternoon. Less than five thousand Americans
at the passes, including Stirling's command and all others who had
marched out during the morning, had been swept up or swept back by
nearly twenty thousand British and Hessians. For our troops it was a
total defeat. They had been forced to abandon the outer line of
defence--the very line Washington wished should be held "at all
hazards"--and had been driven into the fortified camp on the Brooklyn
peninsula. This result would have inevitably come, sooner or later,
but no one could have entertained the possibility of its coming in
this sudden and disastrous shape.

       *       *       *       *       *

Looking back over the day's work, the cause of the defeat is apparent
at once: _We had been completely outflanked and surprised on the
Jamaica Road._ Where the responsibility for the surprise should rest
is another question. Evidently, if that patrol of officers had not
been captured, but, upon discovering the approach of the enemy, had
carried the word directly to Miles' camp and to headquarters, the
enemy would not have gained the rear of our outposts without warning.
Miles and Wyllys could have interposed themselves across their path,
and held the ground long enough at least to put our troops at the
other points on their guard. The surprise of this patrol, therefore,
can alone explain the defeat. But as the officers appear to have been
sent out as an additional precaution, the responsibility must be
shared by Miles and his regiment, who were the permanent guard on the
left. Brodhead, who wrote eight days after the event, distinctly
asserts that there were no troops beyond them, and that, for want of
videttes, that flank was left for them to watch. Parsons, as officer
of the day, reports that Miles was expected to patrol across the
Jamaica Road. But to charge the colonel personally with a fatal
mistake or neglect is not warranted by the facts. His own patrols and
pickets may have failed him. The simple fact appears that this
regiment was put upon our left, that our left was turned, and the
battle lost in consequence. As to the generalship of the day, if the
responsibility falls on any one, it falls first on Sullivan, who sent
out the mounted patrol in the first instance, and to whom it belonged
to follow up the precautions in that direction. Putnam was in chief
command, but nothing can be inferred from contemporary records to
fasten neglect or blunder upon him any more than upon Washington, who,
when he left the Brooklyn lines on the evening of the 26th, must have
known precisely what disposition had been made for the night at the
hills and passes. And upon Washington certainly the responsibility
cannot rest.[157]

[Footnote 157: RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DEFEAT.--According to some of
our more recent versions of this battle, the disaster is to be
referred to the wilful disobedience, criminal inattention, and total
incapacity of General Putnam. Several writers make the charge so
pointedly and upon such an array of fact, that the reader is left to
wonder how all this should have escaped the notice of the
commander-in-chief at the time, and why Putnam was not immediately
court-martialled and dismissed the service, instead of being
continued, as he was, in important commands. The charge is the more
serious as it is advanced by so respectable an authority as Mr.
Bancroft. Mr. Field, Mr. Dawson, and Dr. Stiles, following the latter,
incline strongly in the same direction.

Mr. Bancroft first assails Putnam for sending Stirling out to the
right when word came in that the enemy were advancing and our pickets
flying. This is criticised as "a rash order," because it sent Stirling
to a position which was "dangerous in the extreme," with the Gowanus
marsh in his rear. But as to this, it only needs to be said that
Putnam's written instructions from Washington were imperative to
prevent the enemy from passing the hills and approaching the works. It
would have been a clear disregard of Washington's intention had Putnam
not sent Stirling out precisely as he did. The enemy were coming up
from the Narrows and must be checked "at all hazards." Furthermore,
the position Stirling took up at about Nineteenth Street was actually
safer than any other on the outpost line. His right could not be
turned, for it rested on the bay, and he could see every movement of
the fleet. His left was well covered by Parsons, and no one could have
imagined his rear in danger with the other outposts guarding it for
more than three miles. As a matter of fact, Stirling was nearer the
lines than either Miles or Wyllys.

Again, it is charged that when Putnam and Sullivan visited the extreme
left on the 26th "the movements of the enemy plainly disclosed that it
was their intention to get into the rear of the Americans by the
Jamaica Road," yet nothing was done. The foundation of this is
probably a statement of Brodhead's and another by Miles to the effect
that these generals might have themselves observed that the enemy were
preparing for the Jamaica move. But if the intentions of the latter
were so obvious at that time, it is proper to ask why it was not
equally obvious on the next morning that they were actually carrying
out their intentions, and why Miles and Brodhead did not so report at
an early hour. These officers were rightly impressed with the
conviction that the enemy would come by way of Jamaica, but it is
certain that the enemy made no observable move in that direction from
Flatlands, where they had been for three days, until nine o'clock that
night. So says Howe. It was clearly in the plan of the British to give
our outposts no ground for suspecting a flanking manoeuvre. Their
movements were far from being "plainly disclosed." The quotation given
by Mr. Bancroft in this connection, namely, that "Washington's order
to secure the Jamaica Road was not obeyed," unfortunately appears as
original in a "Review of the War" published in 1779 and written by
some irresponsible individual in England, who could neither have known
what Washington's orders were, nor whether any attempt was made to
carry them out.

A further charge is this: "Early in the morning, Putnam was informed
that infantry and cavalry were advancing on the Jamaica Road. He gave
Washington no notice of the danger; he sent Stirling no order to
retreat." This is doubtless on the authority of a letter in _Force_,
5th Series, vol. i., p. 1195. But how early was Putnam informed? The
writer of the letter who brought the word was probably one of Miles'
or Brodhead's men, for he tells us that his regiment was dressed in
hunting-shirts, and he makes the very important statement that on his
way back to his post he met the enemy! The information came too late,
for the British were now marching down towards the lines. Sullivan had
gone to the Flatbush Pass, where he could understand the situation
better than Putnam, and he was the proper officer to give directions
to the outposts at that moment.

The charges made by Mr. Dawson have still less foundation. General
Putnam is stated never to have reconnoitred the enemy's position.
Brodhead, however, states distinctly that he did. "It is also a
well-established fact," says this writer, "that no general officer was
outside the lines at Brooklyn on the night of the 26th." What is the
authority for this? Nixon, Stirling, and Parsons had been successively
officers of the day, and presumably did their duty. Parsons, on the
morning of the 27th, was on the lower road trying to rally the pickets
before Stirling appeared with reinforcements. "The mounted patrols
which General Sullivan had established, as well as the guards at some
of the passes established by General Greene, were withdrawn." The fact
that all the passes were well guarded and a special patrol sent out,
is a complete answer to this assertion, so far as the night of the
26th is concerned. In this light the general conclusion arrived at by
Mr. Dawson, that "General Putnam paid no attention to the orders of
General Washington," cannot be sustained.

With regard to General Sullivan, it is but just to give his own
explanation. A year after the battle, he wrote: "I know it has been
generally reported that I commanded on Long Island when the actions
happened there. This is by no means true; _General Putnam_ had taken
the command from me four days before the action. Lord Stirling
commanded the main body without the lines; I was to have command under
General Putnam within the lines. I was very uneasy about a road
through which I had often foretold the enemy would come, but could not
persuade others to be of my opinion. I went to the Hill near Flatbush
to reconnoitre the enemy, and, with a piquet of four hundred men, was
surrounded by the enemy, who had advanced by the very road I had
foretold, and which I had paid horsemen fifty dollars for patrolling
by night, while I had the command, as I had no foot for the purpose,
for which I was never reimbursed, as it was supposed unnecessary." In
another letter he adds: "I was so persuaded of the enemy's coming the
[Jamaica] route, that I went to examine, and was surrounded by the
British army, and after a long and severe engagement was made
prisoner." These letters were written when Sullivan was restless under
charges brought against him in connection with the defeat at
Brandywine--charges which were properly dropped, however--and are not
conclusive as to the Long Island affair. His statements are no doubt
strictly true, but they in no way affect the main point, namely, did
we or did we not have a patrol out on the Jamaica Road _on the night
of the 26th_? We have seen that there was such a patrol, and probably
the best that had yet been sent out, and sent out, according to
Lieutenant Van Wagenen, by General Sullivan himself.

There are but few references to the question of responsibility in
contemporary letters and documents. Gordon blames Sullivan as being
over-confident. Miles and Brodhead leave us to infer that this general
had much to do with the plan of action, and must be held at least in
part responsible. Sullivan, on the other hand, according to Brodhead,
blamed Miles for the defeat, as Parsons did. When these officers
wrote, they wrote to defend their own conduct, and their testimony is
necessarily incomplete so far as others are concerned.

In brief, the case seems to be this: On the night of the 26th we had
all the roads guarded. On the morning of the 27th Putnam promptly
reinforced the guards on the lower road when the enemy were announced.
The arrangements were such that if an attack was made at any of the
other points he and Sullivan were to have word of it in ample time. No
word came in time from the left, for the reason that those who were to
bring it were captured, or surprised, or failed of their duty. Hence
the disaster. The dispositions on Long Island were quite as complete
as those at Brandywine more than a year later, where we suffered
nearly a similar surprise and as heavy a loss. Suppose the very small
patrols sent out by Washington and Sullivan to gain information before
that battle had been captured, as at Long Island--we should have
sustained a greater disaster than at Long Island.

Under this state of facts, to charge Putnam with the defeat of the
27th, in the terms which some writers have employed, is both unjust
and unhistorical. That misfortune is not to be clouded with the
additional reflection, that it was due to the gross neglect and
general incapacity of the officer in command. No facts or inferences
justify the charge. No one hinted it at the time; nor did Washington
in the least withdraw his confidence from Putnam during the remainder
of the campaign.]

What has been said of other defeats may be said with equal truth of
this one: if it was a disaster, it was not a disgrace. Even the
surprise upon the left discloses no criminal misconduct. In the
actual fighting of the day our soldiers stood their ground.
Necessarily we suffered heavily in prisoners, but otherwise our loss
was inconsiderable. All the light that we have to-day goes to
establish the very important fact, originally credited and reported by
Washington himself, but which hardly a single historical writer has
since ventured to repeat, that at the battle of Long Island _the
British and Hessians suffered a loss in killed and wounded equal to
that inflicted upon the Americans_.[158] Howe reported his total
casualties at three hundred and sixty-seven officers and soldiers. On
the side of the Americans the total loss did not exceed one thousand.
About eight hundred, including ninety-one officers, were taken
prisoners; not more than six officers and about fifty privates were
killed; and less than sixteen officers and one hundred and fifty
privates wounded. No frightful slaughter of our troops, as sometimes
pictured, occurred during the action. It was a field where the
American soldier, in every fair encounter, proved himself worthy of
the cause he was fighting for.

[Footnote 158: See note at the close of the chapter.]

       *       *       *       *       *

To those who fell in the engagement we may render here a grateful
tribute, though something more than this is due. Their services and
sacrifices are deserving of remembrance rather by a lasting memorial;
for men died here who showed not less of individual worth and heroism
than others who are immortalized on victorious fields. Thus at the
Flatbush Road we find Philip Johnston, colonel of the Jersey
battalion, which formed part of the guard there during the night. He
was the son of the worthy Judge Samuel Johnston, of the town of Sidney
in Hunterdon County. In his youth he had been a student at Princeton,
but, dropping his books, he took up the sword for the colonies in the
French war, from which he returned with honor. The troubles with Great
Britain found him ready again to fight in defence of common rights and
his native soil. Parting from his wife and child with touching
affection, he took the field with his regiment, and when attacked on
Long Island he showed all the qualities which mark the true soldier. A
gentleman of high principle, an officer of fine presence, one of the
strongest men in the army, he fought near Sullivan with the greatest
bravery until he fell mortally wounded. That August 27th was his
thirty-fifth birthday.

Equally glorious and regretted was the death of Lieutenant-Colonel
Caleb Parry, of Atlee's regiment, which occurred, as already noticed,
at an earlier hour and in another part of the field. He too was in the
prime of life, and eager to render the country some good service. A
representative colonist, descended from an ancient and honorable
family long seated in North Wales, and a man of polish and culture, he
stood ready for any sacrifice demanded of him at this crisis. Parry
came from Chester County, Pennsylvania, leaving a wife and five
children, and crossed with his regiment to Long Island four days
before the battle. Under what circumstances he fell has been told. As
they crossed the line of Greenwood Cemetery to take position at or
near "Battle Hill," the little command was greeted with a sudden
though harmless volley from the enemy. The men shrunk and fell back,
but Atlee rallied and Parry cheered them on, and they gained the hill.
It was here, while engaged in an officer's highest duty, turning men
to the enemy by his own example, that the fatal bullet pierced his
brow. When some future monument rises from Greenwood to commemorate
the struggle of this day, it can bear no more fitting line among its
inscriptions than this tribute of Brodhead's, "Parry died like a

Captain Edward Veazey, of the Marylanders, belonged to the family of
Veazeys who settled in Cecil County, on the eastern shore of that
State, and who traced their lineage back to the Norman De Veazies of
the eleventh century. The captain was fifty-five years of age, took up
the colonial cause at the start, raised the Seventh Independent
Company of Maryland troops, and was among the earliest to fall in
Stirling's line.

Captain Joseph Jewett, of Huntington's Continentals, perhaps defending
himself to the last, even when escape was impossible, was three times
stabbed with British bayonets after surrendering his sword. Cared for
by a humane surgeon, but still lingering in pain, he died on the
morning of the 29th, and was buried in the Bennett orchard, near
Twenty-second Street and Third Avenue. He left a family at Lyme, on
the Connecticut, where he lived, and from where he went to join the
army on the Lexington alarm. A soldier who fought on Long Island
remembers him as "an officer much respected and beloved, of elegant
and commanding appearance, and of unquestionable bravery."

The officers and men of the artillery, who fought the six pieces we
had in the action, covered themselves with honor. They were "the
flower" of Knox's regiment, picked for a field fight. Captain
Carpenter, of Providence, fell in Stirling's command, leaving a widow
to mourn him. Captain John Johnston, of Boston, was desperately
wounded, but recovered under the care of Surgeon Eustis. The record
which John Callender, of the same place, made for himself is a
familiar story. To wipe out the stain of an undeserved sentence passed
upon him after Bunker Hill, by which he was cashiered, he rejoined the
artillery as a private soldier, and then, as a "cadet," fought his
piece on Long Island until the enemy's bayonets were at his breast.
Upon his exchange as prisoner a year later, Washington restored him to
his rank as captain-lieutenant, and he served honorably to the end of
the war. Harmanus Rutgers, one of the patriotic Rutgers brothers in
New York, serving, it would seem, as a gunner, was struck in the
breast by a cannon-shot, and fell dead at his post. The tradition
preserved in his family is that he was the first man killed in the
battle. Knox, hearing how well his men had done, wrote to his wife: "I
have met with some loss in my regiment. They fought like heroes and
are gone to glory."

Of three others known to have been killed during the day, and who
probably complete the list of officers, we have no more than the fact
that they fell. They were Lieutenant Joseph Jacquet, of Miles' first
battalion, and Lieutenants David Sloan and Charles Taylor, of the
second battalion--all apparently from Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Hardly more than three or four names of the private soldiers who were
killed have been preserved, owing doubtless to the fact that, if they
were ever known, it was not until long after, when no rolls would show
their fate.

To the roll of the dead must be added also the honored name of General
Nathaniel Woodhull, of Long Island. On the day after the battle, a
party of British light horse, under Oliver De Lancey, rode out on the
Jamaica Road and surprised the general at an inn, where without
provocation he was cruelly hacked in the head and arm, and carried off
a prisoner. He survived until the 20th, when he died at New Utrecht.
His loss was greatly regretted, for he was a man of energy and
ability, and had the success of the Revolutionary cause most fervently
at heart.[159]

[Footnote 159: Mr. Onderdonk, Mr. Thompson, and others have gathered
and published all the known incidents respecting the fate of General
Woodhull, which are doubtless familiar to those interested in the
history of Long Island. See General Scott's brief reference to him in
_Document_ 6.]

       *       *       *       *       *

This battle was regarded at the time as one of very great importance,
and the result created a deep impression on both sides of the water.
In England they had long been waiting for the news, and the king
became depressed at the British delay in moving; in addition, the
first reports, coming by way of France, were unfavorable. But at last,
at three o'clock on the morning of October 10th, Major Cuyler, of
Howe's staff, reached the government with the official accounts of the
victory. Immediately, as Walpole tells us, the Court was filled with
"an extravagance of joy." The relief was so great that it was
displayed with "the utmost ostentation." The king at once determined
to send Howe "a red riband;" and Lord Mansfield, who had thrown the
weight of his great legal abilities against America, was created an
earl. The Mayor and Corporation of York voted an address to his
Majesty "on the victory at Long Island;" at Leeds they rang the
bells, lighted windows, fired cannon, and started a huge bonfire which
made the town "quite luminous;" and at Halifax, Colne, Huddersfield,
and many other places, similar rejoicings were held. At Limerick
Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell ordered the garrison under arms, and fired
three volleys "on account of the success of his Majesty's troops at
Long Island;" and, for the same reason, in the evening "a number of
ladies and gentlemen were elegantly entertained at dinner by the
bishop." From Paris Silas Deane wrote to Congress: "The want of
instructions or intelligence or remittances, with the late check on
Long Island, has sunk our credit to nothing." In Amsterdam, the centre
of exchange for all Europe, English stocks rose; but the Dutch, with
characteristic shrewdness, failed to accept "our misfortune" as final,
and took the opportunity to sell out. In London Tory circles they
considered the American war as practically over, and some began to
talk of new schemes of colonial government.

As for America, the defeat, coupled with the subsequent retreat,
everywhere carried alarm and keen disappointment. Greene speaks of the
"panic" in the county. But at the same time many brave voices were
raised to counteract despondency. Parsons, in the army, wrote: "I
think the trial of that day far from being any discouragement, but in
general our men behaved with firmness." Bartlett, in Congress, sent
word home to New Hampshire that he hoped the event would only make our
generals more careful in their future operations. "We have lost a
battle and a small island," said Dr. Rush, of Philadelphia, in one of
the sessions a few days later, "but we have not lost a State. Why
then should we be discouraged? Or why should we be discouraged even
if we had lost a State? If there were but one State left, still that
one should peril all for independence." "The panic may seize whom it
will," wrote John Adams; "it shall not seize me." But the grandest
words inspired by the pervading anxiety were those penned by Abigail
Adams, the noble wife of the Massachusetts delegate. "We have had many
stories," she wrote from Braintree, September 9th, "concerning
engagements upon Long Island this week, of our lines being forced and
of our troops returning to New York. Particulars we have not yet
obtained. All we can learn is that we have been unsuccessful there;
having many men as prisoners, among whom are Lord Stirling and General
Sullivan. _But if we should be defeated, I think we shall not be
conquered. A people fired, like the Romans, with love of their country
and of liberty, a zeal for the public good, and a noble emulation of
glory, will not be disheartened or dispirited by a succession of
unfortunate events. But, like them, may we learn by defeat the power
of becoming invincible!_"

This was the true inspiration of the hour. It was this that sustained
Washington and the strong men of the country through all the dark
period that followed. The disaster of the 27th was a disciplinary
experience. It was but the first of a series of blows that were to
harden us for future endurance. The event was accepted in this spirit
by all who had taken up the cause in earnest; and in this light the
memory of the day deserves to be forever celebrated and perpetuated.
Here, on Long Island, all was done that could be done, for we had met
the enemy at the sea. Here America made her first stand against
England's first great effort to subdue her; and here her resolution to
continue resistance was first tested and tempered in the fire of

       *       *       *       *       *

     THE LOSSES AT THE BATTLE.--So many widely different
     estimates have been made as to the extent of the American
     loss on Long Island, that it becomes a matter of historical
     interest to fix the actual figures, if possible, beyond

     The first official reference to the matter occurs in the
     letter which Washington directed Colonel Harrison, his
     secretary, to write to Congress on the evening of the
     battle. Nothing definite on this point being known at that
     hour, Harrison, after announcing the attack of the enemy,
     and the retreat of the troops into the Brooklyn lines, could
     only make the vague report that the American loss was
     "pretty considerable." On Thursday morning, the 29th, at
     "half after four A.M.," Washington himself wrote to Hancock
     that he was still uncertain how far the army had suffered.
     On Saturday, the 31st, he wrote again, and in this letter
     gave an estimate in figures. This was the only report he
     made to Congress in the matter, except indirectly. "Nor have
     I," he writes, "been yet able to obtain an exact account of
     our loss; we suppose it from seven hundred to a thousand
     killed and taken." In subsequent public and private letters
     to his brother, to Governor Trumbull, General Schuyler, and
     the Massachusetts Assembly, Washington did not vary these
     figures materially (except to make the estimate closer,
     about 800), and they stand, therefore, as his official
     return of the casualties of that day.

     Sir William Howe's report, on the other hand, presented
     altogether a different showing. It left no room for doubt as
     to the extent of the British victory. Dated September 3d,
     seven days after the affair, it contained all those
     particulars of events up to that time which a successful
     general is well aware will be received with special
     satisfaction by his government. The landing at Gravesend,
     the occupation of Flatbush, the skilful march of the
     flanking column, the bravery of the troops, and the complete
     success of the entire plan of action were mentioned in
     order; while a detailed statement and estimate of the losses
     on either side, including a tabulated return of prisoners
     taken, only fortified the impression that a most damaging
     defeat had been served upon the Americans. Against
     Washington's estimate of a total of one thousand or less for
     his own loss, Howe reported that the enlisted men he
     captured alone numbered one thousand and six, and that in
     addition he took ninety-one commissioned officers, of whom
     three were generals, three colonels, four
     lieutenant-colonels, three majors, eighteen captains,
     forty-three lieutenants, eleven ensigns, one adjutant, three
     surgeons, and two volunteers; and he "computed" that in
     killed, wounded, and drowned, the Americans lost two
     thousand two hundred more. On the part of the British, Howe
     reported five officers and fifty-six men killed, twelve
     officers and two hundred and fifty-five men wounded, and one
     officer and thirty men prisoners and missing. The Hessians
     lost two men killed, three officers and twenty-three men
     wounded. Howe's total loss, in a word, was made to appear at
     less than four hundred; Washington's full three thousand
     three hundred.

     The apparent exactness of this report has secured it, in
     general, against close analysis. English historians, almost
     without exception, quote it as it stands, while there are
     American writers who respect it so far as to pronounce
     Washington's report clearly, and even purposely, inaccurate.
     Thus the most recent English history of this period says:
     "The Americans fled in confusion, leaving upwards of three
     thousand killed, wounded, and prisoners, including their
     three generals of division;" and in a note the writer adds:
     "Washington's estimate of the loss on both sides was grossly
     incorrect. In his letter to Congress of the 30th August,
     giving a very meagre and evasive account of the action, he
     says that his loss in killed and prisoners was from 700 to
     1000; and that he had reason to believe the enemy had
     suffered still more. This would seem to be a wilful
     misrepresentation to prevent the public alarm which might
     have been caused by the knowledge of his real loss; were it
     not that in a private letter to his brother, three weeks
     afterwards, he makes a similar statement. General Howe's
     returns of _prisoners_, and of his own killed and wounded,
     are precise." (_History of England during the Reign of
     George the Third._ By the Right Hon. William Massey, 1865.)
     Among Brooklyn writers, Mr. Field asserts that Washington
     concealed the actual extent of his loss, and Dr. Stiles
     accepts the British report as it stands. Marshall puts the
     American loss at over 1000; Irving, 2000; Lossing, 1650;
     Field, 2000; Sparks, 1100; Bancroft, 800; Carrington, 970.
     Stedman, the earliest British historian, gives 2000, while
     Adolphus, Jesse, and Massey, who cover the reign of George
     III., blindly follow Howe and give over 3000 for the
     American loss.

     There is but one explanation of this wide discrepancy
     between the British and American returns, namely:
     Washington's original estimate at its largest limit--one
     thousand, killed, wounded, and prisoners--_was almost
     precisely correct_.

     Of this there can be no question whatever, the proof being a
     matter of record. Thus, on the 8th of October, Washington
     issued the following order: "The General desires the
     commanding officers of each regiment or corps will give in a
     list of the names and the officers and men who were killed,
     taken, or missing in the action of the 27th of August on
     Long Island and since that period. He desires the returns
     may be correct, &c." (_Force_). A large number of these
     lists are preserved in _Force_, 5th series, vol. iii., and
     from these we obtain the losses of the following regiments:
     Hitchcock's, total loss, one officer and nine men; Little's,
     three men; Huntington's, twenty-one officers and one hundred
     and eighty-six men; Wyllys', one officer and nine men;
     Tyler, three men; Ward, three men; Chester, twelve men; Gay,
     four men; Lasher, three officers. Smallwood's lost,
     according to Gist, twelve officers and two hundred and
     forty-seven men; Haslet, according to his own letters, two
     officers and twenty-five men; Johnston's New Jersey, two
     officers and less than twenty-five men, the rolls before and
     after the battle showing no greater difference in the
     strength of the regiment; Miles' two battalions, sixteen
     officers and about one hundred and sixty men (_Document_
     61); Atlee, eleven officers and seventy-seven men. (_Ibid._)
     No official report of the losses in Lutz's, Kachlein's, and
     Hay's detachments or the artillery can be found, but to give
     their total casualties at one hundred and fifty officers and
     men is probably a liberal estimate. Lutz lost six officers
     (all prisoners); Kachlein not more; Hay, one; the artillery,
     three. The regiments named in the foregoing list include all
     from which Howe reported that he took officers prisoners,
     from which it is safe to conclude that these were all that
     lost any. No others are mentioned as having been engaged.
     These figures show in round numbers a total of _one
     thousand_, and this was our total loss, according to
     official returns in nearly every case.

     How many of these, in the next place, were killed and
     wounded? If we are to credit certain Hessian and British
     accounts, as well as those of our own local historians, the
     battle-field on Long Island was a scene of carnage, a pen in
     which our men were slaughtered without mercy. The confused
     strife, says one writer, "is too terrible for the
     imagination to dwell upon." "An appalling massacre," says
     another, "thus closed the combat." "The forest," writes a
     Hessian officer, "was a scene of horror; there were
     certainly two thousand killed and wounded lying about." Lord
     Howe himself, as we have seen, "computed" that the American
     loss in killed and wounded alone was two thousand three
     hundred. But a striking commentary on this computation is
     not only the total omission on his part to mention how many
     of this very large number he buried on the field, but the
     important admission he makes that not more than sixty-seven
     wounded American officers and soldiers fell into his hands!
     Where were the twenty-two hundred other maimed and fallen
     rebels? Obviously, and as Howe must have well known, the
     Americans could carry few if any of their dead with them on
     their precipitate retreat, nor could any but the slightly
     hurt of the wounded make their escape. Full two thousand, by
     this calculation, must have been left upon the field. Who
     buried them? Were they the victims of the supposed frightful
     slaughter? Did the British general purposely give an evasive
     estimate to cover up the inhumanity which would thus have
     forever stained the glory of his victory? Far from it. That
     "computation" has no basis to stand upon; but, on the
     contrary, our loss in killed and wounded was not greater
     than the enemy's, but most probably less.

     This statement will bear close examination. On the 19th of
     September, after he must have been able to satisfy himself
     as to the extent of the defeat on Long Island, the
     commander-in-chief wrote to the Massachusetts Assembly that
     he had lost about eight hundred men, "more than three
     fourths of which were taken prisoners." He wrote the same
     thing to others. So Washington felt authorized to state
     positively that we lost in killed and wounded that day not
     over two hundred men and officers. "The enemy's loss in
     killed," he added, "we could never ascertain; but have many
     reasons to believe that it was pretty considerable, and
     exceeded ours a good deal." General Parsons, who saw as much
     of the field as any other officer, wrote to John Adams two
     days after the battle: "Our loss in killed and wounded is
     inconsiderable." General Scott, writing to John Jay, a week
     later, could say: "What our loss on Long Island was I am not
     able to estimate. I think from the best accounts we must
     have killed many of the enemy." Colonel Douglas wrote,
     August 31st: "The enemy surrounded a large detachment of our
     army, took many, killed some and the rest got off.... By the
     best account we killed more of them than they did of us. But
     they took the most prisoners." Lieutenant-Colonel Chambers,
     who was in the way of gathering many particulars from the
     Pennsylvanians who escaped, says: "Our men behaved as
     bravely as men ever did; but it is surprising that, with the
     superiority of numbers, they were not cut to pieces.... Our
     loss is chiefly in prisoners." Lieutenant-Colonel Brodhead,
     who had to retreat among the last over the very ground which
     others have marked out as the scene of the massacre, as the
     site where "lay nearly one thousand men, slain in the shock
     of battle, or by subsequent murder" (_Field_)--Brodhead
     says: "I retreated to the lines, having lost out of the
     whole battalion, about one hundred men, officers included,
     which, as they were much scattered, must be chiefly
     prisoners.... No troops could behave better than the
     Southern, for though they seldom engaged less than five to
     one, they frequently repulsed the Enemy with great
     Slaughter, and I am confident that the number of killed and
     wounded on their side, is greater than on ours,
     notwithstanding we had to fight them front and rear under
     every disadvantage." Colonel Silliman, of Connecticut, who
     appears to have made particular inquiries in the matter,
     wrote, September 10th: "I think upon the best information I
     can get that we are about 1000 men the worse for that
     action. The Enemy say they have about 800 of them prisoners.
     We have about 50 of them in the hospital wounded. Of the
     other 150 'tis said that in the engagement a considerable
     number of the riflemen deserted and went over to the enemy
     and some no doubt escaped towards the other end of the
     Island. On the whole I do not think we had 50 men killed in
     the action." (_MS. letter._) These are statements made by
     officers who were present at the battle, and who wrote
     within a few days of the event. They all, with many others,
     reach the same conclusion that the enemy suffered in killed
     and wounded as much if not more than the Americans. Their
     testimony, moreover, is strengthened by what we know
     directly and indirectly from the returns and other sources.
     The loss in officers, of which we have exact figures, is one
     basis of calculation. Ninety-one, as already stated, were
     taken prisoners, of whom nine were reported wounded in
     Howe's return. Among these were General Woodhull, Colonel
     Johnston, and Captain Jewett, all three mortally wounded,
     and Captain Bowie and Lieutenant Butler, of the Marylanders;
     Captain Johnston, of the artillery; Captain Peebles, of
     Miles', and Lieutenant Makepeace, of Huntington's. [Colonel
     Johnston is usually mentioned as having been killed on the
     field. But Howe's return gives one New Jersey colonel
     prisoner, and Elking's Hessian account states that he was
     wounded after being made prisoner.] Among officers known to
     be wounded, not captured, were Major McDonough, Lieutenants
     Course and Anderson, of the Delawares; Lieutenant Hughes, of
     Hitchcock's; and Captain Farmer, of Miles'. Lieutenant
     Patterson, of Hay's detachment, was either killed or
     captured (Colonel Cunningham's return). The officers killed
     were Lieutenant-Colonel Parry, Captain Carpenter, Captain
     Veazey, and Lieutenants Sloan, Jacquet, and Taylor. Various
     accounts state that Colonel Rutgers, Lieutenant-Colonel
     Eppes, Major Abeel (of Lasher's), Captain Fellows, and
     Lieutenant Moore (of Pennsylvania) were killed, but there is
     an error in each case, all these officers being reported
     alive at different dates after the battle. We have, then,
     twenty-one killed or wounded (six only killed on the field)
     among the American officers engaged in the action. If, as we
     have a right to assume, the same proportion held among the
     enlisted men, our total loss in killed and wounded could not
     have exceeded two hundred or two hundred and fifty, or more
     than one hundred less than the enemy's loss. Parsons and
     Atlee write that they lost but two or three. Miles says that
     in one of his skirmishes he lost a number of men, but nearly
     all were made prisoners. Little's regiment lost one killed;
     Hitchcock's the same. The five companies of Smallwood's
     battalion that attacked Cornwallis lost but one officer
     wounded, or at the most one killed and one wounded, and
     there is no reason to suppose that the men suffered very
     heavily. The loss among the Delawares was nearly all in
     prisoners. Lutz had six officers taken, but none killed or
     wounded; Hay lost one officer, either killed or prisoner. In
     Kachlein's detachment it is certain that the
     lieutenant-colonel, major, adjutant, three captains, and
     three lieutenants were not killed, which leaves little room
     for casualties in a party of not over four or five
     companies. So of all the other regiments engaged, they
     suffered but slightly in killed or wounded.

     Howe's list of prisoners was undoubtedly swelled by captures
     among the Long Island militia and citizen Whigs after the
     battle. He includes General Woodhull and two lieutenants,
     for instance, who were not taken at the battle but on the
     day following, and who, as Washington says, were "never
     arranged" in his army.

     The reports of the slaughter and massacre of our troops
     current in the enemy's camp at the time were greatly
     exaggerated. Some of our men were probably cut down most
     wantonly in the pursuit through the woods, both by British
     and Hessians, but the number was small. It is a noticeable
     and significant fact that the American accounts make no
     mention of any such wholesale cruelty, and certainly our
     soldiers would have been the first to call attention to it.
     That word "massacre" should have no place in any accurate
     description of the battle.



The situation at the Brooklyn lines was relieved on the 29th by the
famous retreat of our army to New York. If Howe had surprised us by an
unexpected manoeuvre on the 27th, Washington was now to surprise the
British with a different manoeuvre, conducted with greater skill. "A
fine retreat," says Jomini, "should meet with a reward equal to that
given for a great victory." History assigns such a reward to
Washington at Long Island.

This success--the extrication of the army from what was soon felt to
be a dangerous position--was not to be achieved without a previous two
days' experience of great hardship, trial, and despondency on the part
of the troops; and unceasing anxiety and watchfulness on the part of
the commander-in-chief. The night of the 27th had closed cheerlessly
on the devoted Americans. The hills had been wrested from them; many
of their best officers and soldiers were slain or prisoners; before
them stood the whole British army, flushed with success, and liable at
any hour to rush upon their works, and in their rear flowed a deep,
wide river.

Washington realized the position the moment of the retreat from the
passes, and immediately took measures to guard against further
disaster. Satisfied that Howe had his whole force with him, and that
an attack was not to be apprehended at any other point, he ordered
forward more troops to replace his losses and strengthen the lines.
Mifflin brought down from Harlem Heights the two well-drilled
Pennsylvania regiments under Colonels Magaw and Shee, with some
others; and Glover's Massachusetts was sent on from Fellows' brigade.
These all crossed to Long Island early on the morning of the 28th. At
the same time, the afternoon of the 27th, Washington sent word to
General Mercer in New Jersey to march all the forces under his command
"immediately to Powle's Hook";[160] they might be needed in New York,
they might be needed on Long Island. By the morning of the 28th, the
commander-in-chief had drawn to the Brooklyn lines all the troops that
could be spared from other points, and all with which he proposed to
resist the British if they attempted to carry his position by storm.
He had on that side the largest and best part of his army. The whole
of Greene's division was there, the whole of Spencer's, half of
Sullivan's, one third of Putnam's, and a part of Heath's--in all not
less than thirty-five regiments or detachments, which numbered
together something over nine thousand five hundred men fit for

[Footnote 160: This order was sent at two o'clock through General
Wooster, then temporarily in New York, and Mercer received it in the
evening near Newark. He sent word at once to the militia at Amboy,
Woodbridge, and Elizabethtown to march to Powle's Hook. _Force_, 5th
Series, vol. ii.]

[Footnote 161: A close analysis of the returns of September 12th,
estimating all additions or reductions which should be made since the
battle, shows that this was about the number on Long Island at this
date and at the time of the retreat. The brigades now there were
Nixon's, Heard's, Parson's, Wadsworth's, Stirling's, Scott's, two
regiments of Mifflin's, one at least of McDougall's (Webb's),
Glover's, and Fellows', the Long Island militia, artillery, rangers,
and several independent companies. We know at what part of the lines
some of these troops were posted. Greene's four old regiments
doubtless occupied the forts. Varnum was at Red Hook; Little at Fort
Greene; Hitchcock at Fort Putnam, and Hand with him there and in the
redoubt on the left. Forman's New Jersey had been at Fort Box. Three
of Scott's battalions were assigned to the centre, where the
breastworks crossed the Jamaica Road. Magaw, Shee, and Glover guarded
the line from Fort Putnam to the Wallabout; Silliman was at the
"northern part" of the works, probably on the right of Fort Putnam;
Gay's was between Fort Box and the Marsh; Douglas watched the extreme
right in the woods at the mouth of Gowanus Creek; and there was a
"reserve," which perhaps included among others the remnants of
Stirling's shattered brigade. Encircling them a mile or a mile and a
half distant in the edge of the woods, lay the British army with tents
already pitched in many places. North and south of the Jamaica Road,
just below Bedford, was Howe's main column; within and west of
Prospect Park were the Hessians; and on the right, Grant's division
bivouacked along the Gowanus Road.]

Had all things been relatively equal, the Americans within the lines,
according to military experience, should have been well able to hold
that front. But there was a total inequality of conditions. The enemy
were thoroughly equipped, disciplined, and provided for. They were an
army of professional soldiers, superior to any that could be brought
against them the world over. Thus far they had carried everything
before them, and were eager to achieve still greater victories. Behind
the Brooklyn works stood a poorly armed, badly officered, and for the
most part untrained mass of men, hurriedly gathered into the semblance
of an army. The events of the previous day, moreover, had greatly
depressed their spirits. Not a few of those who had been engaged in or
witnessed the battle were badly demoralized. To make matters worse,
the very elements seemed to combine against them. The two days they
were still to remain on the island were days of "extraordinary wet."
It rained almost continuously, and much of the time heavily. No fact
is better attested than this. August 28th, writes Colonel Little,
"weather very rainy;" "29th, very rainy." Major Tallmadge speaks of
the fatigue as having been aggravated by the "heavy rain." "The heavy
rain which fell two days and nights without intermission, etc.," said
the council which voted to retreat. Pastor Shewkirk in his diary notes
the weather particularly: "Wednesday 28th," he writes, ... "in the
afternoon we had extraordinary heavy rains and thunder." The flashes
of the cannons were intermixed with flashes of lightning. On the 29th,
"in the afternoon, such heavy rain fell again as can hardly be
remembered." To all this deluge our soldiers were exposed with but
little shelter. Necessity required that they should be at the lines,
and constantly on the watch, ready to repel any attempt to storm them.
When they lay down in the trenches at brief intervals for rest, they
kept their arms from the wet as they could. Cooking was out of the
question, and the men were compelled to take up with the unaccustomed
fare of hard biscuits and raw pork. Their wretched plight is referred
to in more than one of the letters of the day. Writes General Scott:
"You may judge of our situation, subject to almost incessant rains,
without baggage or tents, and almost without victuals or drink, and in
some part of the lines the men were standing up to their middles in
water." Captain Olney puts it on record that "the rain fell in such
torrents that the water was soon ankle deep in the fort. Yet with all
these inconveniences, and a powerful enemy just without musket-shot,
our men could not be kept awake." Captain Graydon, of Shee's
Pennsylvanians, says in his well-known "Memoirs:" "We had no tents to
screen us from the pitiless pelting, nor, if we had them, would it
have comported with the incessant vigilance required to have availed
ourselves of them, as, in fact, it might be said that we lay upon our
arms during the whole of our stay upon the island. In the article of
food we were little better off." Under the circumstances could
Washington's force have withstood the shock of a determined assault by
the enemy?

In spite, however, of weather, hunger, and fatigue, there was many a
brave man in the American camp who kept up heart and obeyed all orders
with spirit. One thing is certain, the British were not permitted to
suspect the distressed condition of our army. Our pickets and
riflemen, thrown out in front of the works, put on a bold face. On the
28th there was skirmishing the greater part of the day, and in the
evening, as Washington reports, "it was pretty smart." Writing from
the trenches on the 29th, Colonel Silliman says: "Our enemy have
encamped in plain sight of our camp at the distance of about a mile
and a half. We have had no general engagement yet, but no day passes
without some smart and hot skirmishes between different parties, in
which the success is sometimes one way and sometimes another. We are
in constant expectation of a general battle; no one can be here long
without getting pretty well acquainted with the whistling of cannon
and musket shot." Scarcely any particulars of these encounters[162]
are preserved, though one of them, at least, appears to have been
quite an important affair. The enemy had determined to approach the
lines by regular siege rather than hazard an assault, and late in the
afternoon of the 28th they advanced in some force to break ground for
the first parallel. The point selected was doubtless the high ground
between Vanderbilt and Clinton avenues, on the line of De Kalb. As to
what occurred we have but the briefest account, and that is from the
pen of Colonel Little. "On the morning of the 28th," he writes, "the
enemy were encamped on the heights in front of our encampment. Firing
was kept up on both sides from the right to the left. Firing on both
sides in front of Fort Putnam. About sunset the enemy pushed to
recover the ground we had taken (about 100 rods) in front of the fort.
The fire was very hot; the enemy gave way, and our people recovered
the ground. The firing ceased, and our people retired to the fort. The
enemy took possession again, and on the morning of the 30th [29th] had
a breastwork there 60 rods long and 150 rods distant from Fort
Putnam." It was this move of the British, more than any incident since
the battle, that determined Washington's future course.

[Footnote 162: In vol. ii. of the L.I. Hist. Society's "Memoirs," the
author, Mr. Field, devotes pages 254-258 to the skirmishing of some
Connecticut soldiers on the extreme right on the other side of Gowanus
Creek, which appears to him to have been rash and foolhardy, and
strangely in contrast with what also appears to him to have been an
exhibition of cowardice on their part the day before. The narrative
from which the incidents are taken (Martin's) shows no such singular
inconsistency in the conduct of these men. This was Colonel Douglas'
regiment, and, as Martin himself says, it moved promptly under orders
from the ferry to the right to cover Stirling's retreat. "Our
officers," he writes, "pressed forward towards a creek, where a large
party of Americans and British were engaged." They very properly did
not halt to help a company of artillerymen drag their pieces along.
The skirmish on the following day was nothing remarkable in its way.
It was just such brushes as the men engaged in that Washington, on
Graydon's authority, encouraged. The regiment displayed no particular
rashness on the 28th, nor any cowardice on the 27th--that is, if
Martin is to be credited.]

During all these trying hours since the defeat on the 27th, the most
conspicuous figure to be seen, now at one point and now at another of
the threatened lines, was that of the commander-in-chief. Wherever his
inspiring presence seemed necessary, there he was to be found. He
cheered the troops night and day. All that the soldiers endured, he
endured. For forty-eight hours, or the whole of the 28th and 29th, he
took no rest whatever, and was hardly once off his horse. As he rode
among the men in the storm he spoke to some in person, and everywhere
he gave directions, while his aids were as tireless as their Chief in
assisting him.

But circumstanced as the army was, it was inevitable that the question
should come up: Can the defence of the Brooklyn front be continued
without great hazard? It could not have escaped the notice of a single
soldier on that side, that if, with the river in their rear, the enemy
should succeed in penetrating the lines, or the fleet be able to
command the crossing, they would all be lost. There was no safety but
in retreat; and for twenty-four hours from the morning of the 29th,
all the energies of the commander-in-chief were directed towards
making the retreat successful.

To few incidents of the Revolution does greater interest attach than
to this final scene in the operations on Long Island. The formal
decision to abandon this point was made by a council of war, held late
in the day of the 29th, at the house of Phillip Livingston, then
absent as a member of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia. The
mansion made historic by this event stood on the line of Hicks Street,
just south of Joralemon.[163] There were present at the council, the
commander-in-chief, Major-Generals Putnam and Spencer, and
Brigadier-Generals Mifflin, McDougall, Parsons, Scott, Wadsworth, and
Fellows. As far as known, Scott alone of these generals has left us
any thing in regard to what transpired on the occasion beyond the
final result. He preserves the interesting fact that when the
proposition to retreat was presented it took him by surprise and he as
suddenly objected to it, "from an aversion to giving the enemy a
single inch of ground." It was the soil of his own State. As a member
of the New York Convention and of the Committee of Safety, and now as
a general officer, he had spent months in uninterrupted preparations
to defend that soil, and on the first impulse of the moment the
thought of yielding any more of it to the invaders was not to be
entertained. But he was soon "convinced by unanswerable reasons," and
the vote of the council was unanimous for retreat. Eight separate
reasons were embodied in the decision. _First._ A defeat had been
sustained on the 27th, and the woods lost where it was proposed to
make "a principal stand." _Second._ The loss in officers and men had
occasioned great confusion and discouragement among the troops.
_Third._ The rain had injured the arms and much of the ammunition, and
the soldiers were so worn out, that it was feared that they could not
be kept at the lines by any order. _Fourth._ The enemy appeared to be
endeavoring to get their ships into the East River to cut off
communication with New York, but the wind as yet had not served them.
_Fifth._ There were no obstructions sunk in the Channel between Long
and Governor's Island, and the council was assured by General
McDougall, "from his own nautic experience," that small ships could
sail up by that channel; the hulks, also, sunk between Governor's
Island and the Battery were regarded as insufficient obstructions for
that passage. _Sixth._ Though the lines were fortified by several
strong redoubts, the breastworks were weak, being "abattised with
brush" only in some places, and the enemy might break through them.
_Seventh._ The divided state of the army made a defence precarious.
_Eighth._ Several British men-of-war had worked their way into
Flushing Bay from the Sound, and with their assistance the enemy could
cross a force to the mainland in Westchester County, and gain the
American rear in the vicinity of King's Bridge. In view of these
considerations a retreat was considered imperative.

[Footnote 163: See _Document_ 6, in which General Scott says: "I was
summoned to a council of war at Mr. Phillip Livingston's house on
Thursday, 29th ult., etc."]

This was the official record of the council's action as afterwards
transmitted to Congress. It is not to be inferred, however, that
retreat was not thought of, or that nothing was done to effect it
until the council met. That Washington had foreseen the necessity of
the move, that he discussed it with others, and that he had already
begun the necessary preparations, is obvious both from the record and
from all that occurred during the day. The council did no more than to
coincide in his views and confirm his judgment.[164]

[Footnote 164: ORIGIN OF THE RETREAT.--Precisely when and why
Washington came to a determination in his own mind to retreat has been
made the subject of a somewhat nice historical inquiry. Gordon gives
one story; Mr. William B. Reed, biographer of Colonel Reed, gives
another; and Mr. Bancroft, General Carrington, and others indulge in
more or less extended criticisms on the point. Gordon's account is the
most probable and the best supported.

Whatever Washington may have thought of the situation on Long Island
after the defeat, it is enough to know that he immediately reinforced
himself there, and that on the 27th and 28th he made no preparations
to withdraw to New York. It far from follows, however, that he had
concluded to stay and fight it out "on that line" at all hazards. He
was acting on the defensive, and was necessarily obliged to guide
himself largely by the movements of the enemy. On Long Island,
therefore, he could only be on the watch, and, like a prudent general,
decide according to circumstances. Up to the morning of the 29th he
was still watching--watching not only the enemy, but his own army
also. In his letter to Congress, written at "half after 4 o'clock
A.M." of this date, he gives no intimation of a retreat, but rather
leaves that body to infer that he proposed to remain where he was. He
speaks, for instance, of expecting tents during the day to make the
troops more comfortable. On the same morning Reed wrote: "We hope to
be able to make a good stand, as our lines are pretty strong;" and he
doubtless reflected the views of his Chief at the time.

The two particular dangers now to which the army was exposed were the
danger of having its communication with New York cut off by the ships,
and the danger of being approached by the enemy in front by siege
operations, which the army was not prepared to meet. The first danger
had existed ever since the arrival of the enemy, and had been provided
for. All the batteries on Governor's Island and on both sides of the
East River had been built to guard against it. In addition, ships had
been sunk in the channel. Washington accordingly must have thoroughly
canvassed the risks he ran in regard to his communications. _These
alone had not decided him to retreat._ On the morning of the 29th,
however, he first became aware of the second danger. It was not until
then that the enemy fully developed their intention of advancing by
trenches. After working all night, as Howe reports, they had thrown up
by morning, as Little reports, a parallel sixty rods long and one
hundred and fifty rods distant from Fort Putnam. Reed wrote, "They are
intrenching at a small distance." In twenty-four hours at the farthest
they would have come within very close range, and the hazardous
alternative would have been forced upon us to attempt to drive them
out of their own works. Washington well knew that, in view of the
condition of his men and the great disparity of numbers, this could
not be done. When, therefore, he became assured of Howe's intentions
he acted promptly--_he determined to retreat_; and this determination
he reached early on the morning of the 29th.

This is substantially the theory which Gordon presents as a fact, and
it is most consistent with fact. Gordon's account is this: "The
victorious army encamped in the front of the American works in the
evening; and on the 28th at night broke ground in form about 4 or 500
yards distant from a redoubt which covered the left of the Americans.
The same day Gen. Mifflin crossed over from New York with 1000 men; at
night he made an offer to Gen. Washington of going the rounds, which
was accepted. He observed the approaches of the enemy, and the
forwardness of their batteries; and was convinced that no time was to
be lost. The next morning he conversed with the General upon the
subject, and said, 'You must either fight or retreat immediately. What
is your strength?' The General answered, 'Nine thousand.' The other
replied, 'It is not sufficient, we must therefore retreat.' They were
both agreed as to the calling of a Council of war; and Gen. Mifflin
was to propose a retreat. But as he was to make that proposal, lest
his own character should suffer, he stipulated, that if a retreat
should be agreed upon, he would command the rear; and if an action the

The fact that Mifflin was given the command of the rear on the
retreat, and the fact that he sent the order to Heath that morning to
send down all the boats from King's Bridge, lend the highest
probability to Gordon's version of the story. Parsons, who was one of
the members of the council, mentions this particularly as one of the
reasons for withdrawing, namely, that the enemy were "not disposed to
storm our lines, but set down to make regular approaches to us." Reed
also puts as much stress on this point as any other. Giving the
reasons for the retreat to Governor Livingston, he said: "The enemy at
the same time possessed themselves of a piece of ground very
advantageous and which they had [fortified]. We were therefore reduced
to the alternative of retiring to this place or going out with
[troops] to drive them off." Washington, too, is to be quoted. In his
letter to Trumbull, September 6th, he writes: "As the main body of the
enemy had encamped not far from our lines, and as I had reason to
believe they intended to force us from them by regular approaches,
which the nature of the ground favoured extremely, and at the same
time meant, by the ships of war, to cut off the communication between
the City and Island, and by that means keep our men divided and unable
to oppose them anywhere, by the advice of the General officers, on the
night of the 29th, I withdrew our troops from thence without any loss
of men and but little baggage."

William B. Reed's account (Reed's Life of Reed) is to the effect,
briefly, that a heavy fog settled over Long Island on the 29th, and
that during the day Colonel Reed, Colonel Grayson, and General Mifflin
rode to Red Hook inspecting the lines. While at the Hook, "a shift of
wind" cleared the fog from the harbor, enabling the officers to catch
a glimpse of the fleet at the Narrows. From certain movements of boats
they inferred that the ships would sail up with the favorable breeze
if it held until the tide turned and the fog cleared off. They
immediately hurried to Washington, informed him of the impending
danger, and induced him to call a council and order a retreat. Mr.
Bancroft, however, has shown very thoroughly that this account cannot
be accepted, because the fog did not come up until the morning of the
30th, and no change of wind occurred. Colonel Reed himself says in the
Livingston letter, written only the next morning, that the enemy's
fleet were attempting every day to get up to town with "the wind
_ahead_"--thus directly contradicting his biographer. The Reed account
has several errors of detail, one being the statement that the Red
Hook battery had been badly damaged by the guns of the Roebuck on the
27th. It would be nearer the truth to say that it was not hit at all.
The fleet could do nothing that day; as Admiral Howe reports, the
Roebuck was "the only ship that could fetch high enough to the
northward to exchange _a few random shot_ with the battery on Red

In a word, Washington, after receiving Mifflin's report in regard to
the approaches of the enemy, and probably other reports from Grayson,
Reed, and others in regard to the general condition of the troops (for
instance, Colonel Shee's uneasiness, referred to by Graydon), found
that the moment had come for decision. That decision was to retreat
that night; and during the forenoon, several hours before the council
met, he issued secret orders for the concentration of boats at the
ferry, as described in the text.]

The first thing necessary was to provide all the transportation
available in order to accomplish the retreat in the shortest time
possible after beginning it. There were boats at the Brooklyn ferry
and across at New York, but these were too few for the purpose.
Accordingly, on the forenoon of the 29th, Washington sent an order
through Mifflin to General Heath at King's Bridge to the following

     LONG ISLAND, August 29th, 1776.

     DEAR GENERAL--We have many battalions from New Jersey which
     are coming over to relieve others here. You will please
     therefore to order every flat bottomed boat and other craft
     at your post, fit for transporting troops, down to New York
     as soon as possible. They must be manned by some of Colonel
     Hutchinson's men and sent without the least delay. I write
     by order of the General. I am Affectionately Yours


At about the same time, Colonel Trumbull, the commissary-general, was
directed to carry a verbal order to Assistant Quartermaster Hughes at
New York, "to impress every kind of water craft from Hell Gate on the
Sound to Spuyten Duyvil Creek that could be kept afloat and that had
either sails or oars, and have them all in the east harbor of the City
by dark."[165] These two orders were carried out with great energy,
promptness, and secrecy by all who had any part in their execution.
Heath "immediately complied" with what Mifflin had written, and sent
down all his boats under Hutchinson's men from Salem, who, like
Glover's from Marblehead, were, many of them, the best of sailors. He
brooked the less delay, perhaps, because he saw at once that
Washington's "real intention" was, not to be reinforced from New
Jersey, but to retreat from Long Island.[166] Hughes, on his part, was
untiring, and rendered the greatest service. He would have been
mistaken this day rather for the master of a military school, than for
what he had been--the master of a classical one. For twenty-two hours,
as his biographer tells us, he never dismounted from his horse, but
superintended the collection of the vessels from all points, and at
evening had them ready for their purpose.[167]

[Footnote 165: Memorial of Colonel Hugh Hughes. Leake's Life of
General Lamb.]

[Footnote 166: Heath's Memoirs.]

[Footnote 167: There is an interesting letter of Washington's
preserved in the Hughes Memorial, which adds light on this point.
Eight years after the event, when Hughes needed some official
certificate showing his authority to impress all the craft he could
find, the general replied to him as follows:

"My memory is not charged with the particulars of the verbal order
which you say was delivered to you through Col. Joseph Trumbull, on
the 27th, August, 1776, 'for impressing all the sloops, boats, and
water craft from Spyhten Duyvel, in the Hudson, to Hell Gate, in the
Sound.' I recollect that it was a day which required the utmost
exertion, particularly in the Quarter-Master's department, to
accomplish the retreat which was intended, under cover of the
succeeding night; and that no delay or ceremony could be admitted in
the execution of the plan. I have no doubt, therefore, of your having
received orders to the effect, and to the extent which you have
mentioned; and you are at liberty to adduce this in testimony thereof.
It will, I presume, supply the place of a more formal certificate, and
is more consonant with my recollection of the transactions of that
day." It appears from this that Washington remembered that the _entire
day_ of the 29th was devoted to planning and preparing for the
retreat, and this fits the theory advanced in the note on the "Origin
of the Retreat." As to the delivery of the orders about boats, it is
probable that Trumbull crossed to New York with Mifflin's letter to
Heath and gave it to Hughes to forward. At the same time he gave
Hughes his instructions verbally. Hughes received them, says his
biographer, about noon. He then had eight hours to carry them out,
which gave him time to send to Heath and for Heath to comply, while he
and his assistants scoured the coast everywhere else for boats, from
Hell Gate down. Among other sloops impressed was the Middlesex,
Captain Stephen Hogeboom, while on its way to Claverack. "I was
prevented from proceeding," says the captain, "by Coll Wardsworth and
Commissary Hughes who ordered your memorialist over with the sloop to
Long Island ferry where she was used to carry off the Troops and
stores after the unfortunate retreat, &c."--_N.Y. Hist. MS._, vol. i.,
p. 620.]

The final withdrawal of the troops from the lines was effected under
the cover of a plausible general order, which was the only one known
to have been issued by the commander-in-chief while on Long
Island.[168] This order now comes to light for the first time, and is
important as serving to correct the improbable though standard theory
that the regiments were moved from their posts under the impression
that they were to make a night attack upon the enemy.[169] The order
as actually given was far more rational, and less likely to excite
suspicion as to its true intent. In the first place, the sick, "being
an encumbrance to the army" were directed to be sent to the hospital,
their arms and accoutrements taken with them, and from there to be
conveyed across to New York and reported to Surgeon-General Morgan. In
the next place, the order announced that troops under General Mercer
were expected that afternoon from New Jersey, with whom it was
proposed to relieve a proportionate number of the regiments on Long
Island, and "make a change in the situation of them." In view of the
distressed condition of most of the troops at the lines, the propriety
of such a "change" was obvious; and in all probability Washington did
originally intend to make the relief. And last, as it was apparently
undecided what regiments were to be relieved, they were all, or the
greater part of them, directed "to parade with their arms,
accoutrements, and knapsacks, at 7 o'clock, at the head of their
encampments and there wait for orders." On the evening of the 29th,
accordingly, we find the troops ready at their camps and the lines to
march off at a moment's notice, and all prepared for a retreat by the
most natural arrangement that could have been devised to conceal the
real design.[170]

[Footnote 168: _Document_ 3. "General Orders. Head-Quarters Long
Island, Aug. 29, 1776. Parole, _Sullivan_, Countersign,
_Greene_."--_Col. Douglas' Order Book._]

[Footnote 169: All our principal accounts follow Graydon, who states
that the order to attack the enemy was given "regimentally." Colonel
Hand, in his letter describing the night's incidents (Reed's Life of
Reed), makes no allusion to such an order, but on the contrary states
that he and the other colonels of the covering party were told that
they were to retreat. An order to attack would have been a poor
disguise for a retreat, for every man must have felt its utter
rashness and at once suspected some other move.]

[Footnote 170: A letter from Tilghman, Washington's aid, shows that
the troops received the impression that they were to be relieved. The
retreat, he says, "was conducted with so much Secrecy that neither
Subalterns or privates knew that the whole army was to cross back
again to N. York; they thought only a few regiments were to go
back."--_Document_ 29.]

At dark, the withdrawal began. As one regiment moved away towards the
ferry another would have its situation "changed" to fill the gap, or
extended from right to left. Every move at first was conducted busily,
yet quietly and without confusion. Colonel Little, referring to his
part this night, leaves the simple record that the general ordered
each regiment to be paraded on their own parades at seven o'clock
P.M., and wait for orders. "We received orders," he says, "to strike
our tents and march, with our baggage, to New York." Colonel Douglas
writes: "I received orders to call in my guard _all_, and march
immediately with the utmost silence." Hitchcock's Rhode Islanders
carried their baggage and camp equipage to the boats on their
shoulders "through mud and mire and not a ray of light visible." The
embarkation was made from the ferry--the present Fulton Ferry--where
General McDougall superintended the movements. Between seven and eight
o'clock the boats were manned by Glover's and Hutchinson's men, and
they went to work with sailor-like cheer and despatch. The militia and
levies were the first to cross, though there was some vexing delay in
getting them off. Unluckily, too, about nine o'clock the adverse wind
and tide and pouring rain began to make the navigation of the river
difficult. A north-easter sprang up, and Glover's men could do nothing
with the sloops and sail-boats. If the row-boats only were to be
depended upon, all the troops could not be ferried over before
morning. Discouraged at the prospect, McDougall sent Colonel Grayson,
of Washington's staff, to inform the general as to how matters stood,
but unable to find him Grayson returned, and McDougall went on with
the embarkation in spite of its difficulties. Most fortunately,
however, at eleven o'clock there was another and a favorable change in
the weather. The north-east wind died away, and soon after a gentle
breeze set in from the south-west, of which the sailors took quick
advantage, and the passage was now "direct, easy, and expeditious."
The troops were pushed across as fast as possible in every variety of
craft--row-boats, flat-boats, whale-boats, pettiaugers, sloops, and
sail-boats--some of which were loaded to within three inches of the
water, which was "as smooth as glass."

[Illustration: [signature: J.W. Glover]


Steel Engr. F. von Egloffstein N.Y.]

Meanwhile nearly a fatal blunder occurred at the lines. Early in the
evening, a force had been selected, consisting of Hand's, Smallwood's,
Haslet's, Shee's, Magaw's, and Chester's regiments, to remain at the
works to the last and cover the retreat. General Mifflin commanded the
party. Smallwood's men were stationed in Fort Putnam, part of Hand's
under Captain Miller in the redoubt on the left, and the rest at the
lines on the right of the main road; and the other regiments near
them. Brooklyn Church was to be the alarm-post, where the covering
party was to concentrate in case the enemy attacked during the night.
About two o'clock in the morning, Major Scammell, one of Sullivan's
aids now serving with Washington, mistook his orders and started
Mifflin's entire command for the ferry. All the regiments had left the
lines and were marching down the main road, when Washington, who
seemed to be everywhere during the night, met them and exclaimed in
astonishment that unless the lines were immediately re-manned "the
most disagreeable consequences" might follow, as every thing then
was in confusion at the ferry. Mifflin's party promptly faced about
and reoccupied their stations until dawn, when Providence again
"interposed in favor of the retreating army." To have attempted to
withdraw in clear daylight would have been a hazardous experiment for
these regiments, but just before dawn a heavy fog began to settle over
Long Island, and the covering party was safe. So dense was this
"heavenly messenger," as Gordon happily describes it, that it
effectually hid the American lines from the British pickets. When the
final order, therefore, came about sunrise for Mifflin's men to retire
to the ferry, they were enabled to do so under cover of the fog
without exciting any suspicion of their movements in the enemy's
camp.[171] "We kept up fires, with outposts stationed," says
Lieutenant-Colonel Chambers, "until all the rest were over. We left
the lines after it was fair day and then came off." As our soldiers
withdrew they distinctly heard the sound of pickaxe and shovel at the
British works.[172] Before seven o'clock the entire force had crossed
to New York, and among the last to leave was the commander-in-chief.
"General Washington," adds Chambers, "saw the last over himself."

[Footnote 171: Mr. Reed, the biographer, states that the fog rose on
the 29th. Dr. Stiles, in his "History of Brooklyn," says: "At midnight
a dense fog arose, which remained motionless and impenetrable over the
island during the whole of the next day [the 29th]." "A dense fog,"
writes Mr. Field, "hung over the island and river, when the morning of
the 29th dawned." Now nothing is more certain than that the fog did
not rise until shortly before dawn of the 30th, full six hours after
the retreat had begun. The 28th and 29th, as already seen, were days
of rain-storms, not mist, nor fog, but storm, "torrents," such rain at
times the like of which could "hardly be remembered." Contemporary
writers who mention the rains say nothing of fog on the 29th, whereas
they do notice its appearance the next morning. Major Tallmadge
writes: "As the dawn of the next day approached, those of us who
remained in the trenches became very anxious for our own safety, and
when the dawn appeared, there were several regiments still on duty. At
this time a very dense fog began to rise, and it seemed to settle in a
peculiar manner over both encampments. I recollect this peculiar
providential occurrence perfectly well; and so very dense was the
atmosphere that I could scarcely discern a man at six yards'
distance." This officer's regiment was one of the covering party, and
he adds that after leaving the lines by mistake, and receiving orders
to return, "Col. Chester immediately faced to the right about and
returned, where we tarried until the sun had risen, but the fog
remained as dense as ever." "At sunrise a great fog came up," says a
spectator (_Stiles' MS. Diary_). An officer or soldier of either
Shee's or Magaw's regiment, also of the covering party, wrote a few
hours after crossing: "We received orders to quit our station about
two o'clock this morning, and had made our retreat almost to the ferry
when Gen. Washington ordered us back to that part of the lines we were
first at, which was reckoned to be the most dangerous post. We got
back undiscovered by the enemy, and continued there until daylight.
Providentially for us, a great fog arose, which prevented the enemy
from seeing our retreat from their works which was not more than
musket shot from us."--_Force_, 5th Series, vol. i., p. 1233. So also,
Stedman, the British historian, referring to the events of the night
of the 29th-30th, says: "Another remarkable circumstance was, that on
Long Island hung a thick fog, which prevented the British troops from
discovering the operations of the enemy." Washington did not, as often
stated in popular accounts, take advantage of a fog to cover his
retreat. More than half the army was over before the fog appeared; but
it protected the covering party, and saved us the loss of considerable
baggage and other material.]

[Footnote 172: An English patrol under Captain Montressor discovered
the retreat of the Americans very soon after the latter left the
lines, and reported the fact at once. But for some unexplained reason
pursuit was delayed until too late. One boat with four stragglers was
taken by the enemy.]

By the army the retreat was welcomed as a great relief, a salvation
from probable calamity. Not a few appreciated its completeness and
success as a strictly military move. "This evacuation," writes one,
"is a masterpiece." "That grand retreat from the Island which will
ever reflect honour to our Generals," says another. "Considering the
difficulties," is Greene's criticism, "it was the best effected
retreat I ever read or heard of." "It was executed," says Scott, "with
unexpected success." But in the country at large it was generally
associated with the defeat of the 27th, and the skilfulness with which
it was conducted little compensated for the fact that the retreat was
forced upon us.



Long Island surrendered, could New York be held? Columbia Heights,
where Fort Stirling stood, had been regarded by Lee as the "capital
point," the key of the position. Greene called the Brooklyn front "the
pass," on the possession of which depended the security of the city.
Both pass and heights were now in the enemy's hands, and New York was
at their mercy. "We are in hourly expectation," wrote Commissary
Trumbull, September 1st, "that the town will be bombarded." Lieutenant
Jasper Ewing, of Hand's riflemen, saw that the British could reduce
the place to "a heap of ashes" in a day's time. Colonel Douglas looked
for an immediate cannonade from Fort Stirling, "which," he says, "I
have the mortification to think I helped build myself." But the enemy
kept their guns quiet, as they wished neither to injure the city nor
drive our army away. They contented themselves at first with
stretching their troops along the water front from Red Hook to Hell
Gate, Newtown, and Flushing on Long Island, and threatening to land at
any point on Manhattan Island from the Battery to Harlem, or beyond on
the Westchester shore.

As for Washington, the successful retreat had not in the least
relieved him from care or anxiety. He had escaped one trap: it was of
the utmost consequence now to see that he did not fall into another.
What he feared most was a sudden move upon his rear in Westchester
County, for in that case he would be hopelessly hemmed in on Manhattan
Island. "The enemy," continued Trumbull on the 1st, "are drawing their
men to the eastward on Long Island, as if they intended to throw a
strong party over on this island, near Hell Gate, so as to get on the
back of the city. We are preparing to meet them." Haslet wrote August
31st: "I expect every moment orders to march off to Kingsbridge to
prevent the enemy crossing the East River and confining us on another
nook.... If they can coop us up in N. York by intrenching from river
to river, horrid will be the consequences from their command of the
rivers." General Heath pressed the matter of watching the Westchester
coast, and Washington, concurring with him "as to the probability of
the enemy's endeavoring to land their forces at Hunt's Point," above
Hell Gate, wrote him on the 31st: "In order to prevent such an attempt
from being carried into execution I have sent up General Mifflin with
the troops he brought from your quarters, strengthened by
reinforcements. With this assistance I hope you will be able to defeat
their intentions. I beg you will exert yourself to the utmost of your
abilities on this momentous occasion." Several days passing without
any demonstration by the enemy, Washington's suspense was only
protracted, and on September 5th he wrote again to Heath as follows:

     "As everything in a manner depends upon obtaining
     intelligence of the enemy's motions, I do most earnestly
     entreat you and General Clinton to exert yourselves to
     accomplish this most desirable end. Leave no stone
     unturned, nor do not stick at expense to bring this to pass,
     as I never was more uneasy than on account of my want of
     knowledge on this score.

     "Keep, besides this precaution, constant lookouts (with good
     glasses) on some commanding heights that look well on to the
     other shore (and especially into the bays, where boats can
     be concealed), that they may observe, more particularly in
     the evening, if there be any uncommon movements. Much will
     depend upon early intelligence, and meeting the enemy before
     they can intrench. I should much approve of small harassing
     parties, stealing, as it were, over in the night, as they
     might keep the enemy alarmed, and more than probably bring
     off a prisoner, from whom some valuable intelligence may be

[Footnote 173: "The Heath Correspondence," Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll.,

To add to his burdens, the commander-in-chief found the condition of
his army growing worse instead of improving. The experiences on Long
Island had disheartened many of the troops, and their escape had not
revived their spirits.[174] The militia became impatient and went home
in groups and whole companies, and indeed in such numbers as to
materially diminish the strength of the army. To restore order and
confidence, Washington exerted himself to the utmost. Tilghman, one of
his aids, speaks of "the vast hurry of business" in which the general
was engaged at this time. "He is obliged," he writes, "to see into,
and in a manner fill every department, which is too much for one man."
To Rodney, Haslet wrote: "I fear Genl Washington has too heavy a
task, assisted mostly by beardless boys."[175] But fortunately for the
country the general's shoulders were broad enough for these great
duties, and his faith and resolution remained unshaken.

[Footnote 174: Pastor Shewkirk notes in his diary that immediately
after the retreat "a general damp" seemed to spread over the army.
"The merry tones on drums and fifes had ceased, and they were hardly
heard for a couple of days." The wet clothes, accoutrements, and tents
were lying about in front of the houses and in the streets, and every
thing was in confusion. But this was to be expected. General Scott,
referring evidently to expressions heard among his own men, says that
some declared that they had been "sold out," and others longed to have
Lee back from the South.--_Scott's MS. Letter_, September 6th, 1776.]

[Footnote 175: Washington's aids were most of them quite young men.]

As soon as possible the army was reorganized and stationed to meet the
new phase of the situation. Several changes were made in the brigades,
and the whole divided into three grand divisions, under Putnam,
Spencer, and Heath. Putnam's, consisting of five brigades, remained in
the city and guarded the East River above as far as Fifteenth Street;
Spencer's, of six brigades, took up the line from that point to Horn's
Hook and Harlem; and Heath with two brigades watched King's Bridge and
the Westchester shore. Greene had not sufficiently recovered from his
illness, and his old troops, under Nixon and Heard, were temporarily
doing duty with Spencer's command.[176] This disposition was effected
by the 2d of September, and by it our army again occupied an extended
line, endeavoring to protect every point on the east side from the
battery to King's Bridge, or the entire length of the island, a
distance of fourteen and a half miles.

[Footnote 176: A large number of changes were made in the organization
of the army after the retreat. The Connecticut militia were divided up
and formed into brigades with the levies under General Wadsworth,
Colonel Silliman, Colonel Douglas, and Colonel Chester. A brigade was
given also to Colonel Sargent, of Massachusetts. Putnam's division
included Parsons', Scott's, James Clinton's (Glover's), Fellows', and
Silliman's brigades; Spencer's and Greene's divisions included
Nixon's, Heard's, McDougall's, Wadsworth's, Douglas', Chester's and
Sargent's brigades; while Heath had his former brigades, with a change
of some regiments, under Mifflin and George Clinton.]

The question of abandoning New York and all that part of the island
below Harlem Heights was, meanwhile, under consideration. The city
would obviously be untenable under a bombardment, and the island
equally so if the British crossed into Westchester County. Yet
Washington, strangely, we may say, expressed the conviction that he
could hold both provided his troops could be depended upon.[177] Among
his generals, Greene earnestly opposed any such attempt, and advocated
the evacuation and destruction of the place. "The City and Island of
New York," he wrote to his chief, September 5th, "are no objects for
us; we are not to bring them into competition with the general
interests of America.... The sacrifice of the vast property of New
York and the suburbs, I hope has no influence on your Excellency's
measures. Remember the King of France. When Charles the Fifth, Emperor
of Germany, invaded his Kingdom, he laid whole Provinces waste; and by
that policy he starved and ruined Charles's army, and defeated him
without fighting a battle. Two-thirds of the property of the City of
New York and the suburbs belong to the tories. We have no very great
reason to run any considerable risk for its defence.... I would give
it as my opinion that a general and speedy retreat is absolutely
necessary, and that the honour and interest of America require it. I
would burn the city." John Jay before this also proposed its
destruction. Scott urged abandonment of the place for sound military
reasons, though the move would ruin him. Washington, however, on the
2d, presented the whole question to Congress. Also convinced by the
condition of the army, that the city must be evacuated, he asked, "If
we should be obliged to abandon the town, ought it to stand as winter
quarters for the enemy?" Congress voted, in reply, that "it should in
no event be damaged, for they had no doubt of being able to recover
it, even though the enemy should obtain possession of it for a time."
On the 7th, a council of war, inferring that Congress wished the place
to be held, decided to retain five thousand troops in the city and
concentrate the rest around and above Harlem; but on the 12th the
matter was reconsidered, and a second council voted to evacuate the
city and retire to Harlem Heights. The removal of stores and the sick
had already commenced; and on the 14th, when the enemy appeared to be
on the point of crossing from Montressor's, now Randall's, Island to
the mainland, all the teams and wagons that could be found were
impressed by the quartermasters to remove the remaining stores. In one
day more the removal would have been complete and the troops all
withdrawn to the heights. In the evening of the 14th Washington left
the city, and established his headquarters at the Morris Mansion, at
One Hundred and Sixty-first Street, overlooking Harlem River and the

[Footnote 177: "Till of late I had no doubt in my own mind of
defending this place, nor should I have yet, if the men would do their
duty, but this I despair of. It is painful, and extremely grating to
me, to give such unfavorable accounts; but it would be criminal to
conceal the truth at so critical a juncture."--_Washington to
Congress_, September 2d, 1776.]

[Footnote 178: Colonel Reed, the adjutant-general, wrote to his wife,
September 14th, from New York: "My baggage is all at King's bridge. We
expect to remove thither this evening. I mean our headquarters."--_Reed's
Reed._ Washington, writing of the events of the 15th, says: "I had
gone the night before to the main body of the army which was posted on
the plains and heights of Harlem." These references fail to confirm
the common statement that Washington made the Murray House on
Thirty-sixth Street his quarters for a short time after leaving the

       *       *       *       *       *

The enemy made no advance from Long Island until more than two weeks
after the battle. Howe's preparations were delayed because dependent
upon the co-operation of the fleet. On the night of the 3d of
September, the frigate Rose, of thirty-two guns, sailed up the East
River convoying thirty boats, and running through the fire of our guns
at the Grand Battery, the ship-yards, and Corlears Hook, anchored
close into Wallabout Bay, where on the 5th our artillerists "briskly
cannonaded" her. After dark on the 12th, thirty-six additional boats
passed our batteries to Bushwick Creek, and the night after forty more
followed. Then towards sunset on the 14th, the frigates Roebuck,
Phoenix, Orpheus, and Carysfort, with six transports, joined the
Rose without receiving material injury from the heavy fire poured upon
them by our gunners.

On the following morning, the 15th, the British moved against
Manhattan Island, and in the afternoon New York City fell into their
possession. What occurred beforehand during the day is known as the
"Kip's Bay affair."[179]

[Footnote 179: According to the Hessian major, Baurmeister, the 13th
had been first named as the date for the attack. "On this day," he
writes, "General Howe wished to land upon the island of New York,
because 18 years ago on this day General Wulff [Wolfe] had conquered
at Quebec, but also lost his life. The watchword for this end was
'Quebec' and the countersign 'Wulff,' but the frigates were too late
for this attack as they only sailed out of the fleet at five o'clock
on the evening of the 14th."

The sailing up of these ships is described as follows by the Hon.
Joshua Babcock, one of the Rhode Island Committee who had come down to
consult with Washington in regard to military matters: "Just after
Dinner 3 Frigates and a 40 Gun Ship (as if they meant to attack the
city) sail'd up the East River under a gentle Breeze towards
Hell-Gate, & kept up an incessant Fire assisted with the Cannon at
Governrs Island: The Batteries from the City return'd the Ships the
like Salutation: 3 Men agape, idle Spectators had the misfortune of
being killed by one Cannon-Ball, the other mischief suffered on our
Side was inconsiderable Saving the making a few Holes in some of the
Buildings; one shot struck within 6 Foot of Genl Washington, as He
was on Horseback riding into the Fort."--_MS. Letter in R.I. Public
Archives._ Also in _Force_.

Baurmeister preserves the incident that Washington was often to be
seen at the East River batteries in New York, and on one occasion
"provoked the Hessian artillery Captain Krug [on the Long Island side]
to fire off 2 Cannon at him and his suite." "A third shot too would
not have been wanting, if the horses of the enemy had been pleased to
stay," adds the major.]

Kip's Bay was the large cove which then set in from the East River at
about the foot of Thirty-fourth Street. It took its name from the old
Kip family, who owned the adjacent estate. From this point breastworks
had been thrown up along the river's bank, wherever a landing could be
made, down as far as Corlears Hook or Grand Street. Five brigades had
been distributed at this front to watch the enemy. Silliman's was in
the city; at Corlears Hook was Parsons' brigade, to which Prescott's
Massachusetts men had now been added; beyond, in the vicinity of
Fifteenth Street, on the Stuyvesant estate, Scott's New York brigade
took post; above him, at about Twenty-third Street, was Wadsworth's
command, consisting of Sage's, Selden's, and Gay's Connecticut levies;
and further along near Kip's Bay was Colonel Douglas, with his brigade
of three Connecticut militia regiments under Cooke, Pettibone, and
Talcott, and his own battalion of levies.[180] Up the river a chain of
sentinels communicated with the troops at Horn's Hook, and every half
hour they passed the watchword to each other, "All is well."

[Footnote 180: We know the position of the troops from the statements
of their officers. Douglas says: "I lay with my brigade a little below
Turtle [Kips] Bay where we hove up lines for more than one mile in
length. Gen'l Wadsworth managed the lines on the right and I on the
left." Brigade-Major Fish says of Scott's brigade that they were
"marched to the lines back of Stuyvesant's," about the foot of
Fifteenth Street. Parsons was below at Corlears Hook as appears from
_Document_ 32. Silliman himself says that he was in the city. Consult
map of New York, Part II., where the position at the time of the
British attack is given.]

Very early on the morning of the 15th, which was Sunday, the five
British frigates which had anchored under the Long Island shore sailed
up and took position close within musket-shot of our lines at Kip's
Bay, somewhat to the left of Douglas. This officer immediately moved
his brigade abreast of them. The ships were so near, says Martin, one
of Douglas' soldiers, that he could distinctly read the name of the
Phoenix, which was lying "a little quartering." Meanwhile, on the
opposite shore, in Newtown Creek, the British embarked their light
infantry and reserves, and Donop's grenadiers and yagers, all under
Clinton and Cornwallis, in eighty-four boats, and drew up in regular
order on the water ready to cross to the New York side.[181] The
soldier just quoted remembered that they looked like "a large clover
field in full bloom." All along the line our soldiers were watching
these movements with anxious curiosity--that night they would have
been withdrawn from the position--when suddenly between ten and eleven
o'clock the five frigates opened a sweeping fire from their seventy or
eighty guns upon the breastworks where Douglas and his brigade were
drawn up. It came like "a peal of thunder," and the militiamen could
do nothing but keep well under cover. The enemy fired at them at their
pleasure, from "their tops and everywhere," until our men soon found
it impossible to stay in that position. "We kept the lines," says
Martin, "till they were almost levelled upon us, when our officers,
seeing we could make no resistance, and no orders coming from any
superior officer, and that we must soon be entirely exposed to the
rake of the guns, gave the order to leave." At the same time the
flotilla crossed the river, and getting under cover of the smoke of
the ships' guns, struck off to the left of Douglas, where the troops
effected a landing without difficulty. Howe says: "The fire of the
shipping being so well directed and so incessant, the enemy could not
remain in their works, and the descent was made without the least
opposition." The ordeal the militia were subjected to was something
which in similar circumstances veteran troops have been unable to
withstand.[182] Retreating from the lines, Douglas's men scattered to
the rear towards the Post Road, and the enemy who landed and formed
rapidly were soon after them. Douglas himself, who was an excellent
officer, was the last to leave, and all but escaped capture.[183]
There was no collecting the brigade, however, in any new position in
the field, for the thought of being intercepted had created a panic
among the militia, and they fled in confusion.

[Footnote 181: "The first landing was of 84 boats with English
infantry and Hessian grenadiers under command of Lieut-General
Clinton. Commodore Hotham conducted this landing, under cover of 5
frigates anchored close before Kaaps [Kip's] Bay above Cron Point, and
maintained a 3 hours cannonade on the enemy's advanced posts in the
great wood. The signal of the red flag denoted the departure of the
boats, the blue on the contrary the stoppage of the passage, and if a
retreat should become necessary, a yellow flag would be
shown."--_Baurmeister._ "Sunday morning at break of day, five ships
weighed anchor and fell in close within a musket shot of our lines
quite to the left of me. I then moved my brigade abreast of them. They
lay very quiet until 10 o'clock and by that time they had about 80 of
their boats from under Long Island shore full with men which contained
about five or six thousand and four transports full ready to come in
the second boats."--_Col. Douglas._

Major Fish wrote September 19th that the enemy's ships of war were
drawn up "in line of Battle parallel to the shore, the Troops to the
amount of about 4000 being embarked in flat bottom Boats, and the
Boats paraded."--_Hist. Mag._]

[Footnote 182: All accounts agree that it was next to impossible to
remain under the fire of the men-of-war. Major Fish says that "a
Cannonade from the ships began, which far exceeded my Ideas, and which
seemed to infuse a Panic thro' the whole of our Troops, &c." Silliman
speaks of the "incessant fire on our lines" with grapeshot as being
"so hot" that the militia were compelled to retreat. Douglas's
description is as quaint as it is expressive: "They very suddenly
began as heavy a cannonade perhaps as ever was from no more ships, as
they had nothing to molest them." Martin thought his head would "go
with the sound." Lieutenant John Heinrichs, of the Hessian yagers,
writes: "Last Sunday we landed under the thundering rattle of 5

[Footnote 183: The enemy's boats, says Douglas, "got under cover of
the smoke of the shipping and then struck to the left of my lines in
order to cut me off from a retreat. My left wing gave way which was
formed of the militia. I lay myself on the right wing waiting for the
boats until Capt. Prentice came to me and told me, if I meant to save
myself to leave the lines, for that was the orders on the left and
that they had left the lines. I then told my men to make the best of
their way as I found I had but about ten left with me. They soon moved
out and I then made the best of my way out."--See further in
_Documents_, Part II., p. 71.]

When the cannonade at Kip's Bay began, Washington was four miles
distant, at Harlem. At the first sound of the guns he mounted his
horse and rode with all possible despatch to the scene. At about the
same time, General Parsons, probably by Putnam's order, directed
Prescott's, Tyler's, and the remnant of Huntington's regiment, not
over eighty strong, to march immediately to the assistance of the
troops where the enemy were landing.[184] Fellows' brigade was also
ordered along for the same purpose.

[Footnote 184: _Document_ 32.]

At about the corner of the present Thirty-sixth Street and Fourth
Avenue stood at that time the residence of Robert Murray, the Quaker
merchant, on what was known as "Inclenberg" heights, now Murray Hill.
His grounds extended to the Post Road, which there ran along the line
of Lexington Avenue. Just above him a cross-road connected the Post
and Bloomingdale roads, which is represented to-day by the line of
Forty-second and Forty-third streets. On the south side of the
cross-road where it intersected the Post Road was a large corn-field
adjoining or belonging to Murray's estate. When Washington reached
this vicinity he found the militia retreating in disorder along both
the cross and the Post roads, and Fellows' brigade just coming on to
the field. The general, with Putnam and others, was then on the rising
ground in the vicinity of the present Forty-second Street reservoir.
In a very short time Parsons and his regiments arrived by the
Bloomingdale Road, and Washington in person directed them to form
along the line of the Post Road in front of the enemy, who were
rapidly advancing from Kip's Bay. "Take the walls!" "Take the
corn-field!" he shouted; and Parsons' men quickly ran to the walls and
the field, but in a confused and disordered manner. Their general did
his best to get them into line on the ground, but found it impossible,
they were so dispersed, and, moreover, they were now beginning to
retreat. The panic which had seized the Connecticut militia was
communicated to Fellows' Massachusetts men, who were also militia; and
now it was to sweep up Parsons' Continentals, including Prescott's men
of Bunker Hill. The latter brigade had been brought on to the ground
in bad shape through the fugitive militiamen, and when the British
light infantry appeared they broke and retreated with the rest.

To Washington all this confusion and rout seemed wholly unnecessary
and unreasonable, and dashing in among the flying crowds he endeavored
to convince them that there was no danger, and used his utmost
exertions to bring them into some order. He was roused to more than
indignation at the sight, and in his letter to Congress on the
following day denounced the conduct of these troops as "disgraceful
and dastardly."[185] Putnam, Parsons, Fellows, and others were
equally active in attempting to stop the flight, but it was to no
purpose. "The very demons of fear and disorder," says Martin, "seemed
to take full possession of all and everything on that day." Nothing
remained but to continue the retreat by the Bloomingdale Road to
Harlem Heights.

[Footnote 185: Washington's account of the panic is as follows:

"As soon as I heard the firing, I rode with all possible despatch
towards the place of landing, where to my great surprise and
mortification I found the troops that had been posted in the lines
retreating with the utmost precipitation and those ordered to support
them (Parsons' and Fellows' brigades) flying in every direction, and
in the greatest confusion, notwithstanding the exertions of their
generals to form them. I used every means in my power to rally and to
get them into some order; but my attempts were fruitless and
ineffectual; and on the appearance of a small party of the enemy, not
more than sixty or seventy, their disorder increased, and they ran
away in the greatest confusion, without firing a single shot."

There were several stories current after the affair which cannot be
traced to any responsible source. One was that the Commander-in-Chief
was so "distressed and enraged" at the conduct of the troops that "he
drew his sword and snapped his pistols to check them;" and that one of
his suite was obliged to seize his horse's reins and take him out of
danger from the enemy. Another account represents that he threw his
hat on the ground and exclaimed whether such were the troops with
which he was to defend America; another states that he sought "death
rather than life." Mr. Bancroft has shown how far these statements are
to be accepted.]

During these scenes, Wadsworth's and Scott's brigades, which were
below Douglas on the river lines, saw that their only safety lay,
also, in immediate retreat, and falling back, they joined the other
brigades above, though not without suffering some loss. The parties
now in the greatest danger were Silliman's brigade and Knox with
detachments of the artillery, who were still in the city three miles
below. When Putnam, to whose division they belonged, found that no
stand could be made at Kip's Bay or Murray's Hill, he galloped down
through Wadsworth's and Scott's retreating troops, to extricate
Silliman and the others.[186] Not a moment's time was to be lost, for
should the British stretch out their troops west of the Bloomingdale
Road to the North River, escape would be impossible. Silliman,
meanwhile, had taken post with Knox in and to the right of Bayard's
Hill Fort, from the top of which they could see the enemy occupying
the island above them. At this juncture, Major Aaron Burr, Putnam's
aid, rode up to the fort with orders to retreat. He was told that
retreat was out of the question. Knox said that he should defend the
fort to the last. But Burr, who knew the ground thoroughly, declared
that he could pilot them safely to the upper end of the island, and
Silliman's men set out for the attempt.[187] Putnam also had called in
other guards, and the entire force then took to the woods above
Greenwich, on the west side, and keeping under cover wherever it was
possible, made their way along without opposition. But it proved to be
a most trying and hazardous march. The day was "insupportably hot;"
more than one soldier died at the spring or brook where he drank; any
moment the enemy, who at some points were not half a mile away, might
be upon them. Officers rode in advance and to the right to reconnoitre
and see that the way was clear. Putnam, Silliman, Burr, and others
were conspicuous in their exertions. Silliman was "sometimes in the
front, sometimes in the centre, and sometimes in the rear." The men
extended along in the woods for two miles, and the greatest
precautions were necessary to keep them out of sight of the main
road.[188] Putnam encouraged them continually by flying on his horse,
covered with foam, wherever his presence was most necessary. "Without
his extraordinary exertions," says Colonel Humphreys, who frequently
saw Putnam that day, "the guards must have been inevitably lost, and
it is probable the entire corps would have been cut in pieces." Much,
too, of the success of the march was due to Burr's skill and
knowledge. Near Bloomingdale, the command fell in with a party of the
British, when Silliman formed three hundred of his men and beat them
off. After making a winding march of at least "twelve miles," these
greatly distressed troops finally reached Harlem Heights after dark,
to the surprise and relief of the other brigades, who had given them
up for lost.

[Footnote 186: Hezekiah Munsell, a soldier of Gay's regiment in
Wadsworth's brigade, says: "We soon reached the main road which our
troops were travelling, and the first conspicuous person I met was
Gen. Putnam. He was making his way towards New York when all were
going from it. Where he was going I could not conjecture, though I
afterwards learned he was going after a small garrison of men in a
crescent fortification which he brought off safe."--_Hist. of Ancient
Windsor_, p. 715.]

[Footnote 187: Affidavits in Davis' "Life of Burr," vol. i.]

[Footnote 188: The line of Putnam's retreat appears to have been from
Bayard's Hill Fort on Grand Street across the country to Monument Lane
(now Greenwich Avenue), which led to the obelisk erected in honor of
General Wolf and others at a point on Fifteenth Street, a little west
of Eighth Avenue. (See Montressor's Map of New York in 1775,
"Valentine's Manual.") The lane there joined with an irregular road
running on the line of Eighth Avenue, known afterwards as the Abington
or Fitz Roy road, as far as Forty-second or Third Street. There
Putnam, under Burr's guidance probably, pushed through the woods,
keeping west of the Bloomingdale Road, and finally taking the latter
at some point above Seventieth Street, and so on to Harlem Heights.
(See Map of New York, Part II.)]

Although skilfully conducted, this escape is to be referred, in
reality, to Howe's supineness and the hospitality of Mrs. Robert
Murray, at whose house the British generals stopped for rest and
refreshment after driving back our troops. Instead of continuing a
vigorous pursuit or making any effort to intercept other parties, they
spent a valuable interval at the board of their entertaining hostess,
whose American sympathies added flavor and piquancy to the
conversation. "Mrs. Murray," says Dr. Thacher in his military journal,
"treated them with cake and wine, and they were induced to tarry two
hours or more, Governor Tryon frequently joking her about her American
friends. By this happy incident, General Putnam, by continuing his
march, escaped a rencounter with a greatly superior force, which must
have proved fatal to his whole party. Ten minutes, it is said, would
have been sufficient for the enemy to have secured the road at the
turn and entirely cut off General Putnam's retreat. It has since
become almost a common saying among our officers, that Mrs. Murray
saved this part of the American army."

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the Kip's Bay affair there is but one criticism to be made--it was
an ungovernable panic. Beginning with a retreat from the water-line,
it grew into a fright and a run for safer ground. Panics are often
inexplicable. The best troops as well as the poorest have been known
to fly from the merest shadow of danger. In this case, so far as the
_beginning_ of the rout is concerned, probably the militiamen did no
worse than Washington's best men would have done. A retreat from the
ship's fire could not have been avoided, though, with better troops,
the subsequent rout could have been checked and the enemy retarded.

The incident was especially unfortunate at that time, as it served to
increase existing jealousies between the troops from the different
States, and so far impair the morale of the army. It excites a smile
to-day to read that men from New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland
charged New Englanders generally with provincialism and cowardice, and
that the charge was resented; but such was the fact. The feeling
between them grew to such an extent that Washington was obliged to
issue orders condemning its indulgence. The Kip's Bay panic offered a
favorable opportunity for emphasizing these charges, and the
Connecticut and Massachusetts runaways came in for their full share of
uncomplimentary epithets. The Connecticut men were remembered
particularly, "dastards" and "cowards" being the terms which greeted
their ears. All this of course could not but be ruinous to the
discipline of the army, and it was an alarming fact to be dealt
with.[189] The men south of New England were not without reason in
making their harsh criticisms, for many of the New England regiments,
the militia in particular, came upon the ground with an inferior
military organization. They were miserably officered in many cases,
and the men, never expecting to become soldiers as such, were
indifferent to discipline. But in another view the criticisms were
unfair, because the Pennsylvanians and others, in making comparisons,
compared their best troops with New England's poorest. As two thirds
of the army were from New England--more than one third from
Connecticut--men from this section were necessarily represented
largely in every duty or piece of fighting, and whenever any
misconduct of a few occurred, it was made to reflect discredit upon
the whole. There was no difference between the better drilled and
officered regiments from the several States, just as there was little
difference between their hastily gathered militia. Thus it may be
mentioned as a notable and somewhat humorous coincidence that at the
very moment the Connecticut militia were flying from the bombardment
of the ships at Kip's Bay, New Jersey and Pennsylvania militia were
flying with equal haste from the bombardment of other ships at Powle's
Hook as they sailed up the North River to Bloomingdale on the same
morning; and that while Reed, Tilghman, Smallwood, and others, were
denouncing the Kip's Bay fugitives in unmeasured terms, the indignant
Mercer was likewise denouncing the "scandalous" behavior of the
fugitives in his own command.[190]

[Footnote 189: This jealousy disappeared when the army was reorganized
and the troops became proficient in discipline. The American soldier
was then found to be equal to any that could be brought against him,
regardless of the locality from which he hailed. But in the present
campaign the sectional feeling referred to came near working mischief,
especially as it was kept alive by so prominent an officer as Colonel
Reed, the Adjutant-general. New England officers protested against the
"rancor" and "malice" of his assertions, and represented their
injurious influence to members of Congress. Washington, finding that
the matter was becoming serious, took the occasion to send a special
invitation to Colonels Silliman and Douglas to dine with him in the
latter part of September, when he "disavowed and absolutely
disapproved every such piece of conduct" which had been a grievance to
these and other Eastern officers.--_Silliman's MS. Letter._ See also
extracts in Gordon's history as to the condition of the army at this

[Footnote 190: "The militia of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, stationed
on Bergen and at Paulus-Hook, have behaved in a scandalous manner,
running off from their posts on the first cannonade from the ships of
the enemy. At all the posts we find it difficult to keep the militia
to their duty." (_Mercer to Washington_, Sept. 17th, 1776.) "I don't
know whether the New Engd troops will stand there [at Harlem
Heights], but I am sure they will not upon open ground,"
etc.--_Tilghman._ _Document_ 29.]

The events of the 15th naturally and justly roused the wrath of both
Washington and Mercer, and their denunciations become a part of the
record of the time. But in recording them it belongs to those who
write a century later to explain and qualify. Justice to the men who
figured in these scenes requires that the terms of reproach should not
be perpetuated as a final stigma upon their character as soldiers of
the Revolution. All military experience proves that troops who have
once given way in a panic are not therefore or necessarily poor
troops; and the experience at Kip's Bay and Powle's Hook was only an
illustration in the proof. These men had their revenge. If the records
of New Jersey and Pennsylvania were to be thoroughly examined, they
would doubtless show that large numbers of Mercer's militia re-entered
the service and acquitted themselves well. This is certainly true of
many of the routed crowd whom Washington found it impossible to rally
on Murray's Hill and in Murray's corn-field. Some of those who ran
from the Light Infantry on the 15th assisted in driving the same Light
Infantry on the 16th. Prescott's men a few weeks later successfully
defended a crossing in Westchester County and thwarted the enemy's
designs. Not a few of the militia in Douglas's brigade were the
identical men with whom Oliver Wolcott marched up to meet Burgoyne a
year later, and who, under Colonels Cook and Latimer, "threw away
their lives" in the decisive action of that campaign, suffering a
greater loss than any other two regiments on the field. Fellows, also,
was there to co-operate in forcing the British surrender. In Parsons'
brigade were young officers and soldiers who formed part of the select
corps that stormed Stony Point, and among Wadsworth's troops were
others who, five years later, charged upon the Yorktown redoubt with
the leading American Light Infantry battalion.[191]

[Footnote 191: The Major of this battalion (Gimat's) was John
Palsgrave Wyllys, of Hartford, who, as Wadsworth's Brigade-Major, was
taken prisoner at Kip's Bay. Alexander Hamilton and Brigade-Major
Fish, of New York, who were swept along in this retreat, also figured
prominently at Yorktown. Two young ensigns in the Connecticut
"levies," Stephen Betts and James Morris, were captains of Light
Infantry in that affair. Lieutenant Stephen Olney, of Rhode Island,
who barely escaped capture on Long Island by Cornwallis's grenadiers,
led Gimat's battalion as captain, and was severely wounded while
clambering into the redoubt; and there were probably a considerable
number of others, officers and men, who were chased by this British
general in the present campaign, who finally had the satisfaction of
cornering him in Virginia in 1781. Scammell, Huntington, Tilghman,
Humphreys, and others, could be named.]

       *       *       *       *       *

When Washington found that the enemy had made their principal landing
at Thirty-fourth Street, and that a retreat was necessary, he sent
back word to have Harlem Heights well secured by the troops there,
while at the same time a considerable force under Mifflin marched
down to the strong ground near McGowan's to cover the escape of troops
that might take the King's Bridge road. Chester and Sargent evacuated
Horn's Hook and came in with Mifflin. Upon the landing of more troops
at Kip's Bay, Howe sent a column towards McGowan's, and in the evening
the Light Infantry reached Apthorpe's just after Silliman's retreat.
Washington had waited on the Bloomingdale Road until the last, and
retired from the Apthorpe Mansion but a short time before the British
occupied it. Here at Bloomingdale the enemy encamped their left wing
for the night, while their right occupied Horn's Hook, their outposts
not being advanced on the left beyond One Hundredth Street. The
Americans slept on Harlem Heights, not quite a mile and a half above

"That night," says Humphreys, "our soldiers, excessively fatigued by
the sultry march of the day, their clothes wet by a severe shower of
rain that succeeded towards the evening, their blood chilled by the
cold wind that produced a sudden change in the temperature of the air,
and their hearts sunk within them by the loss of baggage, artillery,
and works, in which they had been taught to put great confidence, lay
upon their arms, covered only by the clouds of an uncomfortable

[Footnote 192: The American loss in prisoners in the Kip's Bay affair
was seventeen officers and about three hundred and fifty men, nearly
all from Connecticut and New York. A very few were killed and wounded,
Major Chapman, of Tyler's regiment, being among the former.

The officer of highest rank among the prisoners was Colonel Samuel
Selden, of Hadlyme, Conn., mentioned on page 121. (See biographical
sketches, Part II.) One of his officers was Captain Eliphalet Holmes,
afterwards of the Continental line, a neighbor of the Colonel's. Being
a man of great strength he knocked down two Hessians, who attempted to
capture him, and escaped.]

During the day, meantime, the British occupied the city. After the
departure of the last troops under Silliman (Knox with others escaping
to Powle's Hook by boats) a white flag was displayed on Bayard's Hill
Redoubt by citizens, and in the afternoon a detachment from the fleet
first took possession.[193] In the evening a brigade from Howe's force
encamped along the outer line of works. The next forenoon, the 16th,
"the first of the English troops came to town," under General
Robertson, and were drawn up in two lines on Broadway. Governor Tryon
was present with officers of rank and a great concourse of people.
"Joy and gladness seemed to appear in all countenances;" while the
first act of the victors was to identify and confiscate every house
owned and deserted by the rebels. "And thus," says the now happy
loyalist pastor Shewkirk, "the city was delivered from those Usurpers
who had oppressed it so long."

[Footnote 193: _Baurmeister's Narrative._ _Shewkirk's Diary._]

       *       *       *       *       *

Fortunately, the demoralizing effect of the panic of the 15th was to
be merely temporary. Indeed, before the details of the affair had time
to circulate through the camps and work further discouragement or
depression, there occurred another encounter with the enemy on the
following morning, which neutralized the disgrace of the previous day
and revived the spirits of our army to an astonishing degree. So much
importance was attached to it at the time as being a greatly needed
stimulant for the American soldier that it becomes of interest to
follow its particulars. It has passed into our history as the affair


Never for a moment relaxing his watch over the enemy's movements,
Washington, before daylight on the morning of the 16th, ordered a
reconnoitring party out to ascertain the exact position of the
British. The party consisted of the detachment of "Rangers,"[195] or
volunteers from the New England regiments, which had been organized
for scouting service since the battle of Long Island, and placed under
the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Knowlton, of Connecticut. No
better man could have been found in the army to head such a corps, for
he had proved his courage at Bunker Hill, and on more than one
occasion since had shown his capacity for leadership. The detachment
started out, not more than one hundred and twenty strong, and passing
over to the Bloomingdale heights, marched for the Bloomingdale Road,
where the enemy were last seen the night before.

[Footnote 194: The centennial anniversary of this battle was
celebrated in 1876, under the auspices of the New York Historical
Society. The oration delivered on the occasion by the Hon. John Jay
has been published by the Society, with an appendix containing a large
number of documents bearing upon the affair, the whole making a
valuable contribution to our Revolutionary history.]

[Footnote 195: THE RANGERS.--The small corps known by this name
consisted, first, as already stated, of about one hundred men of
Durkee's Connecticut Regiment (Twentieth Continentals), who appear to
have accompanied Lieutenant-Colonel Knowlton, of that regiment, when
he went on any special service. These he took with him to Long Island.
After the battle there the Rangers were formally organized as a
separate body, composed of volunteer officers and men from several of
the New England regiments. These were borne on their respective
regimental rolls as detached "on command." For captains, Knowlton had
at least three excellent officers, men from his own region, whom he
knew and could trust--Nathan Hale, of Charles Webb's regiment, and
Stephen Brown and Thomas Grosvenor, of his own. The rolls in _Force_
show that there were officers and men in the Rangers from Durkee's,
Webb's, Chester's, Wyllys', and Tyler's Connecticut; Ward's and
Sargent's Massachusetts; and Varnum's Rhode Island. For a time they
received orders directly from Washington and then from Putnam, and
were of great service to the army in watching the enemy along the
Harlem front. They distinguished themselves on the 16th, and later in
the season, when Colonel Magaw was in command of Fort Washington, he
begged to have the Rangers remain with him, as he declared that they
were the only safe protection to the lines. (Greene to Washington.)
They remained and were taken prisoners at the surrender of the fort,
November 16th. Though probably not over one hundred and fifty strong,
their losses seem to have been heavy. Knowlton fell at Harlem Heights;
Major Coburn, who succeeded him, was severely wounded a few weeks
later; Captain Nathan Hale was executed as a spy; and Captain Brown, a
man as cool as Knowlton, was killed at the defence of Fort Mifflin
near Philadelphia, in 1777, a cannon-ball severing his head from his
body. Grosvenor served through the war, retiring as Lieutenant-Colonel
commanding the Fifth of the Connecticut line. These facts are gathered
from MS. Order Books, documents in _Force_ and _Hist. Mag._, and from
MS. letter of the late Judge Oliver Burnham, of Cornwall, Conn., a
soldier in Wyllys' regiment and one of the Rangers, in which he says:
"Soon after the retreat from Long Island, Colonel Knowlton was ordered
to raise a battalion of troops from the different regiments called the
Rangers, to reconnoitre along our shores and between the armies. Being
invited by a favorite officer, I volunteered, and on the day the enemy
took New York we were at Harlem and had no share in the events of that

The ground which Knowlton reconnoitred and which became the scene of
the action remains to-day unchanged in its principal features. What
was then known as Harlem Heights is that section of the island which
rises prominently from the plain west of Eighth Avenue and north of
One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street. Its southern face extended from
an abrupt point, called "Point of Rocks," at One Hundred and
Twenty-sixth Street, east of Ninth Avenue, northwesterly to the
Hudson, a distance of three quarters of a mile. At the foot of these
heights lay a vale or "hollow way," through the centre of which now
runs Manhattan Street, and opposite, at distances varying from a
quarter to a third of a mile, rose another line of bluffs and slopes
parallel to Harlem Heights. This lower elevation stood mainly in the
Bloomingdale division of the city's out-ward, and is generally known
to-day as Bloomingdale Heights. In 1776 there were two farms on these
heights, owned and occupied by Adrian Hogeland and Benjamin
Vandewater, which were partly cultivated, but mainly covered with
woods. The Bloomingdale Road, as stated in a previous chapter,
terminated at Hogeland's lands about One Hundred and Eighth or Tenth
streets, and from there a lane or road ran easterly by Vandewater's
and joined the King's Bridge road near One Hundred and Twentieth
Street. East of the Bloomingdale and south of Harlem Heights stretched
the tract of level land called Harlem Plains.

After the retreat of the 15th, Washington's army encamped on Harlem
Heights, with their pickets lining the southern slope from Point of
Rocks to the Hudson. The British, as we have seen, lay at Bloomingdale
and across the upper part of Central Park to Horn's Hook. An enemy,
posted at the lower boundary of Harlem Plains, around McGowan's Pass,
where the ground again rises at the northern end of the Park, might be
easily observed from the Point of Rocks, and any advance from that
quarter could be reported at once. Nothing, however, could be seen of
movements made on the Bloomingdale Road or Heights, and it was in that
direction that the "Rangers" now proceeded to reconnoitre at dawn on
the 16th.

Knowlton, marching under cover of the woods, soon came upon the
enemy's pickets, somewhere, it would appear, between Hogeland's and
Apthorpe's houses on the Bloomingdale Road, more than a mile below the
American lines. This was the encampment of the Light Infantry, and
their Second and Third Battalions, supported by the Forty-second
Highlanders, were immediately pushed forward to drive back this party
of rebels who had dared to attack them on their own ground.
Anticipating some such move, Knowlton had already posted his men
behind a stone wall, and when the British advanced he met them with a
vigorous fire. His men fired eight or nine rounds a piece with good
effect, when the enemy threatened to turn his flanks, and he ordered a
retreat, which was well conducted. In this brief encounter the Rangers
lost about ten of their number, and believed that they inflicted much
more than this loss upon the Infantry.[196]

[Footnote 196: The Rangers were thus engaged in a distinct skirmish
before the main action of the day. Washington wrote to Congress early
on the 16th: "I have sent some reconnoitring parties to gain
intelligence, if possible, of the disposition of the enemy." A letter
in the _Connecticut Gazette_, reprinted in Mr. Jay's documents, and
which was probably written by Captain Brown, says: "On Monday morning
the General ordered us to go and take the enemy's advanced guard;
accordingly we set out just before day and found where they were; at
day-brake we were discovered by the enemy, who were 400 strong, and we
were 120. They marched up within six rods of us and there formed to
give us Battle, which we were ready for; and Colonel Knowlton gave
orders to fire, which we did, and stood theirs till we perceived they
were getting their flank-guards round us. After giving them eight
rounds apiece the Colonel gave orders for retreating, which we
performed very well, without the loss of a man while retreating,
though we lost about 10 while in action." Judge Burnham says
substantially the same: "Colonel Knowlton marched close to the enemy
as they lay on one of the Harlem Heights, and discharged a few rounds,
and then retreated over the hill out of sight of the enemy and
concealed us behind a low stone wall. The Colonel marked a place about
eight or ten rods from the wall, and charged us not to rise or fire a
gun until the enemy reached that place. The British followed in solid
column, and soon were on the ground designated when we gave them nine
rounds and retreated.... Our number engaged was only about 120."]

At his headquarters in the Morris Mansion, Washington, meantime, was
writing his despatches to Congress. The unwelcome duty fell to him to
report the scenes of the previous day which had so deeply stirred his
indignation. He made a plain statement of the facts, described the
retreat from New York, acknowledged the loss of baggage and cannon,
and despondently expressed his misgivings as to the soldierly
qualities of a majority of his troops. "We are now," he wrote,
"encamped with the main body of the army on the Heights of Harlem,
where I should hope the enemy would meet with a defeat in case of an
attack, if the generality of our troops would behave with tolerable
bravery. But experience, to my extreme affliction, has convinced me
that this is rather to be wished for than expected. However, I trust
that there are many who will act like men, and show themselves worthy
of the blessings of freedom." Not unfounded was this trust, for at the
very time the commander-in-chief was writing the words, the Rangers
were bravely fighting in the Bloomingdale Woods, and many others soon
after, including one of the very regiments which fled from Kip's Bay
twenty-four hours before, were likewise to act "like men" and prove
their real worth in the open field. Just as the letters were sent off
word came in to headquarters that the enemy had appeared in several
large bodies upon the plains, and Washington rode down to the
picket-posts to make the necessary dispositions in case of an attack.
Adjutant-General Reed and Lieutenant Tilghman, who had also been
writing private letters describing Sunday's panic, and other members
of the staff, went to the front about the same time. Knowlton's men
had not yet come in, and their fire was distinctly heard from the
Point of Rocks, where the commander-in-chief was now surveying the
situation. Anxious to learn whether the British were approaching in
force on the Bloomingdale Heights, no attack being threatened from the
plains, Colonel Reed received permission to go "down to our most
advanced guard," namely, to the Rangers, whom he found making a
momentary halt on their retreat. The enemy soon came up again in
large numbers, and the Rangers continued to retire. Colonel Reed,
describing his experience at this point, states that the British
advanced so rapidly that he had not quitted a house (which may have
been Vandewater's) five minutes before they were in possession of it.
"Finding how things were going," to use Reed's words, he returned to
Washington "to get some support for the brave fellows who had behaved
so well." Knowlton, however, fell back to our lines, and the enemy
halted in their pursuit on the north-east edge of Bloomingdale
Heights, opposite the Point of Rocks, where a part of them appeared in
open sight, and "in the most insulting manner" sounded their
bugle-horns as if on a fox chase. "I never felt such a sensation
before," says Reed; "it seemed to crown our disgrace." But the chase
was not yet over.

Learning from Knowlton that the British Infantry who had followed him
in were about three hundred strong, and knowing that they were some
distance from their main army, Washington determined, if possible, to
effect their capture. Knowlton's men, who had done nobly, were ready
for another brush, and there were troops at hand who could be depended
upon to behave well under any circumstances. The opportunity for a
brisk and successful skirmish presented itself, and the general
proposed to improve it. Accordingly he formed the plan of engaging the
enemy's attention in their front, while a flanking party should
attempt to get into their rear and cut off their escape. The troops
that were stationed nearest to the Point of Rocks at this time appear
to have been Nixon's brigade, of Greene's division, Weedon's newly
arrived regiment of Virginians, General Beall's Marylanders, Colonel
Sargent's eastern brigade, Clinton's and Scott's brigades, and other
regiments belonging to Putnam's and Spencer's divisions. For the
flanking detachment, the general selected Knowlton's Rangers, to whom
he added a reinforcement of three of the Virginia companies, about one
hundred and twenty men, under Major Andrew Leitch. These were directed
to make their way or "steal around" to the rear of the enemy by their
right flank. To make a demonstration against the enemy in their front,
while the flanking party effected its object, a detachment of
volunteers was organized from Nixon's brigade, under Lieutenant-Colonel
Archibald Crary, of Varnum's Rhode Islanders,[197] who marched down
into the "hollow way" directly towards the British on the opposite
ridge. As Washington hoped, this move had the desired effect. The
British, seeing so small a party coming out against them, immediately
ran down the rocky hill into an open field, where they took post
behind some bushes and a rail fence that extended from the hill to the
post road about four hundred yards in front of the Point of
Rocks.[198] This field was part of the old Kortwright farm, lying
just west of the present Harlem Lane, above One Hundred and Eighteenth
Street, in which the line of that fence had been established for more
than half a century before this engagement, and where it remained the
same for more than half a century after. It is possible to-day to fix
its exact position, for the march of modern improvements has not yet
disturbed the site.

[Footnote 197: Captain John Gooch, of Varnum's regiment, wrote
September 23d: "On the 16th the enemy advanced and took possession of
a hight on our right flank about half a mile Distance with about 3000
[300?] men; a party from our brigade of 150 men, who turned out as
volunteers, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Crary, of the
regmt I belong to, were ordered out if possible to dispossess
them."--_Document_ 30.]

[Footnote 198: Tilghman's reference to these movements is as follows:
"The General rode down to our farthest lines, and when he came near
them heard a firing, which he was informed was between our scouts and
the outguards of the enemy. When our men [Knowlton's] came in they
informed the General that there was a party of about 300 behind a
woody hill, tho' they only showed a very small party to us. Upon this
the General laid a plan for attacking them in the rear and cutting off
their retreat, which was to be effected in the following manner: Major
Leitch, with three companies of Colo Weedon's Virginia regiment,
and Colo Knowlton with his Rangers, were to steal round while a
party [Crary's] were to march towards them and seem as if they
intended to attack in front, but not to make any real attack till they
saw our men fairly in their rear. The bait took as to one part; as
soon as they saw our party in front the enemy ran down the hill and
took possession of some fences and bushes and began to fire at them,
but at too great distance to do much execution," etc.--_Document_ 29.
See also Washington's letter to Congress, Sept. 18th, 1776.]

In order to keep the enemy engaged at that point, Crary's party opened
fire at long range, to which the British replied, but not much
execution was done on either side. Meanwhile Knowlton and Leitch moved
out to get in the rear. Colonel Reed accompanied the party, and as he
had been over the ground he undertook the lead, with the Virginians in
advance. It was probably his intention to march down under cover of
the bushes, cross the Kortwright farm unobserved some little distance
below the enemy, and reach the top of the Bloomingdale ridge before
they were discovered. Once there, the British would be effectually
hemmed in. Unfortunately, however, some "inferior officers," as it
would appear, gave unauthorized directions to the flanking party; or
the party forming the "feint" in front pushed on too soon, in
consequence of which Leitch and Knowlton made their attack rather on
the British flank than in their rear.[199] The latter now finding a
retreat necessary, left the fence and started back up the hill which
they had descended. Our men quickly followed, Crary in front, Knowlton
and Leitch on the left, and with the Virginians leading, joined in the
pursuit with splendid spirit and animation. They rushed up the slope,
on about the line of One Hundred and Twentieth Street, and, climbing
over the rocks, poured in their volleys upon the running Light

[Footnote 199: It is quite clear that Knowlton and Leitch did not form
two parties, as some accounts state, one moving against the right
flank of the enemy and the other against the left. They acted as one
body, the Virginians marching in front, having been ordered on to
"reinforce" Knowlton. Thus Captain Brown writes that after retreating
they "sent off for a reinforcement," which they soon received; and
Colonel Reed confirms this in his testimony at the court-martial of a
soldier who acted a cowardly part in the fight. "On Monday forenoon,"
he says, "I left Colonel Knowlton with a design to send him a
reinforcement. I had accordingly ordered up Major Leitch, and was
going up to where the firing was," etc. (_Force_, 5th Series, vol. ii.
p. 500.) Reed's letters to his wife show that Leitch and Knowlton fell
near him, within a few minutes of each other, which could not have
been the case had they been on opposite flanks. The accounts of
Tilghman, Marshall, the soldier Martin, and others, leave no doubt as
to this point that there was but one flanking party, and that Knowlton
commanded it.]

It was right here, now, just on the crest of the ridge, and when our
gallant advance was turning the tide against the enemy, that we
suffered the loss of those two noble leaders whose memory is linked
with this day's action. In a very short time after the first rush,
Leitch was severely wounded not far from Reed, having received three
balls in his side in as many minutes; and in less than ten minutes
after a bullet pierced Knowlton's body, and he too fell mortally
wounded. We can identify the spot where the fall of these brave
officers occurred as on the summit of the Bloomingdale Heights below
One Hundred and Nineteenth Street, and about half way between the line
of Ninth and Tenth Avenues. The site is included within the limits of
the proposed "Morningside Park," which will thus have added to its
natural attractiveness a never-fading historical association.[200]

[Footnote 200: Judge Burnham refers to the flank attack briefly as
follows: "Passing over we met the enemy's right flank which had been
posted out of our sight on lower ground. They fired and killed Colonel
Knowlton and nearly all that had reached the top of the height." This
reference to the _top of the height_, taken in connection with Reed's
statement that "our brave fellows mounted up the rocks and attacked
them as they ran in turn," goes to confirm the selection of the spot
where Leitch and Knowlton fell. Burnham states that he was within a
few feet of the latter when he was shot.]

Leitch was borne to the rear to be tenderly cared for until his death
at a later day. In after years the Government remembered his services
by granting his widow a generous pension. Knowlton met his fate with a
soldier's fortitude and a patriot's devotion. "My poor Colonel,"
writes an officer of the Rangers, who without doubt was Captain
Stephen Brown, next in rank to Knowlton, "my poor Colonel, in the
second attack, was shot just by my side. The ball entered the small of
his back. I took hold of him, asked him if he was badly wounded? He
told me he was; but says he, 'I do not value my life if we do but get
the day.' I then ordered two men to carry him off. He desired me by
all means to keep up this flank. He seemed as unconcerned and calm as
tho' nothing had happened to him." Reed, on whose horse the colonel
was carried to the lines, wrote to his wife on the following day: "Our
loss is also considerable. The Virginia Major (Leitch) who went up
first with me was wounded with three shot in less than three minutes;
but our greatest loss was a brave officer from Connecticut, whose name
and spirit ought to be immortalized--one Colonel Knowlton. I assisted
him off, and when gasping in the agonies of death, all his inquiry was
if we had drove the enemy." Washington spoke of him in his letters and
orders as "a valuable and gallant officer," who would have been "an
honor to any country."

Meanwhile the Rangers and Virginians kept up their attack under their
captains, and Washington, finding that the entire party needed
support, sent forward three of the Maryland Independent companies,
under Major Price, and parts of Griffith's and Richardson's Maryland
Flying Camp.[201] At the same time, as Washington reports, some
detachments from the Eastern regiments who were nearest the place of
action, which included most of Nixon's and Sargent's brigades, Colonel
Douglas's Connecticut levies, and a few others, were ordered into the
field. Our total force engaged at this time, now about noon, was not
far from eighteen hundred strong, and very soon a considerable battle
was in progress. Besides Reed and other members of Washington's staff,
Generals Putnam, Greene, and George Clinton accompanied the
detachments, and encouraged the men by individual examples of
bravery.[202] The troops now "charged the enemy with great
intrepidity," and drove them from the crest of the heights back in a
south-westerly direction through a piece of woods to a buckwheat
field, about four hundred paces, as General Clinton describes it, from
the ridge, or just east of the present Bloomingdale Asylum, where the
Light Infantry, now reinforced by the Forty-second Highlanders,
finally made a stand. The distance the latter troops had advanced and
the sound of the firing had evidently warned Howe, at his headquarters
at Apthorpe's, that they needed immediate assistance, and he promptly
ordered forward the reserve with two field-pieces, together with the
Yagers and Linsingen's grenadiers of Donop's corps. The field-pieces
and Yagers came into action at the buckwheat field, and here a
stubborn contest ensued for about an hour and a half.[203] But our
troops pressed the enemy so hard at this point, and the Highlanders
and Yagers having fired away their ammunition, the latter all again
fell back, and the Americans pursued them vigorously to an orchard a
short distance below, in the direction of the Bloomingdale Road. Here
had been hard fighting in the open field, and the best British troops
were beaten! At the orchard the result was the same, the enemy making
little resistance, their fire "being silenced in a great measure," and
the chase continued down one of the slight hills on Hogeland's lands
and up another, near or quite to the terminus of the Bloomingdale
Road. Beyond this third position our troops were not allowed to follow
the enemy, whose main encampment was not far distant. The Fifth
Regiment of Foot had been trotted up "about three miles without a halt
to draw breath," reaching the ground at the close of the action.
Linsingen's grenadiers appeared about the same time, while Block's and
Minegerode's men were sent to McGowan's Pass, which had not yet been
occupied. A large body of the enemy were put under arms, and within
their camp every preparation was made for a general engagement; but
this, above all things, Washington wished to avoid, and, quite content
with the brilliant success of his troops thus far, he despatched
Lieutenant Tilghman to the front to bring them off. Before turning
from the field they had won so gloriously, they answered the bugle
blast of the morning with a cheer of victory, and marched back in good

[Footnote 201: There appear to have been nine companies of Maryland
troops engaged, three under Major Price, three under Major Mantz, and
three others of Richardson's regiment. Among these were one or more
companies of Colonel Ewing's as yet incomplete battalion. One of his
officers, Captain Lowe, was wounded.--_Force_, 5th Series, vol. ii. p.
1024. Also Capt. Beatty's letter in Mr. Jay's Documents.]

[Footnote 202: Greene wrote at a latter date: "Gen. Putnam and the
Adj. Gen. were in the action and behaved nobly." "I was in the latter
part, indeed almost the whole of the action."--_Gen. Geo. Clinton._
(See his two letters in Jay's documents.) "Gen. Putnam and Gen. Greene
commanded in the Action with about 15 to eighteen hundred
men."--_Stiles's MS. Diary._]

[Footnote 203: "A very smart action ensued in the true Bush-fighting
way in which our Troops behaved in a manner that does them the highest
honor."--_Letter from Col. Griffith, of Maryland._ Lossing's
_Historical Record_, vol. ii., p. 260.]

[Footnote 204: "The General fearing (as we afterwards found) that a
large body was coming up to support them, sent me over to bring our
men off. They gave a Hurra and left the field in good order."--_Tilghman's
Letters_, Doc. 29.

THE BATTLE-FIELD.--Recently gathered material seems to settle all
doubts as to the several points occupied by the British and Americans
during the action. Where did it begin and where did it end? As to the
first skirmish, it began near the British encampment at Bloomingdale.
Here was Howe's left, and, as Howe reports, Knowlton approached his
advanced posts under cover of the woods "by way of Vandewater's
Height." This was what we call Bloomingdale Heights. The original
proprietor of the greater part of this site was Thomas De Key. From
him all or a large part of it passed to Harman Vandewater and Adrian
Hogeland, as the deeds on record show. In 1784 the property was
purchased by Nicholas De Peyster. The position of Hogeland's and
Vandewater's houses as given on the accompanying map is taken from old
surveys which mark the location and give the names. The Bloomingdale
Road at that time stopped at these farms. That part of it above One
Hundred and Tenth Street, running through Manhattanville and
continuing until recently to the King's Bridge Road at One Hundred and
Forty-sixth Street, did not exist during the Revolution, but was
opened a few years later. (Hoffman's _Est. and Rights of the
Corporation of New York_, vol. ii.) A lane or road running from
Hogeland's by Vandewater's connected the Bloomingdale with the King's
Bridge road at One Hundred and Nineteenth Street. Washington himself
gives us the general line. Before the battle of Long Island he ordered
Heath to have troops ready to march to New York as soon as called for,
and he describes the proper route thus: "There is a road out of the
Haerlem flat lands that leads up to the hills, and continues down the
North River by Bloomingdale, Delancy's, &c., which road I would have
them march, as they will keep the river in sight, and pass a tolerable
landing-place for troops in the neighborhood of Bloomingdale." (_Heath
Correspondence_, Mass. Hist. Coll. for 1878.) From this topography and
the records the position becomes clear: Howe camped around
Bloomingdale with his advance posts along the Bloomingdale Road,
perhaps as far as its terminus near Hogeland's. They were last seen in
this vicinity the night before. Knowlton, next morning, marches out
from Harlem Heights, reconnoitres "by way of Vandewater's," and comes
upon the British posts on and along the line of the Bloomingdale Road.
Then he falls back under cover of the woods and over fences towards
the Point of Rocks, the enemy following him.

As to succeeding movements, if we can fix Washington's station and the
hill which all agree that the British descended, there is no
difficulty in following them after. Point of Rocks was the extreme
limit of Harlem Heights. There were our advanced posts overlooking the
country south. Washington states that he rode down to "our advanced
posts" to direct matters. Where better could he do so than at Point of
Rocks? And in a sketch of the field preserved in the Stiles Diary, and
reproduced among Mr. Jay's documents, Washington is given just that
station where an earthwork had been thrown up. To confirm this and
also to locate the next point, we have a letter from Major Lewis
Morris (Jay documents), in which he says: "Colonel Knowlton's regiment
was attacked by the enemy upon a height a little to the south-west of
Days's Tavern, and after opposing them bravely and being overpowered
by their numbers they were forced to retreat, and the enemy advanced
upon the top of the hill opposite to that which lies before Days's
door, with a confidence of success, and after rallying their men by a
bugle horn and resting themselves a little while, they descended the
hill," etc. In one of Christopher Colles's road maps (published in the
N.Y. Corporation Manual for 1870, p. 778), Days's tavern is put
directly opposite Point of Rocks on the King's Bridge Road, which
fixes the hill occupied by the enemy as the north-east bluff of
Bloomingdale Heights, or about One Hundred and Twenty-third Street,
between Ninth and Tenth avenues. They ran down this bluff to fences
and bushes at the edge of "a clear field." This was part of the
Kortwright farm, and the farm lines of 1812 show the same northern
boundary that surveys show in 1711. This northerly fence line is given
in the accompanying map, and it will be noticed that it would be the
natural line for the British Infantry to take in opposing Crary's
party. The soldier Martin speaks of their taking a post and rail fence
with a field in their rear. General George Clinton, who gives a clear
description of the fighting from this point, also mentions this field
and fence, but appears to have been mistaken in stating that the enemy
were driven back to that position. They ran down the hill and took up
that position. Then, when driven back, they retreated in the general
direction of their first advance--that is, towards their camp, passing
through a buckwheat field, and orchard to the Bloomingdale Road, and
not, as generally stated, to the high ground in Central Park east of
Eighth Avenue. General Clinton says they fell back from the orchard
"across a hollow and up another hill not far distant from their own
lines," which doubtless refers to undulations on Hogeland's place, and
possibly to the then hilly ground about One Hundred and Seventh Street
and Eleventh Avenue. One of the Hessian accounts states that the
Yagers who were sent to support the Light Infantry came into "a hot
contest on Hoyland's Hill"--a reference clearly to Hogeland's lands;
and this with the fact that the Yagers and Grenadiers afterwards
bivouacked "in the wood not far from Bloomingdale," and that the
British "encamped in two lines" at the same place, indicates the point
where the action terminated--namely, near Bloomingdale, between
Hogeland's and Apthorpe's.

In regard to the beginning of the action, General Clinton, in his
account, starts with a locality called "Martje Davits Fly," and
estimates distances from it. This name, more properly "Marritje
David's Vly," strictly described the round piece of meadow at the
western end of the Hollow Way close to the Hudson. It formed part of
Harlem Cove. Old deeds, acts, and surveys give the name and site
exactly. Clinton speaks of the "Point of Martje David's Fly" as if he
had reference to a point of land in its vicinity, possibly the Point
of Rocks, and from which he gives his distances.

The name of the battle appears perhaps most frequently in modern
accounts as that of Harlem _Plains_. Greene and others speak of it as
the action of Harlem _Heights_ or the heights of Harlem. As the
movements were directed by Washington from the Heights, and as the
fighting was done practically in defence of the Heights, this seems to
be the proper name to adopt. Heath says the fighting took place "on
the Heights west of Harlem Plains," and Washington, Clinton, and
others make similar references to the high ground, showing that the
affair was not associated with the Plains.]

[Illustration: FIELD of the HARLEM HEIGHTS "AFFAIR" Sept 16, 1776.

Topography from RANDALL'S MAP OF NEW YORK and old Surveys.

J. Bien Photo. Lith. N.Y.]

This affair, as Washington wrote to Schuyler, "inspirited our troops
prodigiously." The next day the general most heartily thanked the men
"commanded by Major Leitch, who first advanced upon the enemy, and the
others who so resolutely supported them;" and once more he called upon
all to act up to the noble cause in which they were engaged.

The British loss, according to Howe, was fourteen killed and about
seventy wounded, but Baurmeister puts it much higher--seventy killed
and two hundred wounded. The Americans lost not far from eighty, of
whom at least twenty-five were killed or mortally wounded. The loss
in officers, besides Knowlton and Leitch, included Captain Gleason, of
Nixon's Massachusetts, and Lieutenant Noel Allen, of Varnum's Rhode
Island, both of whom were killed. Captain Lowe, of Ewing's
Marylanders, was wounded, also Captain Gooch, of Varnum's, slightly.
The heaviest loss fell upon Nixon's and Sargent's brigades, namely:
Nixon's regiment, four killed; Varnum's, four; Hitchcock's, four;
Sargent's, one; Bailey's, five, and two mortally wounded. Colonel
Douglas lost three killed. Among the Marylanders there were twelve
wounded and three missing. The loss in the Virginia detachment and
the Rangers does not appear. General Clinton on the next day buried
seventeen of our men on the field, and reported over fifty wounded.
Lieutenant-Colonel Henshaw, of Little's regiment, simply writes to his
wife in regard to the action, "I was there," and adds that our loss
was one hundred. He puts the casualties in his brigade alone [Nixon's]
at seventy-five. All the troops behaved well. Greene speaks with pride
of the conduct of his Rhode Islanders, Varnum's and Hitchcock's.
Captain Gooch wrote to a friend enthusiastically, "The New England men
have gained the first Laurells;" while Tilghman wrote with equal
enthusiasm, "The Virginia and Maryland troops bear the Palm." In
reality, palm and laurel belonged to both alike.

Knowlton, on the 17th, was buried with the honors of war near the road
on the hill slope, not far from the line of One Hundred and
Forty-third Street, west of Ninth Avenue. Leitch died on the 1st of
October, and is said to have been buried by Knowlton's side, where
Major Thomas Henly, a Massachusetts officer, killed on Montressor's
Island on September 23d, was also buried.[205] On the 22d, Captain
Nathan Hale, "the martyr-spy," was executed in New York. Finding
Washington anxious to have information of the enemy's numbers and
designs, Hale volunteered to enter their camp in disguise. Captured at
the last moment as he was on the point of escape, he frankly avowed
his mission, and just before his execution, on the Rutgers farm, he
told the spectators around him that he only regretted he had but one
life to give for his country. The war saw no more courageous or
unselfish sacrifice. Few worthier of a monument than he!

[Footnote 205: Heath states that Henley was buried by Knowlton's side,
and the spot is indicated in the orders of September 24th: "Thomas
Henley will be buried this P.M. from the quarters of Maj. David Henley
below the hill where the redoubt is thrown up on the road." During the
action of the 16th, troops were throwing up intrenchments across the
island at about One Hundred and Forty-fifth Street. This was the first
and most southerly of the three lines constructed on the Heights.
Sauthier's map, the authority in the case, shows this line with a
battery across the King's Bridge Road, just at the top of what is
known as Breakneck Hill. It was on the slope of this hill that
Knowlton and Henley were buried. Mr. Lossing puts his grave in one of
the redoubts on the second line, afterwards included in Trinity
Cemetery; but that line had not been thrown up when Knowlton died.
(Silliman's letter of September 17th, P.M. Part II., page 55.) Mr. Jay
and others have suggested the erection of a monument to Knowlton and
Leitch. No finer site could be found than the spot where they fell in
Morningside Park.

Respecting Major Henley, spoken of by Washington as "another of our
best officers," see Glover's letter, _Document_ 35.]

The battle of the 16th was followed by inactivity on the part of the
British, and Washington securely established himself on Harlem
Heights. The chief excitement was the occurrence of the great fire on
the night of the 21st of September, which broke out near Whitehall
Slip, in New York, and destroyed a fourth of the city. In addition to
accounts of the calamity already published and generally familiar, the
experiences of Pastor Shewkirk, as given in his diary in the present
work, will be read with interest.



What now remains to be noticed as coming within the scope of the
present narrative are those incidents which led to the evacuation of
Harlem Heights by our army, and the subsequent capture of Fort
Washington, by which the British finally came into the possession of
the whole of New York Island.

The American position at the Heights, strong by nature, was made still
more so by defensive works. Three lines of intrenchments and redoubts
were thrown across the island between One Hundred and Forty-fifth and
One Hundred and Sixty-second streets; batteries were built around
King's Bridge, and at several points on the heights overlooking the
Harlem; and on the commanding site on the line of One Hundred and
Eighty-third Street, two hundred and thirty feet above the Hudson,
stood the powerful fortress called Fort Washington. Describing these
works more in detail, the first of the three lines, that furthest
south, was the one already referred to on which troops were digging
during the action of Harlem Heights. It extended along the line of One
Hundred and Forty-sixth Street. The second line, which was much
stronger, was laid out a short distance above at One Hundred and
Fifty-third Street. There were four redoubts in the line. Less than
half a mile above, between One Hundred and Sixtieth and One Hundred
and Sixty-second streets, and not extending east of Tenth Avenue, or
the old Post Road, was the third line. It mainly commanded the
depression in the heights which is now known as Audubon Park, and
included no redoubts. In addition to this triple line, there were
single breastworks and batteries at various points from Point of Rocks
north, along the ridge. The high and rugged bank of the Harlem
overlooking the present High Bridge was known as Laurel Hill, and at
the northern extremity, at One Hundred and Ninety-second Street, there
was an American battery, which the British afterwards named Fort
George. On the west side, at One Hundred and Ninety-sixth Street,
there was a small battery which became Fort Tryon. On the further side
of Spuyten Duyvil Creek stood Fort Independence, commanding King's
Bridge and its approaches.[206]

[Footnote 206: The position of the various works at Harlem Heights
appears on Sauthier's plan which seems to have accompanied Howe's
report of the capture of Fort Washington. Good copies of it may be
found in Stedman's history and in the _New York Revolutionary MS._,
vol. i. In 1812, when Randall surveyed the island, many of these works
were still traceable. He gives parts of the second and third lines,
Fort Washington and the others above, all of which agree with
Sauthier's locations. Some of the works remain well preserved to-day.]

Fort Washington was a large, five-sided work with bastions, strong by
virtue of its position, and important as commanding the passage of the
Hudson in connection with Fort Lee (first named Constitution),
opposite, on the summit of the Palisades on the Jersey side. Much
labor had been expended upon it, and it was generally regarded as
impregnable. The obstructions in the river consisted mainly of a line
of vessels chained together, loaded with stone, and then sunk and
anchored just below the surface of the river. It was expected that
they would resist the passage of the British ships, which would thus
be also brought to a stop under the guns from either shore, and made
to suffer heavily. Both the Continental Congress and the Provincial
Congress of New York had urged that no means or expense should be
spared to make the obstructions effectual, in view of the serious
results that would follow the enemy's possession of the river above.

Nearly a month now had elapsed since the retreat of our army to Harlem
Heights, and the British had made no further progress. They had in the
mean time thrown up a series of works across the island in front of
their main camps at Bloomingdale and McGowan's Pass, which could be
defended by a comparatively small force. On the 9th, however, they
showed indications of taking the field again by sending two frigates
up the Hudson. In spite of the sunken obstructions, the ships made
their way through without difficulty. Then, on the morning of the
12th, Howe embarked the greater part of his army in boats, and passing
through Hell Gate, under cover of a fog, landed on Throg's Neck, an
arm of the Westchester coast, about six miles above. Percy was left to
protect New York with three brigades. By this move the British general
placed himself on Washington's flank in Westchester County, and
threatened his communications. But the Neck was a poor selection for a
landing-place.[207] It was practically an island, the crossings to
the mainland being a causeway and fords, the opposite approaches of
which were fortified by the Americans. Colonel Hand's riflemen had
pulled up the planks on the bridges, and Prescott's Massachusetts were
ready behind breastworks to resist any attempt on the part of the
enemy to cross. Here the British wasted five days in collecting their
stores, while the Americans kept a sufficient force to meet them at
the causeway and vicinity. Among other regiments which relieved each
other at this point were Nixon's, Varnum's, Malcom's, Graham's, and

[Footnote 207: "Frog's Neck and Point is a kind of island; there are
two passages to the main which are fordable at low water, at both of
which we have thrown up works, which will give some annoyance should
they attempt to come off by either of these ways."--_Tilghman to
William Duer_, October 13th, 1776. _MS. Letter._ On hearing that they
had landed on the Neck, Duer replied from the Convention at Peekskill,
on the 15th: "There appears to me an actual fatality attending all
their measures. One would have naturally imagined from the Traitors
they have among them, who are capable of giving them the most minute
description of the Grounds in the county of Westchester, that they
would have landed much farther to the Eastward. Had they pushed their
imaginations to discover the worst place, they could not have
succeeded better than they have done."--_MS. Letter._]

       *       *       *       *       *

During and for some time before these movements an interesting
correspondence was carried on between Washington's headquarters and a
committee of the New York Convention, a portion of which may be
introduced in this connection. It gives us a glimpse of the deep
interest and anxiety felt in the Convention in matters affecting the
protection of the State, and the internal difficulties that had to be
encountered. The correspondence was conducted mainly between
Lieutenant Tilghman for headquarters and Hon. William Duer for the
Convention.[208] Thus, on September 20th, the latter writes to
Tilghman as follows:

[Footnote 208: The Convention's Committee on Correspondence consisted
of William Duer, R.R. Livingston, Egbert Benson, and two others.
Nearly all of Tilghman's letters to the committee have been published
either in Force or in the Proceedings of the N.Y. Provincial Congress.
Of Duer's replies, however, but few are in print, the originals being
in the possession of Oswald Tilghman, Esq., of Easton, Talbot County,
Md., to whom the writer is under obligations for the favor of quoting
the extracts given in the text. (See biographical sketch of Colonel

     "I can easily imagine that Genl Howe must be both
     chagrined and disappointed at the Retreat of our Army from
     New York. I have no doubt but what he expected fully to have
     taken them in a net; and he certainly would have succeeded
     had we pertinaciously persisted in the plan of defending the
     city. You observe that if the passage of the North River is
     sufficiently obstructed that our lines will keep the enemy
     from making any progress in front. This is certainly true;
     but you must recollect that the Sound is, and must ever be,
     open; and if they should succeed in landing a Body of Men in
     Westchester County, they might, by drawing lines to the
     North River, as effectually hem us in, as if we were in New
     York. From Sutton's Neck to the North River (if I am not
     mistaken) is not above twelve miles."

Again on the 2d of October, speaking of the possibility of the enemy's
getting on our flank or rear, Duer says:

     "I wish they would delay this attempt till Genl. Lee
     arrives, or till Mifflin comes from Philada. I am
     sensible that however great General Washington's abilities
     and vigilance are, he must stand in need of the assistance
     of such excellent officers. Is Genl Greene with the Army,
     or is he still in Jersey? If he could be spared from that
     quarter his presence, I think, would be of great
     consequence. I am much mistaken, if he is not possest of
     that Heaven-born Genius which is necessary to constitute a
     great General.--I can scarcely describe to you my feelings
     at this interesting Period--what, with the situation of our
     enemies in your quarter and the cursed machinations of our
     Internal Foes, the fate of this State hangs on a single
     battle of importance."

Again on the 8th:

     "I am sorry to tell you (for the credit of this State) that
     the Committee I belong to make daily fresh discoveries of
     the infernal Practices of our Enemies to excite
     Insurrections amongst the inhabitants of the State.
     To-morrow one Company, actually enlisted in the enemy's
     service, will be marched to Philadelphia, there to be
     confined in jail, till the establishment of our Courts
     enables us to hang the Ringleaders."

And on the following day Robert R. Livingston added on this subject:

     "Tho' we are constantly employed in the detection of
     treasons, yet plots multiply upon us daily, and we have
     reason every moment to dread an open rebellion. We have
     ordered troops to be raised but fear they will be too slow
     in coming, and that we shall be under the disagreeable
     necessity of asking a small and temporary aid from the
     Genl; but we shall defer this till reduced to the last

When the ships went up the river on the 9th, it was feared they had
troops on board who might make an attempt on the Highlands, whereupon
Duer wrote on the 10th:

     "In this [attempt] they will undoubtedly be joined by the
     villains in Westchester and Duchess County; it is therefore
     of the utmost consequence that a Force should be immediately
     detached from the main body of our army to occupy these
     posts.... By the Influence and Artifices of the capital
     tories of this State the majority of Inhabitants in those
     counties are ripe for a revolt."

But with a stout heart Duer continues:

     "It is our Duty, however, to struggle against the tide of
     adversity, and to exert ourselves with vigour adequate to
     our circumstances. This, as an Individual, I am determined
     to do in the Capacity in which I am at present acting, and I
     have no doubt those friends I have in the military line will
     do the same. We are not to expect to purchase our Liberties
     at a cheaper rate than other nations have done, or that
     _our_ soldiers should be Heaven born more than those of
     other nations. Experience will make us both have and win;
     and in the end teach Great Britain that in attempting to
     enslave us she is aiming a dagger at her own vitals."

On the 12th, before he heard of the landing at Throg's Neck, he wrote
to Tilghman:

     "Notwithstanding the enemy had, agreeable to your last
     advices, sent no vessels up the Sound, depend upon it, they
     will endeavor to make an attack upon your Flanks by means of
     Hudson's and the East River.... If General Lee is returned
     from the Southward and arrived at your camp (which I suppose
     to be the case) I beg my affectionate compliments to him. I
     wish to Heaven I could come and see you, but I am so
     embarrassed with the Committee I am engaged in that I have
     not hardly an hour, much less a few days to spare. This
     morning we marched off a Company of men, who had been
     enlisted to join the Battalion to be raised by Major Rogers,
     to the City of Philadelphia. We have an admirable clue of
     their abominable conspiracies, and (however late this
     undertaking has been) I hope by spirit and perseverance we
     may baffle their wretched Plots of occasioning a revolt in
     this State."[209]

[Footnote 209: As evidence of the estimation in which Lee was held at
this time, Duer writes on the 15th to Colonel Harrison: "I beg my
affectionate compliments to Genl Lee, whom I sincerely congratulate
on his arrival in camp--partly on account of himself as he will have
it in his [power] to reap a fresh Harvest of Laurels, and more on
account of his Country which looks to him as one of the brave
asserters of her dearest rights."--_MS. Letter._

Lee had just returned from South Carolina, and was associated by the
army with the brave defence of Charleston harbor. The honor of that
affair, however, belonged entirely to Moultrie.]

On the 13th, Tilghman wrote to Duer:

     "When your favor of the 10th came to hand, I was attending
     his Excellency, who was obliged to ride up to West Chester
     upon the Alarm of the Enemy's Landing at Frog's Point....
     From their not moving immediately forward, I imagine they
     are waiting for their artillery and stores, which must be
     very considerable if they seriously intend to set down in
     the country upon our rear. The grounds leading from Frog's
     Point towards our Post at King's bridge are as defensible as
     they can be wished. The roads are all lined with stone
     fences and the adjacent Fields divided off with stone
     [fences] likewise, which will make it impossible for them to
     advance their artillery and ammunition waggons by any other
     Rout than the great roads, and I think if they are well
     lined with troops, we may make a Considerable Slaughter if
     not discomfit them totally. Our riflemen have directions to
     attend particularly to taking down their Horses, which if
     done, will impede their march effectually. Our troops are in
     good spirits and seem inclined and determined to dispute
     every inch of Ground."

On the 15th he wrote to Duer again as follows, after informing him
that the enemy had not moved from the Neck:

     "From the number of vessels that have been continually
     passing up the Sound we conclude that they are transporting
     cannon and stores necessary to enable them to penetrate the
     country and set down in our rear. To hinder them from
     effecting this, Genl Lee, who arrived yesterday, has
     taken the command in that quarter. He will be posted in such
     a situation with a very considerable number of Light Troops
     that, let the Enemy advance by what road they will, they
     cannot elude him; if they march in one great body he can
     easily draw his Divisions together; if they divide and take
     different Routs, they will fall in with the different
     parties. He will have the Flower of the Army with him, as
     our lines in front are so strong that we can trust them to
     Troops who would not stand in the field."

Duer, on the 17th, replied:

     "I expect daily to hear of some grand attempt made by the
     Enemy.... If one half of our army think as much of the
     Importance of the approaching Contest as you do, I shall
     entertain no Doubt of our success. May Heaven protect you,
     and all my Friends who are venturing their Lives in so great
     and good a cause."

On the same date Tilghman wrote:

     "I have not time to describe the Disposition of our Army
     perfectly to you, but you may depend that every step is
     taken to prevent the enemy from outflanking us and at the
     same time to secure our Retreat in case of need. The Enemy
     have made no move from Frog's Point.... I don't know how it
     is, but I believe their design to circumvent us this time
     will prove as abortive as the former ones. If we can but
     foil Genl Howe again, I think we knock him up for the
     Campaign. You ask if Genl Lee is in Health and our people
     feel bold? I answer both in the affirmative. His appearance
     among us has not contributed a little to the latter. We are
     sinking the ships as fast as possible; 200 men are daily
     employed, but they take an immense quantity of stone for the

To meet this move upon their flank and rear, the Americans were
obliged to abandon their strong camp at Harlem Heights. On the 16th,
while the British were still at Throg's Neck, Washington called a
council of war, when it was agreed that they could not keep their
communications open with the back country, if they remained where they
were and the British advanced. At the same it was voted to hold Fort
Washington. To be ready to counteract the next move of the enemy, a
part of the army was stationed at advantageous points in Westchester
County, the main camps being extended along the hills west of the
Bronx River. Both Valentine's Hill and Miles Square were occupied and

On the 18th, Howe left Throg's Neck and transferred his army further
eastward to Pell's Point below New Rochelle. The Light Infantry
advanced from the coast, but were faced by Glover's brigade from
behind stone walls, and made to suffer some loss.[210] Glover and his
men were complimented for their conduct both by Washington and Lee.
The enemy again delayed in the vicinity of East Chester and New
Rochelle until the 22d.

[Footnote 210: In this skirmish Captain Evelyn, the British officer
who captured the patrol of American officers on Long Island, was
mortally wounded, and died soon after, much regretted. He is supposed
to have been buried in New York.]

Wishing exact information of the position of the enemy and of the
topography of the country, the commander-in-chief, on the morning of
the 20th, requested Colonel Reed and Colonel Putnam, his engineer, to
undertake a reconnoissance in person. Setting out from King's Bridge
with a foot-guard of twenty men, these officers proceeded to the
heights at East Chester, where they saw some of the enemy near the
church, but could obtain no intelligence. The houses in the vicinity
were deserted. From this point Reed returned to attend to his office
duties, while Putnam, disguising his appearance as an officer by
taking out his cockade, loping his hat, and concealing his sword and
pistols under his loose coat, continued on alone in the direction of
White Plains. Learning from a woman at a house that the British were
at New Rochelle, he passed on to within three or four miles of White
Plains, where he met some "friends to the cause" and ascertained the
general situation. "I found," he writes, "that the main body of the
British lay near New Rochelle, from thence to White Plains about nine
miles, good roads and in general level open country, that at White
Plains was a large quantity of stores, with only about three hundred
militia to guard them, that the British had a detachment at Mamaroneck
only six miles from White Plains, and from White Plains only five
miles to the North River, where lay five or six of the enemies ships
and sloops, tenders, etc. Having made these discoveries, I set out on
my return." Reporting this information to the commander-in-chief about
nine o'clock in the evening, Colonel Putnam retired to "refresh"
himself and horse, only to receive orders soon after to proceed
immediately to Lord Stirling's brigade,[211] now in Spencer's
division, which had already advanced on the road towards White Plains.
He reached Stirling at two o'clock that night, and at dawn the general
pushed on to White Plains, arriving there about nine o'clock on the
morning of the 21st. Washington himself and Heath's division followed
during the day, and the troops set to work throwing up lines at that
important point. By delaying near New Rochelle, Howe had missed his
opportunity. During the night of the 21st, Colonel Haslet, of
Stirling's brigade, surprised and captured some thirty men belonging
to the partisan Rogers' Scouts, and soon after Colonel Hand with his
now veteran riflemen proved himself more than a match for an equal
party of yagers encountered near Mamaroneck. In the first of these
skirmishes, Major Greene, a fine Virginia officer, was mortally

[Footnote 211: Stirling, who with Sullivan had recently been exchanged
as prisoner, was now in command of Mifflin's brigade, Mifflin being
absent in Philadelphia.]

Washington concentrated his army at White Plains, completed two lines
of works, with his right on the river Bronx, and awaited the advance
of the British. Howe had moved from New Rochelle to Scarsdale, and on
the morning of the 28th marched against the Americans. A mile or more
from White Plains, on the main road to New York, he fell in with
General Spencer's advance parties under Colonels Silliman,
Douglas,[212] and Chester, who offered resistance and lost some men,
but they were driven back by superior numbers. On the left of the
American position, across the Bronx, rose Chatterton's Hill, which
offered a good site for the better defence of that flank. Colonel
Putnam had just arrived on the hill to throw up works when the enemy
made their appearance below.[213] According to Haslet, the Delawares
were the first troops to report on this hill, where they took post
with one of General Lincoln's Massachusetts militia regiments, under
Colonel Brooks, on their right. They were followed immediately by
McDougall's brigade, consisting of what was lately his own battalion,
which had no field officers, Ritzema's, Smallwood's, and Webb's. The
troops formed along the brow of the hill, and stood waiting for the
enemy. The two-gun battery brought up at the same time was Captain
Alexander Hamilton's.

[Footnote 212: See letters of these officers, _Documents_ 17, 22. Also
Tallmadge's account, _Document_ 26.]

[Footnote 213: "October 29th [28th] the British advanced in front of
our lines at White Plains about 10 o'clock A.M. I had just arrived on
Chatterton Hill in order to throw up some works when they hove in
sight; as soon as they discovered us they commenced a severe cannonade
but without any effect of consequence. General McDougal about this
time arriving with his brigade from Burtis's and observing the British
to be crossing the Bronx below in large bodies in order to attack us,
our troops were posted to receive them in a very advantageous
position. The British in their advance were twice repulsed; at length,
however, their numbers were increased so that they were able to turn
our right flank. We lost many men, but from information afterwards
received there was reason to believe they lost many more than we. The
rail and stone fence behind which our troops were posted proved as
fatal to the British as the rail fence and grass hung on it did at
Charlestown the 17th of June 1775."--_Colonel Rufus Putnam, Document_

The British marched up in brilliant array towards Washington's
position, but unexpectedly declined to make an attack in front,
although the centre was our weakest point. Chatterton's Hill appeared
to engage Howe's attention at once, and it became the first object of
capture. The troops assigned for this purpose were the Second British
brigade and Hessians under Donop, Rall, and Lossberg, in all about
four thousand men. They crossed the Bronx, under cover of their
artillery, and prepared to ascend the somewhat abrupt face of the hill
on the other side. McDougall's men reserved their fire until the enemy
were within short range, when they poured a destructive shower of
bullets upon them. The British recoiled, but moved up again to the
attack, while Rall came around more on the left, and after a brisk
fight, in which the militia facing Rall failed to stand their ground,
they succeeded in compelling McDougall to retreat. Had the militia
held their own, the fight might have been another Bunker Hill for the
enemy. As it was, Colonel Putnam compared it to that engagement. In
falling back, McDougall suffered some loss, but the whole force
escaped to the right of our lines, with fewer casualties than they
inflicted on the enemy. The latter lost about two hundred and thirty;
the Americans something over one hundred and forty. Colonel Smallwood
was wounded, and lost two of his captains, killed. Ritzema's New York
Continentals suffered the most, having made a brave fight.
Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel B. Webb, of Wethersfield, Ct., one of
Washington's aids, who had shown his coolness under fire on Bunker
Hill, was slightly wounded and had a horse shot under him while
carrying orders.[214]

[Footnote 214: Statement of his son, General James Watson Webb, of New

This affair on Chatterton's Hill is known as the Battle of White
Plains. On the side of the Americans, not more than sixteen hundred
troops were engaged, but the action was an important one, as it had
the effect of changing the direction of future operations.[215]

[Footnote 215: The details of the various movements in Westchester
County would fill a long and interesting chapter; but in the present
connection not more than an outline can be attempted.]

On the following day, the 29th, Howe waited for reinforcements. On the
30th, the rain postponed an intended attack. On the 31st the weather
proved fine about noon, but the British General "did not think proper
to put his former intentions in execution." The next morning, November
1st, there was a further excuse for not attacking: Washington during
the night had fallen back to the almost unassailable heights of North
Castle, in his rear. Howe was thus again baffled in his attempt to
bring the Americans to a decisive engagement, or to surround them, and
he now turned his attention to another line of campaign. Stedman, the
British historian, probably gives the correct reason why Washington
was not followed. The American position, he says, was now "so
advantageous that any attack on them must have proved unsuccessful,
for the river Croton stretched along their front, and their rear was
defended by woods and heights. Convinced that it was part of the
enemy's system studiously to avoid an action, and that their knowledge
of the country enabled them to execute this system with advantage,
General Howe resolved to cease an ineffectual pursuit, and employ
himself in the reduction of King's Bridge and Fort Washington." This
accomplished, he could then push on to Philadelphia and close the
year's operations with the occupation of that place. The capture of
two cities, the successive defeats inflicted upon the Americans, and
the good prospect of ending the rebellion in the next campaign, would
be a brilliant military record with which to gratify the home


Howe broke up his camp near White Plains on November 5th, and marched
west to the Hudson at Dobb's Ferry. Knyphausen, who had lately arrived
with a second division of "foreigners," had already been despatched to
King's Bridge. After various movements and delays, the entire British
force also moved on the 12th to the immediate vicinity of the bridge,
and dispositions were made to attack and capture Fort Washington. On
the 15th, Howe sent a summons for the surrender of the fort, in which
he intimated that a refusal to comply would justify the putting of the
garrison to the sword.

The commander of Fort Washington was Colonel Robert Magaw, of
Pennsylvania. In addition to his own regiment and Colonel Shee's, now
under Lieutenant-Colonel Cadwallader, he had with him several
detachments of troops from the Pennsylvania Flying Camp, under
Colonels Baxter, Swoope, and others, together with a Maryland rifle
battalion, under Colonel Rawlings, whose major was Otho Holland
Williams, an officer distinguished later in the war. The artillery
numbered about one hundred men, under Captain Pierce, and there were
also the "Rangers," parts of Miles's and Atlee's old regiments, such
as escaped the Long Island defeat, and about two hundred and fifty
from Bradley's Connecticut levies, many of whom were to die in
captivity. The whole force under Magaw numbered about twenty-eight
hundred officers and men. The ground they were expected to hold was
that part of Harlem Heights from the first of the three lines already
described, northward to the end of Laurel Hill on the Harlem, and the
hill west on the Hudson, a distance of two miles and a half.

At the lower lines at One Hundred and Forty-sixth Street,
Cadwallader's men, the Rangers, and some others were posted; at Laurel
Hill, Colonel Baxter, and west of him, at the northern termination of
the level summit of the ridge where Fort Washington stood, was Colonel
Rawlings. Magaw remained at the fort to direct movements during the
attack. The outer defences where the troops were stationed were to be
held as long as possible, while the fort and the intrenchments
immediately surrounding it were to be the point of retreat. Magaw
believed he could hold the post against almost any force until
December, and when the summons for a surrender reached him he returned
the following spirited reply:

     "15 NOVEMBER, 1776.

     "SIR: If I rightly understand the purport of your message
     from General Howe communicated to Colonel Swoope, this post
     is to be immediately surrendered or the garrison put to the
     sword. I rather think it a mistake than a settled resolution
     in General Howe to act a part so unworthy of himself and the
     British Nation. But give me leave to assure his Excellency
     that actuated by the most glorious cause that mankind ever
     fought in, I am determined to defend this post to the last

     "ROB'T MAGAW, Colonel Commanding.

     "To the Adjutant-General of the British Army."

On the morning of the 16th, the enemy opened the attack from three
directions.[216] The Hessians moved forward from King's Bridge against
Rawlings' position, Rall on the right nearest to the Hudson,
Knyphausen a short distance to his left nearer the King's Bridge road.
Brigadier-General Matthews, supported by Cornwallis, came down the
Harlem from the bridge in boats, and landed at the foot of Laurel Hill
(One Hundred and Ninety-sixth Street), where Baxter was posted. These
formed the attacking columns from the north side. On the south side
Percy marched up from Harlem Plains and engaged Cadwallader at the
lower lines.

[Footnote 216: Consult "Map of New York," etc., Part II.]

At about the moment the cannonade began, Washington, Putnam, Greene,
and Mercer were putting off from the Jersey shore at Fort Lee to make
a final visit to Fort Washington, and determine whether to defend or
evacuate the post. When they reached the island they found the
threatened attack in actual progress, and evacuation then was out of
the question. They saw Percy making his dispositions, and could see
nothing to modify on their own side. All they could do was to await
the result. "There," says Greene, "we all stood in a very awkward
situation." Had they remained much longer it would have been more than
awkward. Putnam, Greene, and Mercer felt that Washington at least
ought not to be exposed in a position which might become dangerous,
and they all urged him to return to Fort Lee, while each in turn
offered to stay and conduct the defence. But the chief, who never
wished to hold the fort as an isolated post, foresaw the possible, if
not the probable, result of the British attack as clearly as his
generals, and he advised the return of the entire party. Entering
their boat they were rowed back to the Jersey side.[217]

[Footnote 217: Read the letter Greene wrote to Knox on the following
day.--_Document_ 36.]

The fighting began under a heavy fire from the enemy's artillery
posted at advantageous points, both on the island and on the east side
of the Harlem River. The several columns pushed forward nearly at the
same time. Rall and Knyphausen encountered the most serious obstacles,
and met with the most obstinate resistance. Their course lay through
woods and underbrush and heavy abattis, felled by the Americans. As
they approached Rawlings, his men received them with a destructive and
determined fire, which lasted a long time. Rall's force, including the
newly arrived Waldeckers, fought desperately, and, as Cornwallis
afterwards declared, "to the admiration of the entire British
army."[218] Knyphausen led his men and tore down obstructions with his
own hands. Matthews and Cornwallis climbed up the steep hill, and
drove back Baxter's men; but not before Baxter had fallen while
fighting manfully. Percy, with whose column Lord Howe had taken his
station, held Cadwallader's attention and made some progress in that
direction, when Howe ordered a fourth column, consisting of the
Forty-second Highlanders, under Lieutenant-Colonel Sterling, and two
supporting regiments, to cross Harlem River, and attempt to land
between Cadwallader and Fort Washington. This movement was
successfully conducted under difficulties. The Highlanders rushed up
the steep side of Harlem Heights just below the Morris Mansion, and
captured over one hundred and fifty of the Americans whom Cadwallader
and Magaw had detached to oppose them. Sterling's force, however,
suffered considerably in making the landing. By this attack in flank,
Cadwallader could maintain his position no longer, and his entire
party retreated rapidly towards the fort.

[Footnote 218: Testimony of Cornwallis before Parliamentary Committee
on Howe's case in 1779.]

Knyphausen and Rall, meanwhile, succeeded in driving back Rawlings,
who had made the best resistance during the day, and the former soon
reached Fort Washington, where all the Americans had now retreated.
The German general at once sent in a summons for surrender, and Magaw
finding that the fort was so crowded with his beaten troops, and that
it was impossible to attempt further resistance without great
sacrifice of life, agreed to a capitulation on favorable terms,
officers and men to be guaranteed personal safety and allowed to
retain private baggage.[219]

[Footnote 219: Washington, who with his officers watched the fighting
from Fort Lee, sent over Captain Gooch to tell Magaw to maintain
himself until night, when an effort would be made to withdraw the
garrison to New Jersey. The captain reached the fort, delivered his
message, and, running through the fire of the enemy, got to his boat
again and recrossed in safety.]

By this surrender the Americans lost in prisoners two thousand six
hundred and thirty-seven enlisted men and two hundred and twenty-one
officers,[220] the greater part from Pennsylvania, and nearly half of
them well-drilled troops. These were the men, with those taken on Long
Island and at Kip's Bay, for whose accommodation the Presbyterian and
Reformed churches in New York were turned into prisons, and who were
to perish by hundreds by slow starvation and loathsome disease, which
brutal keepers took little trouble to alleviate. The loss of the enemy
in killed and wounded was something over four hundred and fifty, about
two thirds of which fell upon the Hessians. The American casualties
were four officers and fifty privates killed, and not over one hundred

[Footnote 220: Henshaw's copy of return of prisoners.--_Document No._

       *       *       *       *       *

Upon whom the responsibility for the loss of this post should rest is
a question on which divided opinions have been expressed.[221] Greene
had urged the retention of the fort as necessary, both to command the
passage of the river, and because it would be a threatening obstacle
to the enemy's future operations. For them to advance into the country
with such a fortification in their rear would be a hazardous move.
These reasons were sound, and, as already stated, when the main army
evacuated Harlem Heights, Washington's council voted to retain Fort
Washington. But on the 7th of November, some British men-of-war again
passed the obstructions without difficulty, and Washington wrote to
Greene on the 8th from White Plains as follows:

     "SIR: The late passage of the three vessels up the North
     River (which we have just received advice of) is so plain a
     proof of the inefficacy of all the obstructions we have
     thrown into it, that I cannot but think it will fully
     justify a change in the disposition which has been made. If
     we cannot prevent vessels passing up, and the enemy are
     possessed of the surrounding country, what valuable purpose
     can it answer to attempt to hold a post from which the
     expected benefit cannot be had? I am therefore inclined to
     think it will not be prudent to hazard the men and stores at
     Mount Washington; but as you are on the spot, leave it to
     you to give such orders as to evacuating Mount Washington as
     you judge best, and so far revoking the order given to Col.
     Magaw to defend it to the last."

[Footnote 221: Two weeks before the attack on the fort, Magaw's
adjutant, William Demont, deserted to the enemy. This fact has lately
been established by the recovery, by Mr. Edward F. de Lancey, of the
New York Historical Society, of Demont's own letter confessing the
desertion. It is dated London, January 16th, 1792, and is in part as

"On the 2d of Nov'r 1776 I Sacrificed all I was Worth in the World to
the Service of my King & Country and joined the then Lord Percy,
brought in with me the Plans of Fort Washington, by which Plans that
Fortress was taken by his Majesty's Troops the 16 instant, Together
with 2700 Prisoners and Stores & Ammunition to the amount of 1800
Pound. At the same time, I may with Justice affirm, from my Knowledge
of the Works, I saved the Lives of many of His Majesty's
Subjects--these Sir are facts well-known to every General Officer
which was there."

Mr. De Lancey makes this letter the text of a detailed and highly
interesting account of the fall of Fort Washington (published in the
_Magazine of American History_, February, 1877), in which the new
theory is advanced that the disaster was due in the first instance to
Demont's treason. It is quite probable, as the deserter claimed, that
his information was of some use to the British general in making his
dispositions for the attack, but beyond this the incident could hardly
have affected the situation on either side. Up to the night preceding
the assault, Howe did not know whether the Americans would remain in
the fort or not. Indeed, he gave them the opportunity to evacuate it
by allowing a whole night to intervene between the summons to
surrender and the attack. He could not, therefore, have changed his
plans, as alleged, in the confident expectation of taking a large
garrison prisoners and sending home word of another great victory.
Fort Washington was simply in his way, and he would have moved against
it under any circumstances, regardless of Demont and his treachery.]

General Greene on the following day replied that he did not think the
garrison in any danger, and that it could be drawn off at any time.
He believed, too, that the stores could be removed at the last moment,
in spite of an attack; and again he called attention to the advantage
of holding the post as an annoyance to the enemy. No further
communications passed on the subject, but Washington rode to the
Highlands, and, returning on the Jersey side of the Hudson, reached
Greene's headquarters at Fort Lee on the 14th, to find no steps taken
to withdraw men or stores from Mount Washington. Had the enemy in the
mean time invested and captured the fort, it is pertinent to inquire
whether Greene, having been acquainted with the distinct wishes of the
commander-in-chief not to hazard the post, could not have been justly
and properly charged with its loss. Washington's instructions were
discretionary only so far as related to the details or perhaps the
time of the evacuation; and to leave Greene free, he revoked the order
already given to Magaw to defend the fort to the last. Upon the
arrival of Washington at Fort Lee, however, one phase of the question
changed. By not renewing his instructions to evacuate the mount when
he found that nothing had been done in the case, or not making the
instructions peremptory, he entirely relieved Greene of the charge of
non-compliance, which could have been brought against him before. The
commander-in-chief was now present, and Greene was no longer under
instructions, discretionary or otherwise. Washington accepted the
situation as he now found it, and was reconsidering the propriety of a
total evacuation. Finding Greene, of whose military judgment he had "a
good opinion," strong in favor of holding the post, and others
agreeing with him, among whom evidently were Putnam, Mercer, and
Magaw, and knowing that Congress and the country would not easily be
reconciled to its abandonment, Washington hesitated for the moment to
enforce his own views and opinions. On the 14th and 15th, he still
delayed a final decision. So says Greene. "His Excellency General
Washington," he writes, "has been with me several days. The evacuation
or reinforcement of Fort Washington was under consideration, but
finally nothing concluded on;" and it was not until the morning of the
16th, just at the time of the attack, that they all went over to the
fort "to determine what was best to be done." This clearly settles the
fact that Greene was not under instructions at the time of the
surrender of the post.

But at the same time, upon a review of all the circumstances, it is
difficult to escape the conviction that but for General Greene's
earnest opposition to an abandonment of the fort, the disaster would
not have occurred. It was an error of judgment, an over-confidence in
the sufficiency of the preparations made for the defence, and a belief
that if matters came to the worst the garrison could be withdrawn in
spite of the enemy. That Greene himself felt that he would be held
largely accountable for the loss of the post, is evident from his own
expressions in the letter he wrote to Knox on the next day. "I feel
mad, vexed, sick, and sorry," are his words. "Never did I need the
consoling voice of a friend more than now. Happy should I be to see
you. This is a most terrible event; its consequences are justly to be
dreaded. Pray, what is said upon the occasion?"[222]

[Footnote 222: This is what Tilghman said upon the occasion: "The loss
of the post is nothing compared to the loss of men and arms, and the
damp it will strike upon the minds of many. We were in a fair way of
finishing the campaign with credit to ourselves and I think to the
disgrace of Mr. Howe, and had the General followed his own opinion the
garrison would have been withdrawn immediately upon the enemy's
falling down from Dobb's Ferry; but Gen'l Greene was positive that our
forces might at any time be drawn off under the guns of Fort Lee.
Fatal experience has evinced the contrary."--_Correspondence in
Proceedings of the N.Y. Provincial Congress_, vol. ii.]

There were those who censured Washington for not overruling Greene,
but the chief kept his counsels to himself, and it was not until
nearly three years later, in August, 1779, that he gave his version of
the affair in a private letter to Colonel Reed. In that he frankly
admits that Greene's representations and other reasons caused a
"warfare" and "hesitation" in his mind, by which the evacuation was
delayed until too late. But he indulged in no censures on Greene. His
confidence in the latter remained steadfast. The disaster was one of
those misfortunes which occur in the career of every great general,
and become, indeed, a step by which he rises to greatness. Greene,
more than any general of the Revolution, learned by experience. Every
battle, whether a defeat or victory, was for him a training-school;
and at the close of the war we find him ranking hardly second to the
commander-in-chief, in military talents, and enjoying nearly an equal
reputation for his achievements.

       *       *       *       *       *

This disaster at Fort Washington, the heaviest suffered by the
Americans during the entire war, closed the campaign in the vicinity
of New York. All the western part of Long Island, New York City, and
all Manhattan Island, had fallen into the possession of the British,
and their fleet came into undisturbed control of the Hudson, the East
River, and the waters of the Sound. Every thing that Washington and
his soldiers had sought to secure and defend was wrested from their
hands. Their losses too, in men and material, were almost
irreparable. Much the greater part of their artillery had been
captured--two hundred and eighteen pieces of all calibres, according
to the enemy's report. Three hundred and twenty-nine officers and four
thousand one hundred men had been taken prisoners; nearly six hundred
had been killed or wounded; and numbers had been swept off by disease.
The enemy suffered more heavily, except in prisoners and cannon, in
which their loss was nothing; but they had recovered territory, won
victories, and they were now to find before them only a flying and
dissolving body of rebels.

The situation at this point presented a gloomy prospect for America.
But had the cause been then surrendered, we could still contemplate
this struggle around New York and Brooklyn with respect, as a noble
effort to gain an end worth fighting for. As success, however, was
finally achieved, and achieved through the experience of these events,
they challenge our deepest interest.



To appreciate the full significance of what has been described in the
preceding pages, follow the campaign in outline to its closing scenes.

Thus far the American army had met with nothing but defeat, retreat,
sacrifice, hardship, and discouragement. First came the months of
preparation, with England straining every nerve to conquer the
colonies; then the first and disastrous collision on Long Island, on
which so much depended; then the retreat, the loss of New York, the
withdrawal to White Plains, and a battle which was not a victory for
the Americans; and, finally, the heavy blow struck in the fall of Fort
Washington. Much had been endured and learned alike by general and
private soldier during these gloomy months, and both were now destined
to profit by the trial. All this faith and patience had its legitimate
reward, as we shall find if we now place ourselves in the last days of
the year upon the banks of the Delaware.

What had occurred in the mean time was the evacuation of Fort Lee, a
hasty retreat through New Jersey, the dwindling away of the army, the
advance of the British towards Philadelphia, the removal of Congress
to Baltimore, and an increase of despondency throughout the
country.[223] Washington with the remnants of his army had taken post
on the right bank of the Delaware, and, still strong in hope, was
calling for militia to come to his assistance. At the same time he
watched the opportunity to inflict upon the enemy some happy
counter-stroke that might temporarily raise the spirits of his
soldiers and the people. The opportunity came. The British delayed
crossing the Delaware, and divided their force among different posts
throughout New Jersey. At Trenton they stationed Colonel Rall with a
body twelve hundred strong, composed chiefly of Hessians. This was the
Rall who marched up with De Heister on Long Island, and figured in the
capture of prisoners, who afterwards turned our right on Chatterton's
Hill, at White Plains, and whose attack on Rawlings at Fort Washington
was the brilliant feature of that day. He was every inch a soldier,
except in possessing that reserve of caution which every commander is
bound to exercise in the presence of an enemy, however remote the
probability of an attack. Rall despised Washington's troops, and would
throw up no intrenchments around Trenton.

[Footnote 223: After the battle of White Plains, Howe, we have seen,
moved against Fort Washington. On the other hand, Washington,
supposing that Howe would aim next for Philadelphia, prepared to cross
part of his force into Jersey and endeavor to protect that city. He
proposed to continue the policy of "wasting" the campaign. Heath was
left to look after the Highlands; Lee with another force remained at
Northcastle, and Connecticut troops were posted at Saw Pits and the
borders of that State. Washington took with him Putnam, Greene,
Stirling, and Mercer, with less than four thousand men, and fell back
before the British through Brunswick, Princeton, and Trenton. He wrote
several times to Lee to join him, but Lee was full of excuses and
utterly failed Washington at this crisis. While marching in no haste
by a westerly route through Jersey, Lee was surprised at his quarters
at Baskingridge on the morning of December 13th, and made prisoner by
Lieutenant-Colonel Harcourt and a party of dragoons. (The account of
the capture by Captain Bradford, Lee's aid, not heretofore published,
is given in _Document_ 46. In Wilkinson's _Memoirs_ there is another
account.) Sullivan then took command of Lee's troops and joined
Washington, who at Trenton had crossed to the Pennsylvania side of the
Delaware, removing all boats to delay the enemy, and had halted in
camp a few miles above.]

Washington resolved to make a sudden dash upon this Hessian. A
surprise, an irresistible attack, the capture of a post with a
thousand men, might work wonders in their moral effect. The soldiers
with him were trusty men, twenty-four hundred of whom he proposed to
lead himself on this enterprise. Many of the regiments we have already
become familiar with, and their leaders are men who have led them from
the first. Here are Greene, Sullivan, Stirling, Mercer, Glover, and
Sargent, for division and brigade commanders; and with them we meet
new officers--Brigadier-Generals Adam Stephen, of Virginia; Arthur St.
Clair, of Pennsylvania, and De Fermoy, a French officer, lately
commissioned by Congress. Here also are Hand's battalion, parts of
Smallwood's and Haslet's, Knox and his artillerymen, Durkee's, Charles
Webb's, Ward's, and parts of Chester's and Bradley's, from
Connecticut; Sargent's, Glover's, Hutchinson's, Baldwin's, Shepherd's,
Bailey's, and Paterson's, of Massachusetts; Stark's, Poor's, and
Reed's, from New Hampshire, who, with Paterson's, have just arrived in
camp from Ticonderoga; the remnants of McDougall's and Ritzema's New
York Continentals, and Weedon's, Scott's, Elliot's, Buckner's, and
Reed's Virginians. How depleted are these battalions, many of them
less than a hundred strong!

Washington's plan included a simultaneous move from several points.
The body he was to lead was concentrated, on the night of December
24th, at McConkey's Ferry, nine miles above Trenton. The troops were
to cross at night, reach the town at dawn, and take its garrison by
surprise. Lower down were two other bodies of troops. About opposite
Trenton, General Ewing was posted with Pennsylvania militia and
Nixon's Continental brigade, now commanded by Colonel Daniel
Hitchcock, of Rhode Island. At Bristol, General Cadwallader commanded
still another corps of Pennsylvanians, including many young men from
the best families in Philadelphia. Ewing and Cadwallader were to cross
and intercept the retreat of the Hessians from Trenton, or prevent
Donop at Burlington from affording relief. Putnam was to make a
demonstration from Philadelphia.

To his own force Washington issued minute and stringent orders. The
troops he divided into two divisions, giving Sullivan the first, and
Greene the second. Sullivan's brigades were Glover's, Sargent's, and
St. Clair's; Greene's were Stephen's, Mercer's, and Stirling's. De
Fermoy was to follow in Greene's rear with Hand's riflemen and
Hausegger's German battalion from Pennsylvania. To each brigade were
attached from two to four pieces of artillery, eighteen guns in all,
under Knox. Greene's division was to cross first, Stephen's in
advance, provided with spikes and hammers to spike the enemy's guns,
and with ropes to drag them off if that proved feasible. After the
crossing, Captain Washington, of the Third Virginia, was to proceed
with a guard on the road towards Trenton, and halt and detain any one
who might be passing in either direction. Three miles from the ferry
the road branched, making two lines of approach to the town. Greene's
division was to take the upper road; Sullivan's the lower one near the
river. Stirling's and St. Clair's brigades were to act as reserves for
their respective columns, and in case of necessity were to form
separately or join forces, as the emergency required. The officers
set their watches by Washington's. Profound silence was enjoined. Not
a man to leave the ranks, read the orders, _under penalty of

[Footnote 224: Order of march to Trenton.--_Drake's Life of Knox._]

The night of the 24th brought storm, snow, and sleet. Ewing and
Cadwallader could do nothing on account of the ice in the river. But
Washington was determined on the attempt. He called upon Glover's men
to man the boats; and these amphibious soldiers, who had transported
the army on the retreat from Long Island, were ready again to strain
every nerve for the plans of their chief. It was a long, tedious night
as they pushed across the Delaware, through ice and chilling spray,
and it was not until four o'clock in the morning that the force was
ready to take up the march on the Jersey side. They could not surprise
the Hessians before daylight, but a return was not to be thought of.
The troops then marched on in the worst weather that could be
encountered. "As violent a storm ensued of Hail & Snow as I ever
felt," wrote Captain William Hull, of Webb's Continentals. The river
was crossed, says Knox, "with almost infinite difficulty," the
floating ice making the labor incredible. Fortunately the storm was
against our backs, "and consequently in the faces of our enemy." The
march was kept up swiftly and quietly. In Sullivan's column some of
the soldiers could not cover their muskets from the wet, and word was
sent to Washington of the unfitness of their arms. Washington promptly
sent word back by his aid, Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel B. Webb, that if
the men could not discharge their pieces they must use the bayonet,
for the town must be taken.

At eight o'clock the two columns neared the enemy's
outposts--Sullivan striking them on the lower road but three minutes
after Greene on the upper one. Greene's van was led by Captain
Washington and Lieutenant James Monroe, the future President;
Sullivan's by Stark's New Hampshire men. Surprising the Hessian
outguards, our troops dashed after them "pell-mell" into Trenton, gave
the enemy no time to form, cleared the streets with cannon and
howitzers "in the twinkling of an eye," under Washington's own
direction, dislodged them from the houses, drove them beyond into a
plain, surrounded and forced them to surrender, with the loss of their
commander Rall, who fell mortally wounded. A fine and remarkable
exploit! The turning-point of the campaign--if not, indeed, the
decisive stroke of the war! Gathering up their nine hundred and fifty
prisoners, six brass field-pieces, standards, horses, and "a vast
quantity of Plunder," the Americans marched back again, having lost
not a man killed, and hardly more than two or three wounded.

In General Orders next day, Washington congratulated his soldiers in
the warmest terms. He had been in many actions, in all of which he had
seen misbehavior on the part of some; but at Trenton, he told them
their conduct was admirable, without exception. Among others he
thanked Knox for his services in terms "strong and polite."
"Providence seemed to have smiled upon every part of this enterprise."
"What can't men do," said Hull, "when engaged in so noble a cause!"
"That victory," writes Bancroft, "turned the shadow of death into the

       *       *       *       *       *

One more encounter with the enemy, one more success, and the campaign
closes with final victory assured for America.

Convinced that inaction would be as demoralizing as defeat, Washington
once more determined to try his fortunes in New Jersey, and at once
prepared again "to beat up" the enemy's quarters. Crossing the
Delaware as before, he marched on the 30th to Trenton, which the
British had not reoccupied since Christmas. Hearing of this move,
Cornwallis at Princeton gathered a force of seven thousand veterans,
and on the 2d of January started for Trenton. Washington sent out
detachments, and delayed his entry into the town until evening. At
nightfall he took up position on the east bank of the Assanpink Creek,
which ran along the east edge of the town and emptied into the
Delaware. The British pursued our troops to the bridge, but were there
repulsed by Knox's artillery. Cornwallis rested at Trenton, sent off
for reinforcements, and expected the next morning to cross the
Assanpink at the bridge or the fords above, and bring Washington to an
engagement. Obviously the Americans were in a hazardous position.
Should the British drive them back, there was no escape, for the
Delaware flowed in their rear. They must save themselves that night. A
council of war was called, and the situation discussed. From Trenton
to Princeton ran a second roundabout road east of the main highway,
along which Cornwallis had marched, and which it was possible for the
Americans to take, and put themselves in the rear of Cornwallis, with
lines of retreat open beyond to Morristown and the back country.
Washington proposed escape by this route, and the council seconded
him. Orders for a secret night march were given to the officers, and
the regiments were silently withdrawn from their posts along the
Assanpink, and set in motion along this back road towards Princeton.
The camp-fires on the banks of the creek were kept up by guards left
behind for the purpose. Nothing occurred to excite suspicion of the
movement in the minds of the British sentinels, nearly within
musket-shot on the opposite bank.

Washington's troops reached a point within two miles of Princeton
about sunrise. The main column pushed on for the village, while
Mercer's brigade, consisting of the remnants of Haslet's Delawares,
Smallwood's Marylanders, and the First Virginia regiment under Captain
Fleming, turned to the left to break down a bridge on the main road
over Stony Creek, which the enemy would have to cross on returning
from Trenton, in pursuit of Washington.

Three British regiments had been left at Princeton by Cornwallis, but
were now, on the morning of the 3d, proceeding under orders to join
him. These were the Fifty-fifth, the Fortieth, and Seventeenth, the
latter commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Mawhood. Mawhood was a mile in
advance of the others, and had just crossed the Stony Creek bridge,
when, looking across the country to his left and rear, he discovered
Mercer's party on its march. Surprised at the appearance of a force of
rebels where he least expected to see one, Mawhood, nevertheless, with
a soldier's instinct, promptly wheeled about and proceeded to attack
Mercer. They met on a hill and exchanged fire, when Mawhood ordered a
bayonet charge, and put the Americans to rout. Mercer, on horseback,
attempted in vain to rally his men, and was mortally wounded with
bayonet thrusts. Haslet, gallantly fighting on foot, and also trying
to form the broken brigade, fell dead with a bullet wound in his
forehead. Captain Fleming, of Virginia, suffered a like fate, as well
as Captain Neal of the artillery. This sudden and serious reverse
required instant attention, for Washington could not afford to be
detained long in this position. Cadwallader's brigade, which had
followed Mercer's, was accordingly brought up into line, while
Washington attempted to rally the latter's force; but Mawhood was
making a surprising fight, and he threw Cadwallader's militiamen into
confusion as he had Mercer's. Matters now were worse, and the
commander-in-chief made strenuous exertions, at great personal hazard,
to bring the troops into some order. Meanwhile, he sent word for
Hitchcock's brigade to advance upon the enemy, while Hand's riflemen
endeavored to turn their left. The "gallant Hitchcock" promptly took
his command into action--all that remained of it, five regiments
together hardly five hundred strong--and formed in line. On the right
was Lieutenant-Colonel Nixon, next Varnum's battalion, under
Lieutenant-Colonel Crary, in the centre Colonel Lippett, with the
largest number, one hundred and twenty-eight men, next Hitchcock's,
under Major Angell, and on the left Little's battalion, under
Lieutenant-Colonel Henshaw.[225] They opened fire at one hundred
yards, and then, in conjunction with Cadwallader's men, whom
Washington had rallied in part, they rushed upon Mawhood's force,
recaptured the two guns we had lost, and joined in putting the enemy
completely to rout.

[Footnote 225: _Stiles' MS. Diary._ Statement of Rhode Island officers
engaged at Princeton.]

No doubt these old troops experienced a glow of satisfaction over this
brief and final work of the campaign, for they had endured hard
service from the outset. Here was Greene's old brigade, which crossed
with him to Long Island on the 1st of May--Varnum's, Hitchcock's,
Little's, and, by a happy accident, Hand's, on the left--to assist in
reversing the record of the year. These men had built the lines around
Brooklyn; Hitchcock's and Little's at the Flatbush Pass had been
caught and all but captured in the surprise of August 27th; they
fought manfully, and suffered the most at Harlem Heights; many of them
responded to Washington's appeal to remain six weeks beyond their term
of service, and now they had shared in the successful manoeuvre at
Princeton, which changed the whole aspect of affairs.

Hitchcock, who had temporarily succeeded Nixon in command of the
brigade, received the thanks of Washington for himself and for his men
in front of Princeton College for their aid and conduct in the action.
But the colonel, a brilliant, promising officer, whose regiment built
and guarded Fort Putnam in Brooklyn, was destined to only a brief
career henceforth. Overcome by the fatigue and hardships of the
campaign, he died in camp at Morristown, on the 13th of January, and
was buried by the Philadelphia and Delaware Light Infantry companies,
under Rodney, with all the honors of war. It was a fitting escort to
the remains of the brave soldier, for Rodney and most of his men had
behaved well at Princeton.

Sullivan's troops drove the other two British regiments out of
Princeton towards Brunswick, and Washington's tired army then pushed
on, and on the 6th went into camp at Morristown.[226]

[Footnote 226: In connection with the battles of Trenton and
Princeton, read the interesting letters from Knox, Haslet, Rodney, and
Hull in Part II. They have all appeared since our general accounts
were written.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The effect of these two unexpected strokes at Trenton and Princeton
was to baffle Howe, and utterly disconcert his plans. Expecting to
march upon Philadelphia at his leisure, he suddenly finds Washington
turning about and literally cutting his way through the British posts,
back to a point where he threatened Howe's flank and rear. The enemy
were at once compelled to retire from all their positions below
Brunswick, give up the thought of wintering in Philadelphia, and fall
back to the vicinity of New York. When Horace Walpole heard of these
movements, he wrote to Sir Horace Mann: "Washington has shown himself
both a Fabius and a Camillus. His march through our lines is allowed
to have been a prodigy of generalship. In one word, I look upon a
great part of America as lost to this country."[227]

[Footnote 227: In another letter Walpole says:

"It is now the fashion to cry up the manoeuvre of General Washington
in this action [Princeton] who has beaten two English regiments, too,
and obliged General Howe to contract his quarters--in short, the
campaign has by no means been wound up to content.... It has lost a
great deal of its florid complexion, and General Washington is allowed
by both sides not to be the worst General in the field."

Again, in a humorous vein:

"Caius Manlius Washingtonius Americanus, the dictator, has got
together a large army, larger than our ally, the Duke of Wirtemberg
was to have sold us; and General Howe, who has nothing but salt
provisions in our metropolis, New York, has not twenty thousand
pounds' worth of pickles, as he had at Boston."--_Walpole's Letters
and Correspondence. Cunningham._]

Here the campaign closed. Washington could not be dislodged from his
strong mountain position, and Howe was satisfied to rest his troops
and postpone further operations until the next season. Meantime the
country took heart, Congress voted troops and supplies, and the army
was recruited and organized on a better basis. "The business of war is
the result of Experience," wrote Wolcott from Congress, with faith
unshaken during the darkest hours of the campaign; and experience was
now put to good profit.

The crisis was passed. Events proved decisive. Hardship and anxiety
were yet to come during succeeding years of the war; but it was the
result of this year's struggle that cleared away misgivings and
confirmed the popular faith in final success. England could do no more
than she had done to conquer America; while America was now more ready
than ever to meet the issue. Independence was established in the
present campaign--in the year of its declaration; and more than to any
others we owe this political privilege to the men who fought from Long
Island to Princeton.


OBSTRUCTIONS IN THE HUDSON.--The following letter from Mr. Duer to the
Secret Committee of the New York Provincial Congress refers to the
defence of the Hudson at Fort Washington:

"WHITE PLAINS, Sunday 21st July, 1776.

"DEAR GENTL:--I have just arrived at this place from New York where I
have conversed with Genl. Washington on the Purport of the Letter from
the Secret Committee.

"Gens. Putnam and Mifflen have made an exact Survey of the River
opposite Mount Washington and find that the Depth in no Part exceeds
seven Fathoms; the Width, however, of the Channel (which is from three
to seven Fathoms) is not much less than 1800 Yards, the shallow Part
of the River running in an oblique Direction. Genl. Washington
expresses himself extremely anxious about the Obstruction of that
Channel, and Measures are daily used for executing that Purpose. It is
impossible to procure Vessels enough at New York, so that the Measure
must be delayed till such Time as more Vessels can be brought through
the Sound from Connecticut; however, I am not without Apprehensions
that this Resource will be cut off, as I understand that some of the
Enemy's Vessels have sailed out of the Hook with an Intention
(probably) of cutting off our Communication with the Sound.

"It is, however an Object of so much Importance that no Difficulties,
however great, ought to deter us from our Attempts to carry it into
Execution; _if we succeed, the Designs of the Enemy in this Campaign
are effectually baffled_--if we fail, we cannot be in a more
lamentable Situation than we are now.

"Exclusive of the great Advantage we should reap in obstructing the
Channel so far to the Southward, it is, I fear, the only Place we can
depend upon shallowing to the Southward of the Highlands, whilst the
Men-of-War are in the River, for if proper Batteries are erected near
the Water at Mount Washington, and on the opposite Side, mounted with
Guns of 18, 24 and 32 Pounders, it will not be practicable for any
Vessels to be so near as to prevent our working under the Cover of
these Works. I have strongly urged Genl. Washington to send Gen.
Mifflen some heavier Metal, and he seems half inclined. This necessary
operation has not yet taken place.

"The Genl. is anxious to have either of you (as Members of the Secret
Committee) to be with him in Town, and has authorized me to make the
Offer to you of his House during your Residence. Let me entreat One of
you immediately to come Down, and not to quit Genl. Washington till
such Time as this Measure on which our Safety depends is effected....

"I am very sincerely, yours, etc.,
  "WM. DUER.

"P.S.--For God's sake exert yourself to secure the Sea Vessels which
are in the River."[228]

[Footnote 228: From the Clinton papers as published in E.M.
Ruttenber's _Obstructions to the Navigation of Hudson's River, etc.
Munsell, Albany_.]

To hasten the completion of the obstructions General Putnam proposed
the following plan of sinking ships, as appears in a letter from him
to General Gates, dated July 26, 1776 (in Sparks'):

"We are preparing _Chevaux-de-Frize_, at which we make great Despatch
by the Help of Ships, which are to be Sunk; a Scheme of mine, which
you may be assured is very simple, a Plan of which I send you. The two
Ships' Sterns lie towards each other, about Seventy Feet apart. Three
large Logs, which reach from Ship to Ship, are fastened to them. The
two Ships and Logs stop the River two hundred and eighty Feet. The
Ships are to be sunk, and, when hauled down on one side, the Picks
will be raised to a proper Height, and they must inevitably stop the
River, if the Enemy will let us sink them."

On the 21st of September, the New York Convention resolved:

"That the Secret Committee for obstructing the Navigation of Hudson's
River be empowered and directed to purchase or impress for the Service
of the State any Number of Vessels not exceeding six, which they shall
think best calculated for the Purpose of completing the Obstructions
in the Hudson's River opposite to Mount Washington....

"That the said Committee be directed to send all the Oak Plank which
they may have in their Possession, to Mount Washington with the utmost

GOVERNOR'S ISLAND.--The obstructions in the East River between
Governor's Island and the Battery consisted of hulks sunk in the
Channel. This was not done until a few days before the battle on Long
Island. Colonel Douglas, as he states, sounded the river. The present
Buttermilk Channel, between the island and Brooklyn, was not
obstructed. Governor's Island was evacuated on the morning of the
retreat from Long Island, but the enemy failed to take possession for
two days. The interval was improved by the Americans in carrying off
all except the heavy pieces to New York in the night-time.

BATTLE OF LONG ISLAND.--The prisoners named in _Document_ 58 as having
been captured by us at the battle of Long Island were a small party of
marines, who mistook the Delaware regiment in Stirling's force for
Hessians. They came too near and were taken by Lieut. Wm. Popham, who
was ordered to march them into camp. He made them cross Gowanus Creek
on Stirling's retreat, and brought all but one in safe. Popham
afterwards became major and aid to General James Clinton, and settled
in New York, where he lived to be over ninety years old. Was a member
of the New York Cincinnati. During the battle the marines landed from
the fleet, which could not make its way up above Gowanus Bay, and,
according to one letter, Admiral Howe furnished Grant with ammunition
while fighting Stirling. The Roebuck alone, as already stated, could
work its way along far enough to send some harmless long-range shot at
the Red Hook fort.



[No. 1.]



[_Colonel Little's Order Book_]


[Footnote 229: These orders are from the Order Book kept by Colonel
Moses Little, of Greene's brigade, while encamped on Long Island
during the months of May, June, July, and August, 1776, the original
being in the possession of Benjamin Hale, Esq., of Newburyport, Mass.
They cover the whole period of active operations there after the
arrival of the main army at New York. The book also contains
Washington's general orders from headquarters, New York, General
Sullivan's orders while in command on Long Island, Colonel Little's
regimental orders, and scattering orders from Generals Lee, Spencer,
Greene, and Nixon, in September and October, 1776. As all Washington's
orders are to be found in Force's Archives, a few only are inserted
here to preserve the connection. They are distinguished as "General
Orders." Sullivan's and the others are given separately.]

HEAD QUARTERS, April 30, 1776.

(Parole, SAWBRIDGE.) (Countersign, OLIVER.)

... Genl Greene's Brigade is to encamp tomorrow at 10 A.M. on the
ground marked out on Long Island....


[NEW YORK] April 30, 1776.

The Qr. Mrs. of the 9th, 11th, 12th regts. are to apply
to the Q. M. Genl. for tents & camp utensils this evening to be in
readiness to encamp agreeably to general orders to morrow morning--at
4 o'clock this P.M. Col. Varnum & Col. Hitchcock & Col. Little are
desired to attend at the General's quarters to go over to Long Island
& view the encampment marked out. A sergt. & 20 men are to parade
at White Hall to morrow at 7 o'clock, to be under the direction of
Engineer Smith.

[LONG ISLAND] May 4th, 1776.

Captain Spurs is to draw out a party of carpenters to make Bell tents,
they are to apply to Col. Miflin for tools, boards & nails to make
them of. 300 men for fatigue to morrow. The Quarter Master is to make
an estimate of the necessary quantity of boards to floor the tents &
apply to the Quarter Master general for them. The Cols. or commanding
officers of each regiment is to give an order for the boards,
certifying the quantity wanted. A return is to be made of the state of
the cartridges now in possession of the troops & the number wanted to
make up each man's twenty rounds.


[_Col. Little's._]

Officers for fatigue to-morrow, Cap. Gerrish, Lt. Kent, & Lt.


May 5th, 1776.

A fatigue party of 200 men to morrow morning properly officered. No
non-commissioned Officer or Soldier is to pass the ferries to New York
without permission from some of ye Field Officers. Any of the
troops attempting to pass over without permission will be confined &
tried for disobedience of orders. Any of the fatigue parties that
leave their work without liberty, shall do constant fatigue duty for a
whole week. As the security of New York greatly dependeth on this
_pass_, when these works are constructing the General hopes the troops
will carefully forward the same as fast as possible.

The inhabitants having entered a complaint that their meadow ground
was injured by the troops going upon it to gather greens, they are for
the future strictly prohibited going on the ground of any inhabitants,
unless in the proper passes to & from the encampments & the forts,
without orders from some commissioned officer. The General desires the
troops not to sully their reputation by any undue liberty in speech
or conduct but behave themselves towards the inhabitants with that
decency & respect that becomes the character of troops fighting for
the preservation of the rights & liberties of America.

The General would have the troops consider that we came here to
protect the inhabitants & their property from the ravages of the
enemy, but if instead of support & protection, they meet with nothing
but insult & outrage, we shall be considered as banditti & treated as
oppressors & enemies.


HEAD QUARTERS May 7, 1776.

(Parole, DEVONSHIRE.) (Countersign, CAVENDISH.)

Every regiment encamped in the lines & every regt. in the brigade
on Long Island, exclusive of their quarter & rear guards, are to mount
a picket every evening at retreat beating at sun set, consisting of
one Capt. 2 Subs, 1 drum & 1 fife & 50 rank & file--they are to lay
upon their arms, & be ready to turn out at a moments notice.

One Col. one Lt. Col. & one major are to mount every evening at
sunset as Field Officers of the picket.

Immediately upon any alarm or order from the Brig. Genl. of the
day, the pickets are to form in the front of their respective
encampments, & there wait the orders of the Field Officer commanding
the pickets, who is instantly to obey the orders of the Brigr.
Genl. of the Day.

A Brig. Genl. is to mount every morning at ten o'clock who will
receive all reports, visit all the outguards in the day time & report
all extraordinary occurrences to the Commander in Chief & the
Brigde Major of the day is constantly to attend head quarters to
receive all orders, & distribute them immediately.

The Col. is to go the grand rounds, & the Lt. Col. & the major the
visiting rounds of the Camp.

Brig. Genl. Greene will order the same picket to be mounted by the
regiments in his brigade as are mounted in the grand Camp. He will
also direct one field officer to mount daily to command them. Gen.
Greene will report all extraordinaries to the Commander in Chief.

Col. Prescott or the officer commanding on Nutten's or Governor's
Island & the officer commanding at Red Hook, are to report all
extraordinaries to the Commander in Chief on any appearance of the
enemy. The commanding officer at Red Hook will also dispatch a
messenger to Genl. Greene.

The officer commanding the riflemen upon Long Island will constantly
report all extraordinaries to Genl. Greene, & the officer
commanding upon Staten Island will do the same to the Commander in


May 8, 1776.

Field officers for the picket, Major Angell, Adjt. for the day from
Col. Hitchcock's regiment.


Officers for picket tonight, Cap. Parker, Lt. Jenkins, Lt.
Burnham, Ensign Story. Officers for fatigue to-morrow, Cap. Dodge,
Lt. Jared Smith & Ensign Proctor.


LONG ISLAND, May 10th 1776.

The Brigde Major is to regulate the duty of the regiments, both
officers & soldiers, by their number & not by regiments, some being
much larger than others, & to establish a regular roster for the
regulation of the same. A subaltern & 11 men are to guard the stores &

The officer commanding the guard is to receive his orders from Deputy
Commissary Brown for the number of sentries necessary for securing the
stores, to be relieved daily.

The Cols. or commanding officers of the ninth, eleventh, twelfth
Regts are to draw as many cartridges from the laboratory as will
furnish each man 20 rounds; as many to be delivered out as the
cartridge boxes will contain, the remainder to be tied up by the
capt of companies, & every man's name written on his cartridges,
that they may be delivered without confusion: All the bad cartridges
now in the regiments are to be returned to the Laboratory. The
Brigde Major will send a party to the Qr Mr Genl to draw
tents for the establishment of the main guard, to consist of a
subaltern and 21 men. An orderly sergeant from each regiment will
attend at the general's quarters daily; they are to bring their
provisions with them.

The commanding officers of the 9th 11th & 12th Regts are
to make returns of the guns out of repair & the number wanted to
furnish every non commissioned officer & soldier with a gun.

May 10th 1776.

A subaltern & 30 men are to parade immediately to fetch over 300
spears from the Qr Mr Genl's store. The officer must pick
those that are fit for use. He is also to bring over a grindstone to
sharpen the spears on. Col. Hitchcock will send over the arms of his
regiment that are out of order, to Mr. John Hillyard, foreman of a
shop at the King's Works (so called) where they will be immediately
repaired. Any soldier that has his gun damaged by negligence or
carelessly injured, shall pay the cost of repairing, the caps &
subs are desired to report all such.

May 11th 1776.

Field officer for picket tomorrow night Lt. Col. Henshaw, Adjt from
Col. Hitchcock's regt.


             C.  S.  S.  C.  D.  F.  P.
Picket       1   2   2   2   1   1   50
Fatigue      1   2   2   2   1   1   80
Main Guard           1                8


Those non commissioned officers & soldiers who have occasion to go
over the ferry to New York will apply to Lt. Col. Henshaw for their

A regimental Court Martial will sit today at 12 o'clock at Capt
Wade's tent to try such prisoners as are contained in the Quarter
Guard of the regiment. Cap. Wade, Pres. Lt. Hodgkins, Lt. Parsons, Lt.
Knot & Ensn Pearson, members.


May 12th, 1776.

The 12th regiment exempt from fatigue tomorrow having to be

May 14, 1776.

Field officer for picket tomorrow night, Major Collins, adjt. for
the day from Col. Hitchcock's Regt.



The Col. desires hereby to remind the officers & soldiers of this
regiment of the Rules & Regulations of the army, & of the general
orders issued by the Commander in Chief agreable to them, especially
that the Rules & Regulations be often read to the men that no one
plead ignorance if he is called to account for the breach of any of

The Col. desires & orders that the officers pay particular attention
that the Rules & Regulations be read to the men agreable to the
resolves of Congress, likewise that the officers of each company, off
duty, attend morning & evening to the calling of the roll & if
possible that a report be made every day of such as be absent. The
Col. is sorry to see so much inattention, of the officers & men to the
duties of religious worship, & he desires as we are all engaged in the
cause of God & our country, & are dependent on the Divine assistance
for protection & success, & as it is a duty incumbent on all as far as
possible in a social way to wait upon God in the way of his
appointment, to implore pardon & forgiveness of all our sins, & to ask
his guidance & direction in the prosecution of our affairs, that
neither officers nor soldiers will unnecessarily absent themselves
from the stated worship of God at the house of Prayer--or on the
Sabbath day.

Commissioned officers for picket tonight Cap. Baker, Lt. Knot &
Ensign Woodman. Commissioned officers for fatigue tomorrow, Capt.
Parker, Lt. Silvanus Smith & Lt. Lamborn; for main guard Ensign


BROOKLIN May 16, 1776.

Col. Varnum's regiment to be off duty tomorrow morning in the
forenoon, to parade on the regimental parade at 8 oclock, to be
reviewed, & their arms examined. Every man in the regiment, that is
well, is to be on parade with arms & accoutrements. No soldier is to
borrow either arms or accoutrements from a soldier of either of the
other regiments, as the true state of the regiment with respect to
arms is wanted. Col. Hitchcock's regt. will be reviewed next day
after tomorrow. Col. Little's the day after that will be reviewed in
the same manner.

No soldier is to mount the picket guard without shoes.

May 16, 1776.

Tomorrow being the day appointed by the Continental Congress to be
observed as a day of fasting & prayer & his Excellency Genl.
Washington having ordered all duties to be discontinued except the
necessary guard until next day after tomorrow, there are no fatigue
parties to turn out tomorrow morning & the reviewing of Col. Varnum's
regiment is put off until next day after tomorrow, the other regiments
are to follow in order as in the morning orders. The general desires
that the troops of the 9, 11 & 12 regiments (except those on duty) may
be strict to attend the duties of the day in a devout & cleanly
manner. Field officers for picket tomorrow night--Adjt. from Col.
Varnum's regiment. Detail for Guard & fatigue as usual.


James Holland, a fifer in Cap. Dodge's Company is appointed fife major
to this regiment, & is to be obeyed as such.

Comd officers for picket tonight Lt. Atkinson & Lt. Fiske.


HEAD QUARTERS, 17 May 1776.

(Parole, NEW CASTLE.) (Countersign, WILMINGTON.)

Cap. Wolverton's Company of New Jersey is to join General Greene's
Brigade. The Cap. is to take his orders from the General respecting
his post....


May 17, 1776.

A corporal & 6 men to be sent for a guard to fort Sterling to mount at
9 O'clock. This guard is to be sent every other day. The corporal to
receive his orders from Lt. Randall of the train.

Field officer for picket tomorrow night Lt. Col. Henshaw, Adjt.
from Col. Varnum's regiment. Fatigue as usual.

May 19, 1776.

Field officer for picket tomorrow night Major Collins, Adjt. from
Col. Varnum's regiment. Detail as yesterday.

May 20, 1776.

Field officer for picket, Major Angell, Adjt. from Col. Hitchcock's

May 21, 1776.

Field officer for picket tomorrow night, Lt. Col. Crary, Adjt.
from Col. Little's regiment.

May 23, 1776.

Field officer for picket to morrow night, Lt. Col. Henshaw,
adjutant from Col. Hitchcock's regiment.


HEAD QUARTERS, May 25, 1776.

(Parole, MUGFORD.) (Countersign, LEONARD.)

A working party consisting of nine hundred men to be ordered tomorrow
morning from the different brigades, & the regiments.

Genl. Heath's.   { Colos. Leonard's & Bailey's }
                 { Colos. Read's & Baldwin's   } To go to Powles Hook.

                 { Colos. Parson's & Wylly's--To go to Bayard's
Genl. Spencer's. { Hill. Colos. Huntington's to Red Hook. Arnold's
                 { to Fort Sterling. Col. Ward's--50 men with 4
                 { days provisions to cut pickets.... The remainder
                 { of this regiment's working party--at Fort George.

Lord Stirlings.  { Nixon's & Webb's         } On Governor's Island
                 { McDougall's & Ritzema's. } every day till further


May 25, 1776.

Cap. Silas Talbut of Col. Hitchcock's regiment, Capn. Frazier of
Capn. (Col.) Wayne's regiment, Lt. Noel Allen of Col. Varnum's
regiment & [Lt.] Samuel Huse of Col. Little's regiment are a
Committee to inspect the provisions for the troops of this brigade.
The commissaries & quartermasters are to apply to them to determine,
which is merchantable and which is not. Such as they say are good the
quarter masters are to receive and such as they condemn are to be

No non commissioned officer or soldier is to be out of camp after
retreat beating, & any that are discovered going out after that time
are to be taken up & confined in the main guard, & any that are coming
in, that have been out without leave from their officers are to be
confined; any sentry that permits them to pass without examination
will be punished for disobedience of orders.

Lt. Col. Cornell having reported great negligence among the guards,
for the future they will be visited by day & night, by the field
officer of the day. Every commissioned & non-commissioned officer that
commands guards is to be reported, that has not his guard in good
order. No soldier is to be absent from the guard without leave, & not
more than 2 commissioned officers nor more than one non commissioned
officer at a time. All guards except the picket are to mount at ----
o'Clock in the morning. The retreat is to beat half an hour after
sunset. At guard mounting in the morning, the field officer of the day
is to attend the parade & give to each respective officer a proper
detail of his guard.

One man from each detached guard is to be sent to the grand parade to
pilot the new guard to the relief of the old ones.

No person is to be admitted to any of the forts where there are cannon
or ammunition except a General officer by day, without the leave of
the officer commanding the guard, & a general officer after dark is
not to be admitted without leave first obtained of the commanding

The officer commanding guards where there are cannon or ammunition, is
to be very watchful & not to suffer by day or night any person to
enter the forts unless they have business there, or are known to
belong to the army, or are with some officer belonging to the army.

Adjt. from Col. Varnum's.


HEAD QUARTERS, May 26, 1776.

(Parole, HANCOCK.) (Countersign, TRUMBULL.)

... The working party of Col. Nixon's regiment are to be ordered every
day to Long Island, instead of Governor's Island as mentioned in
yesterday's orders....


May 26, 1776.

Field officer for picket tomorrow night, Major Collins, Adjt. from
Col. Hitchcock's regiment.

May 29, 1776.

A garrison court martial to sit for the trial of prisoners now in the
main Guard.

The commanding officer of the Ferry Guard is to permit the Ferry boats
to pass until ten O'clock with common passengers, but no soldier is to
pass after retreat beating, unless the Col. or commanding officer of
the regiment, to which he belongs, certify the necessity. The troops
are to be under arms at roll calling, morning & evening. Every soldier
detected snapping his lock without orders from his officer, is to be
immediately sent prisoner to the main guard, there to be confined two
days & nights, & allowed nothing to eat or drink but bread & water.

All officers are desired to be more careful of discovering the
countersign to persons that have no right to know it.

Any soldier on guard that discovers the countersign to any of his
fellow soldiers, that are not on guard, is to be immediately confined.
Every one that gives the countersign, is to give it as softly as
possible so that if any person is listening, he may not hear it.

The sentries are not to suffer any person to stand near them, while
they are on their posts after retreat beating.

The General wishes that every part of camp duty may be done with as
much exactness, as if the enemy was encamped in the neighborhood, for
bad habits once contracted are difficult to get over, & doing duty in
a slovenly manner, is both disgraceful & dangerous to officers & men.

Field officer for picket tomorrow night, Major Smith, Adjt. from
Col. Hitchcock's regiment.

         C.  S.  S.  C.  D.  F.  P.
Fatigue  1   2   1   3   1   1   80
Guard            1   1   0   0   20
Picket   1   2   2   2   1   1   49


AFTER ORDERS, May 31, 1776.

Gen. Washington has written to Genl. Putnam[230] desiring him, in
the most pressing form, to give positive orders to all the Cols. to
have colors immediately completed for their respective regiments.

[Footnote 230: General Washington was absent at Philadelphia from May
21st to June 6th, leaving General Putnam in command at New York.]


June 1st, 1776.

A sergeant & 20 men to parade immediately to clear out Mr.
Livingston's Dock filled up by the Picket pealings. No pealings to be
thrown into the dock for the future.

Six o'clock this evening the troops to be all under arms to man the

Five Cos. of Col. Varnum's Regiment upon the right in fort Box. The
other three upon the right of fort Green.

Col. Hitchcock's regt. to man fort Putnam & the redoubt upon the
left of it. 5 Cos. in the first & 3 in the Last.

Five Cos. of Col. Little's regiment in Fort Green & 3 in the oblong

The independent Co. to be reserved in the rear of fort Green.

June 3d, 1776.

150 men & officers wanted from Cols Varnum's Hitchcock's & Little's
regts with arms blankets & 2 days provisions cooked & 1/2 a pint of
rum a man. To be ready to march at 3 o'clock to morrow morning every
man to take his blanket & none to go but such as are decently

CAMP LONG ISLAND, June 7, 1776.

Cols. of 9, 11, & 12 regiments to have all the arms in their
regiments that need repairing sent to the armorers.

The pikes to be placed in the works in the following order--100 in
fort Green, 30 in the works on the right of it, 20 in the oblong
redoubt, 50 in fort Putnam & 20 in the works on the left of it. Every
regt. to clean the spears once a week at their alarm Post.

The officers at the Ferry guard to stop all arms coming over the Ferry
to the island, & report immediately to the Genl. who has them &
where they say they are going. 2 sentries to be posted at the church
to stop all arms going eastward from the city, the names and place of
abode of any person stopped with arms to be taken & reported

June 9th 1776.

Field officer for picket, Lt. Col. Henshaw.

The 9, 11, 12 Regts to parade tomorrow morning at 6 o'clock on the
right of the encampment, every officer & soldier not on duty or unwell
to join their respective regiments.

The Fatigue party not to turn out till after ye regiments are

The officers of the 9th, 11th, 12th are desired to exercise
together by regts 4 days, & the whole of the officers of the three
regiments to exercise together once a week to be exercised by the Col.
of the Regt. in turn or by some person appointed by the Col. whose
turn it is. The Cols. of the 9, 11, 12, Regts are desired to
make returns of the state of the arms &c, agreably to yesterdays order


HEAD QUARTERS June 10, 1776.

(Parole, BEDFORD.) (Countersign, CUMBERLAND.)

The Brig. Gens. are requested to make their different Brigades
perfectly acquainted with their several alarm posts & to pay
particular attention to the men's arms....


June 12, 1776.

A garrison court martial to sit to-day....

The Col. or Commg: officers of the 9, 11, 12 Regts to certify
to the Deputy Commissary from day to day the necessary supplies for
the sick. The Surgeons to report every day the state and wants of the
sick. Centries posted at Hospitals & armory not to demand the
countersign of passengers unless they attempt to enter those places.

June 13, 1776.

The Camp Cullimen (?) of the 9. 11. 12 regts. to keep the streets
clean, remove the filth, cover the vaults every day & dig new ones
once a week; they must attend the Hospitals, & give directions for
having them kept in good clean order. Cols. are requested to appoint
nurses. No soldier to purchase clothing of another without leave, many
soldiers stealing and selling clothing.

June 14, 1776.

The 5 Cos. of Col. Waynes regt. on Long Island are to be
mustered to-morrow afternoon. A subaltern sergeant & 20 men to be
detached from the picket guard every evening to mount guard at Red
Hook Barbette battery to rejoin the picket in the morning.

IN CAMP LONG ISLAND, June 17, 1776.

The rank of the Captains in Col. Little's regt. being unsettled, a
Court to day is to establish their rank. The members to be from Col.
Varnum's & Hitchcock's Regts.

Col. Varnum's Regt. is to take fort Box & the Oblong redoubt for
their alarm posts, fort Box 6 cos., oblong redoubt 2 cos. Cap.
Woolverton's Independent Co. to join those in the redoubt, & to
receive orders from Col. Varnum.

Col. Hitchcock's Regt. to take fort Putnam & the fort or redoubt on
the left of it for their alarm posts.

Col. Little's Regt. to take fort Greene for their alarm post.

In case of an attack all these posts are to be defended to the last

The lines to be manned every morning between day & sunrise & the
troops to be exercised at parapet firing.

CAMP LONG ISLAND June 18, 1776.

The picket to be discontinued till further orders, except guard at Red

300 men with their officers to parade at 8 O'clock tomorrow morning to
receive orders from Engineer Smith.


HEAD QUARTERS June 19, 1776.

(Parole, LONDON.) (Countersign, MONTGOMERY.)

A working party of 900 men properly officered to parade tomorrow
morning near the artillery park.... Brig. Gen. Greene & Col. Prescott
will furnish 150 men each as a working party on Governor's Island. On
the present emergency all working parties to work till 6 o'clock P.M.
Those who go by water will leave work sooner if wind & tide make it


June 20, 1776.

Field officer, Lt. Col. Cornell, Adjt. from Col. Little's

Col. Hitchcock's & Col. Little's regts. to furnish the fatigue
party to Governor's Island tomorrow. The remainder furnished by those
regts. to be upon the "Abatee" between fort Putnam & the redoubt on
the left of it, & the Cap. from fort Putnam to the half moon. Lt.
Col. Johnson's 5 Cos. of the 4th battalion of Pennsylvania
Regt. (Wayne's) to furnish the fatigue party for Cobble Hill. Col.
Varnum's Regt. to be employed on his alarm post. The Gen.
disapproves of the report for the establishment of the rank of the
12th regt. & directs the same court to sit again day after
tomorrow to examine the rank of the Caps. & to report how the court
conceives they ought to rank, & how it may be most equitably


June 21, 1776.

For guard Lt. Burnham, for Red Hook tomorrow night Lt. Collins.


June 21, 1776.

Lt. Huse is requested to oversee the well-digging in fort Greene.
110 men for Governor's Island & 40 for Red Hook. Those that are to go
on the Island to be at St. George's Ferry by 8 o'clock. The others
to march to Red Hook as soon as they have had their breakfasts.

June 28, 1776.

Picket guard to mount from the 9, 11, 12, Regts. The 9 & 11
Regts to lie in their alarm posts--the 12th to lie in the oblong



... The Commissary Gen. to lodge a fortnights provision on Governor's
Island, Powles Hook & in all ye detached posts, Gen. Putnam
furnishing him a list of the men.

All soldiers intrusted with the defence of any work will behave with
coolness & bravery, & will be careful not to throw away their fire.
The Gen. recommends them to load for their first fire with one musket
ball & 4 or 8 buckshot according to the size and strength of their
pieces. If the enemy are received with such a fire at not more than 20
or 30 yards distance, he has no doubt of their being repulsed.

Brig. Genls. to order Chevaux de Freze & Fascines to close the
sally ports of their respective works. 26000 musket cartridges to be
sent Col. Prescott on Govr. Isld.


... Upon the signal of the enemy's approach or on any alarm all
fatigue parties are to repair to their respective corps ready for
instant action. Working parties are not otherwise to be interrupted in
finishing the defences....


IN CAMP LONG ISLAND, July 1, 1776.

Cols. or commd. officers of 9th, 11th, 12th, Regts.
are desired to make a line round each of the forts & fortifications
for the troops to begin a fire on the enemy if they attempt to storm
the works & the troops are to be told not to fire sooner than the
enemy's arrival at these lines, unless commanded. The line should be
about 80 yards from the parapet.

Comg. officers of the guards at Forts Green & Putnam to send a
patrolling party to patrol about the 1/4 of a mile to prevent a
surprise by a partisan party.

The general thanks both officers & soldiers who turned out voluntarily
to work upon the Little Cobble hill; such public spirit is laudable &
shall not go unrewarded, if the genl. ever has it in his power to
make a more suitable acknowledgement.

No officer below the rank of a field officer to lodge out of camp from
their Cos. on any pretence, sickness excepted. The General
recommends the strictest discipline & daily attention to arms &
ammunition. Brigade being sickly the Gen. recommends the strictest
attention to the cookery & that broiling & frying meat so destructive
to health be prohibited.

A picket of one hundred to go to Red Hook to night by order of a
private message from his Excellency.

TUESDAY July 2d, 1776.

A picket of 50 men in fort Putnam, 25 in fort Box, a sergt. & 12 men
at the milldam from the 9th, 11th, 12th Regts. A picket of 20 men at
fort Sterling & 25 at Smith's redoubt on Cobble Hill. Upon an alarm
Col. Ward's regt. of Jersey militia to form in the rear of Fort Green,
the sentries to be placed at the front of the redoubts. Major of
Brigade to see to them. Patrols to be kept up from fort Putnam every

July 4, 1776.

Officers of the guards at ye different posts to be accountable for
everything in the forts but particularly for the rum lodged there for
the people in time of action. Any one destroying the tools or taking
the liquor without leave will be punished.

Every Regt. to furnish pickets for their alarm posts & to be
credited therefor in the detail for duty. The 9th, 11th,
12th, Regts. & the N.J. battalions under Col. Cadmus & Col. Ward
to furnish a fatigue party of 250 men tomorrow morning. Garrison Court
martial to sit tomorrow, Col. Little president. Caps. earnestly
requested to examine the arms and ammunition of their Cos. & have
them ready for action at all times.

CAMP AT BROOKLIN, July 6, 1776.

The Ferry guard upon a night alarm are to repair to fort Sterling. The
ground to be levelled from which Col. Hitchcock's Regt. moved. 233
men for picket from Col. Varnum's, Hitchcock's & Little's Regts. 66
men from the same for guard.

July 8, 1776.

Col. Varnum's Regt. to remove their encampment to Red Hook, & do
the duty of that post. Col. Forman's N.J. regt. to camp on the
ground lately occupied by Col. Hitchcock's regt.

July 8, 1776.

Col. Forman's Regt. to occupy Col. Varnum's old alarm posts,
namely, Fort Box and the Oblong redoubt. Brigade Major to lead the
troops to the alarm Post at 7 A.M. The guard for the several works to
be continued the same as before from the 11th & 12th of the old
establishment & the Jersey new levies, that the new levies may have
the benefit of the knowledge of the standing troops.


HEAD QUARTERS, July 9, 1776.

... The Continental Congress impelled by the dictates of duty, policy
and necessity have been pleased to dissolve the connection which
subsisted between this country & Gt. Britain, & to declare the
colonies of North America, Free & Independent States--the several
Brigades are to be drawn up this evening on their respective parades
at 6 o'clock when the declaration of Congress, showing the grounds and
reasons of the measure is to be read with an audible voice. The Gen.
hopes that this important _Point_ will serve as a fresh incitement to
every officer & soldier to act with courage & fidelity, as knowing
that now the Peace & safety of this country depend (under God) solely
on the success of our arms, & that he is now in the service of a state
possessed of sufficient power to reward his merit & advance him to the
highest honor of a free country.

The Brigade Majors are to receive copies of the declaration to be
delivered to the Brigrs. & Cols.


July 9, 1776.

Adjt. for the day to carry the Parole & countersign to the guards
at Red Hook, Smith's Barbette, Fort Box, Fort Green & forts Putnam &
Sterling, & the ferry guard.

A fatigue tomorrow of 100 men for Smith's Barbette.

July 10, 1776.

Deputy Commissary, Mr. Brown, to issue provisions 3 times a week, Tu.
Th. & Saturdays.

Putrid fevers prevailing among the troops, the troops are forbid going
into the water only in the mornings and evenings, being dangerous in
the heat of the day.

A fatigue party of 150 to be furnished from the 11th & 12th &
Col. Forman's Regt. for Smith's Barbette to be continued till it is

July 11, 1776.

Fatigue parties to be turned out to be at work on the Hill by five in
the morning.

CAMP LONG ISLAND, July 16, 1776.

Prisoners sent to the main Guard by the Field officer of the day with
or without arms, unless sooner released by him or the Gen. are only to
be kept till the mounting of the new guard, unless a crime be
delivered to the Cap. of the guard in writing against (the prisoners)
by the person that committed them, with his name to it.

Lt. Col. Cornell & Cap. Warner are appointed to oversee the works
at Smith's Barbette & complete them. They are to be excused from all
other duty. Fatigue parties for the future are to work as long as the
Cols. think advisable every cool day. The general wishes the troops
to be as industrious as possible, lest the enemy attack (the works)
before they are done.

A subaltern's Guard to mount at Rapalyea's mill upon the point every
night, to continue till sunrise.


HEAD QUARTERS, July 18 1776.

2 guns from fort Cobble Hill on Long Island to be a signal that the
enemy have landed on that Island.


July 18, 1776.

Field officer of the day tomorrow, Lt. Col. Henderson, Adjt.
from Col. Little's....

Patrolling parties to be sent out every hour to advance as silently as
possible & to stop & listen every few rods, to discover spies lurking
around the works.

CAMP ON LONG ISLAND, July 19 1776.

The works on Cobble Hill being greatly retarded for want of men to lay
turf, few being acquainted with that service, all those in Col.
Hitchcock's & Col. Little's Regts. that understand that business,
are desired to voluntarily turn out every day, & they shall be excused
from all other duty, & allowed 1/2 a pint of rum a day.

Half the fatigue party to work tomorrow at fort Sterling in widening
the ditch. Lt. Col. Cornell will detach the party & give the
necessary instructions. Cap. Newell of the Train to mount an artillery
guard on Smith's Barbette, on Cobble Hill, of a Sergeant & 6 men.

F. Officer of the day tomorrow Major Parker, Adjt. from Col.
Forman's Regt. (New Jersey).

July 22, 1776.

F. Offr. tomorrow, Col. Forman, Adjt. from his regt.

The Cols. or Cg. Offrs. of the 1st, 9th, 11th,
12th Regiments are requested to send in a return of vacancies, with
a list of names to fill them, by tomorrow at 9 A.M. The 11th,
12th & Col. Forman's Regts. are to parade on the regimental
parade tomorrow A.M. instead of going to their alarm posts. Comg.
off. of each regt. will receive orders on the spot when & where to

The duties being exceedingly heavy on the men, the Genl. thinks
proper to lessen the fatigue party 1/2 & reduce the guard in forts
Green & Putnam 1/3, & a Serjt. & 12 men to mount in fort Box,
instead of the present guard.

July 24, 1776.

A fatigue party of 40 men & 1 sub. to cut fascines to parade this P.M.
4 days provisions to be provided. Passengers going into the city not
to be stopped at the ferry unless there is reason to suspect them. No
one to come out without a proper pass. Fatigue for home duty to be
lessened as much as the number detached.

IN CAMP LONG ISLAND, July 28, 1776.

The success of the campaign must depend on the health of the troops;
nothing should be neglected that contributes to it. Good Policy as
well as humanity claims the attention of every officer to this object;
our honor as well as our success depends on it.

The good officer discharges his duty not only in one but in every
respect. It is a mistaken notion that the minutiæ of military matters
is only an employment for little minds. Such an officer betrays a want
of understanding and showeth a person ignorant of the necessary
dependence and connection of one thing upon another. What signifies
knowledge without power to execute? He who studies the Branches of
military knowledge relating to Dispositions, & neglects to preserve
the health of his troops will find himself in that disagreeable

The general is pained to discover inattention to the digging and
filling vaults for the regts. & to the burial of filth and putrid
matter. The general directs camp Columen(?) of the several regts.
to dig new vaults, and fill up old ones every 3 days, & that fresh
dirt be thrown in every day to the vaults, & that all filth in and
about the camp be daily buried. The sickly season coming on, & Putrid
fevers prevailing, the Gen. recommends a free use of vegetables &
desires the men may keep themselves & clothes clean, & cook their
provisions properly; & little injury is to be dreaded. A neglect of
these matters at this critical season may be attended with dreadful

Complaints are made of the troops stealing water mellons. Such
practices must be punished. A few unprincipled rascals may ruin the
reputation of a whole corps of virtuous men. The General desires the
virtuous to complain of every offender that may be detected in
invading people's property in an unlawful manner, whatever his station
or from whatever part of the country he may come.

Aug. 1, 1776.

All the straw bunks & ---- in ye different regts. occupied by
the well to be collected for the sick of Col. Forman's regt. A
sergeant & 8 men to be employed cutting wood for a coal pit for the
armorers shop--apply to master armorers for orders.

IN CAMP LONG ISLAND, Aug. 4, 1776.

4 Cos. of Col. Gay's regt. to take fort Sterling for their alarm
post & 4--Cobble Hill.

The countersign having spread too generally in the camp, & amongst
many that don't belong to the army, the Genl. orders every person
to be punished who is base enough to discover it to those who have no
right to it.

No person allowed to pass after 10 o'clock with or without the
countersign within the limits of the camp or circle of the sentries,
except Genl. & Field Officers, Brigade Majors & expresses. This
order extends to inhabitants as well as the army.

A fatigue party from Col. Little's, Col. Forman's & Col. Gay's
regts. of 200 men, properly officered, to work at Fort Sterling
tomorrow. Col. Gay or the comg. officer of his regt. is directed
to lead his troops into their alarm posts at 5 o'clock this afternoon.
Officers are directed to acquaint themselves with the ground for miles
about their camps.

MORNING ORDERS, Aug. 6, 1776.

Commanding Officers of fortifications are requested to pay particular
attention to ye provisions lodged at each alarm post for the
support of the troops in case of seige, and also that ye water
casks & cisterns are filled & when the water is bad to have it pumped
out & fresh water put in.

Aug. 6, 1776.

By a deserter from Sir Peter Parker's fleet we learn that the
Hessians, from England, & Clinton's troops from S. Carolina are
arrived & that the enemy meditate an attack on this Island & the city
of New York. The Genl. wishes to have the troops provided with
every thing necessary to give them a proper reception. Caps. are
directed to examine the arms of their cos. immediately.

Aug. 8, 1776.

A sub. & 20 men to parade immediately to march to Jamaica. Let the men
be decently dressed, & the officers keep them from offering insolence
or abuse to any person. They are to escort & assist Lt. Skinner &
wait there for his directions.

Aug. 9, 1776.

A report from Col. Hand mentions a large number of regulars drawn up
at Staten Island Ferry, & boats to embark in. No officer or soldier to
stir from his quarters that we may be ready to march at a moment's
warning if necessary.

Aug. 16, 1776.

Col. Smith (L.I. militia) to appt an Adjt., Q.M. & Serjt Maj.
& Q. Mr. Serjt to his regt., & to have the troops in his
regt not on duty exercised daily in learning the necessary
manoeuvres and evolutions.

Genls. Nixon and Heard are to furnish a fatigue party from their
brigades and to form the necessary lines from fort Box to fort Putnam.
The gin shops and houses selling liquor, strictly forbidden to sell to
soldiers, excepting near the two ferries.

The inhabitants of houses near the lines are immediately to move out
of them, and they are to be appropriated to the use of the troops. The
General is determined to have any soldiers punished that may be found
disguised with liquor, as no soldier in such a situation can be fit
for defense or attack.

The General orders that no sutler in the army shall sell to any
soldier more than 1 gill of spirits per day. If the above orders are
not adhered to, there shall no more be retailed out at all.

The Colonels of regts. lately come in are immediately to make
returns to the Genl. of their number of men & where they are
quartered. Col. Hitchcock's and Smith's Regts are to do duty in
Genl. Nixon's brigade--Cols. Van Brunt's and Gay's Regts. to
do duty in Genl. Heard's brigade. Capts in the brigades are to
be particularly careful that the Rolls are called 3 times a day & that
the troops do not stray from quarters.


HEAD QUARTERS, Aug. 20, 1776.

... General Sullivan is to take command on Long Island till Gen.
Greene's state of health will permit him to resume it. Brig. Ld
Sterling is to take charge of Genl Sullivan's division.

[No. 2.]



[_Colonel Little's Order Book_]

[LONG ISLAND,] August 20, 1776.

Field Offr of the Day tomorrow, Col. Phipps, (?) Adjt from Col.
Little's regt.

August 21st, 1776.

Five hundred men to be on fatigue to-morrow to be on the works by 8
o'clock, to leave at 12, & begin at 2 o'clock, & work till half past
6. Nothing can be more disagreeable to the Genl. than to call upon
the men to be so constantly on fatigue, but their own salvation, and
the safety of the country requires it. He hopes that in 2 or 3 days
more the encampment will be so secure that he can release the men from
fatigue and give them an opportunity to rest from their labors.
Adjt. of the day to attend at the Genls. quarters every morning
at 8, and an orderly from each brigade daily. Four men are to be
drafted to row the Genls boat and do no other duty. The Brigade
majors, upon receiving orders from Head Quarters are to call at Gen.
Sullivan's quarters for his orders, or send adjts to take them off.

Col. Johnson's and Newcomb's regts are to consider the woods on the
west side of the creek as their alarm post, and repair there in case
of an alarm. Gen. Nixon will show the ground this evening at 6 o'clock
to the commg officers of the Regts.

Aug. 23, 1776.

The men not to turn out to their alarm posts this afternoon, (but) to
get 2 days' provisions ready, & to be at their alarm posts to-morrow
morning by 3 o'clock in order for action.

Cols. Miles & Ransom's (Remsen's of L.I.) regts. to take
possession of the Bedford road this night--Col. Ransom's regt. to
march at 5 o'clock. Col. Miles' regt. is on the spot. Cols.
Little's & Hitchcock's Regts to possess the Flatbush road &
Cols. Johnson's & Martin's to take possession of the road near the
river. All these regts. to be at their posts by 6 o'clock. Upon
their arrival the troops now there are to retire to their encampments
& get 2 days provisions dressed, & be ready for action. The Gen. will
never make a 3rd. requisition to the majors of brigade, to attend for

LONG ISLAND Aug. 24 1776.

A return to be made to the Gen. this afternoon at 5 o'clock of all
ye Light Horse & companies of troop within the lines. The adjt.
of Col. Little's regiment is to attend at Genls. quarters at 7
o'clock A.M. to-morrow.

The Genl. returns his thanks to the brave officers & soldiers who
with so much spirit & intrepidity repulsed the enemy & defeated their
designs of taking possession of the woods near our lines. He is now
convinced that the troops he has the honor to command, will not, in
point of bravery, yield to any troops in the universe. The
cheerfulness with which they do their duty, & the patience with which
they undergo fatigue evince exalted sentiments of freedom, & love of
country gives him most satisfactory evidence that when called upon
they will prove themselves worthy of that freedom for which they are
now contending.

Col. Ramsons (Remsen's) Regt. to mount no guard except quarter
guard of 12, but be considered a fatigue party, to which they are to
attend from day to day. The Genl. is sorry to find that Regt.
flying from their posts, when timid women would have blushed to have
betrayed any signs of fear at any thing this regt. discovered at
the time of their flight.

Officers are requested to see that their men always keep at least 2
days provisions, ready dressed by them. The Commissary is to deal out
one gill of rum per man each day on this Island until further orders.
Soldiers are not to be out of their encampment but upon urgent
business. Gen. Nixon to take command of the lines next the enemy until
further orders, to post his men in the edge of the woods next the
enemy. Brigde Majors to attend punctually at the Genl's.
quarters at 10 A.M.

LONG ISLAND Aug. 25 1776.

The following arrangement to take place on Long Island until further
orders--Viz: Col. Mile's 2 battalions, Col. Atlee's, Col. Lutzs, Major
Hayes, Col. Lashers and Drake's to be formed into one brigade under
the command of Gen. Ld. Stirling. Col. Hand's, Prescott's, (Late)
Nixon's, Varnum's, Hitchcock's, Little's, Smith's, & Ramson's to be
under Gen. Nixon. Wylly's, Huntington's, Taylor's, (Tyler's)
Silliman's, Chester's, & Gay's under Gen. Parsons; Johnson's,
Courtlandt's, Martins, Newcombs & Freeman's (Forman's), under the
command of Brig. Gen Hurd.

The General orders that the Brigrs. attend at Head Quarters at 8
A.M. to-morrow for directions. Brigde Major Box is appointed to act
as Adjt. Genl. for this department until further orders.

A Brigr. Genl. of the Day to attend the Grand Parade at Guard
mounting at 10 A.M., every day afterwards at 8, whose duty it shall be
to see that the guards are regularly made up, & properly posted & duly
relieved. No firing at the outposts _to be allowed_ on any pretense,
except by permission of the Comg Gen. of the day, & none within the
lines except by permission. This order not to extend to sentries on

Brigr. for the day Gen. Ld. Stirling.

The Gen. is surprised to find the soldiers strolling about,
notwithstanding repeated orders, miles distant from the lines, at a
time when the enemy are hourly expected to make an attack. The
officers are enjoined to cause the arrest of any soldier who shall be
found strolling without the lines unless they can show a written
permit from their Cap. or Comg. officer of the regt. or company.
All the officers and soldiers are to keep within their quarters,
unless ordered on duty.

All troops in this department are desired to wear a green bough or
branch of a tree in their hats, till further orders.

Col. Ward's Regt. to be added to Gen. Parson's brigade. All the troops

[Footnote 231: The order breaks off at this point in Colonel Little's
book, but it is fortunately preserved entire in an orderly book kept
by Captain John Douglass, of Philadelphia. (Hist. Mag., vol. ii., p.
354.) The following order from General Lord Stirling also appears in
Captain Douglass's book:

[LONG ISLAND] August 25th 1776.

"The Adjutants of each Corps of this Brigade are to attend Brigade
Major Livingston at Gen. Sullivan's Quarters every morning at 9
o'clock to receive the orders of the day. The Weekly Returns are to be
brought in this day. Such regiments as have tents are to encamp within
the lines as soon as possible."]

All other troops not mentioned and those which may be sent here
without a General Officer to command them are to be considered as a
part of Lord Stirling's Brigade till further orders.

A return of the several Brigades to be made immediately. Eight hundred
(men) properly officered to relieve the troops on Bedford Road
to-morrow morning, six field officers to attend with this party. The
same number to relieve those on Bush (Flatbush) Road, and an equal
number those stationed towards the Narrows. A picket of three hundred
men under the command of a Field Officer, six Captains, twelve
Subalterns to be posted at the wood on the west side of the Creek
every night till further orders.

It is a very scandalous practice unbecoming soldiers whose duty it is
to defend the liberty and property of the Inhabitants of the country
to make free with and rob them of that property; it is therefore
ordered that no person belonging to this army do presume on any
pretense whatever to take or make use of any Corn, Poultry or
Provision, or anything else without the consent of the owners nor
without paying the common price for them; any breach of this order
will be severely punished. The Commanding Officer of each Regiment and
Company is to see this order communicated to their respective corps
and to see it carried into execution....

Brigadier Lord Stirling to command the front of our lines next
Hudson's River and to command the reserve within the lines, and when
either of the other Brigade Generals have the command of the Advance
Lines Lord Stirling is to have command of his post in his absence.
Each Brigadier General to assign the Alarm Posts to the several
Regiments under their command.

[No. 3.]



Parole, SULLIVAN,   }
Countersign, GREEN. }

As the sick are an encumbrance to the Army, & Troops are expected this
afternoon from the flying camp in Jersey, under Genl Mercer, who is
himself arrived & room & cover is wanted for the troops, the
commanding Officers of Regt's are immediately to have such sick
removed. They are to take their Arms & Accoutrements & be conducted by
an Officer to the Genl Hospital, as a rendezvous & then to cross
to-gether under the directions of the Person appointed there, taking
general Directions from Dr Morgan. As the above Forces under Genl
Mercer are expected this afternoon, the General proposes to relieve a
proportionate Number of Regiments & make a change in the situation of

The Commanding Officers of Regiments are therefore to parade their men
with their Arms, Accoutrements, and Knapsacks, at 7 oClock, at the
Head of their Encampments & there wait for Orders.[232]

     [From MS. Order Book of Col. Wm. Douglas.]

[Footnote 232: The series of Washington's general orders in Force's
Archives does not contain this order of August 29th, which throws
light on the preparations made for the retreat. It is found, abridged,
in both Col. Little's and Capt. Douglass's order books; in Col.
Douglas's book it appears in the above form. Original in the
possession of Benjamin Douglas, Esq., Middletown, Conn.]

HEAD-QUARTERS, NEW YORK, August 31, 1776.

(Parole, HARLEM.) (Countersign, FLUSHING.)

... Both officers and soldiers are informed that the retreat from
_Long-Island_ was made by the unanimous advice of all the General
Officers, not from any doubts of the spirit of the troops, but because
they found the troops very much fatigued with hard duty, and divided
into many detachments, while the enemy had their main body on the
Island, and capable of receiving assistance from the shipping. In
these circumstances it was thought unsafe to transport the whole of an
Army on an Island, or to engage them with a part, and therefore
unequal numbers; whereas now our whole Army is collected together,
without water intervening, while the enemy can receive little
assistance from their ships. Their Army is, and must be, divided into
many bodies, and fatigued with keeping up a communication with their
ships; whereas ours is connected and can act together. They must
effect a landing under so many disadvantages, that if officers and
soldiers are vigilant, and alert to prevent surprise, and add spirit
when they approach, there is no doubt of our success....

     [Force, 5th Series, Vol. I., p. 1248.]

[No. 4.]


HEAD-QUARTERS, Colonel Roger Morris's House, ten miles from }
                              New York, September 19, 1776. }

GENTLEMEN: I was honoured the night before last with your favor of the
13th instant, and at the same time that I conceive your anxiety to
have been great, by reason of the vague and uncertain accounts you
received respecting the attack on _Long Island_, give me leave to
assure you that the situation of our affairs, and the important
concerns which have surrounded me, and which are daily pressing on me,
have prevented me from transmitting, in many instances, the
intelligence I otherwise should have conveyed.

In respect to the attack and retreat from _Long Island_, the publick
papers will furnish you with accounts nearly true. I shall only add,
that in the former we lost about eight hundred men; more than
three-fourths of which were taken prisoners. This misfortune happened
in great measure, by two detachments of our people who were posted in
two roads leading through a wood, in order to intercept the enemy in
their march, suffering a surprise, and making a precipitate retreat,
which enabled the enemy to lead a great part of their force against
the troops commanded by Lord _Stirling_, which formed a third
detachment, who behaved with great bravery and resolution, charging
the enemy and maintaining their posts from about seven or eight
o'clock in the morning till two in the afternoon, when they were
obliged to attempt a retreat, being surrounded and overpowered by
numbers on all sides, and in which many of them were taken. One
battalion (_Smallwood's_ of _Maryland_) lost two hundred and
fifty-nine men, and the general damage fell upon the regiments from
_Pennsylvania_, _Delaware_ and _Maryland_, and Colonel _Huntington's_,
of _Connecticut_.

As to the retreat from the Island, it was effected without loss of
men, and with but very little baggage. A few heavy cannon were left,
not being moveable on account of the ground's being soft and miry
through the rains that had fallen.

The enemy's loss in killed we could never ascertain; but have many
reasons to believe that it was pretty considerable, and exceeded ours
a good deal. The retreat from thence was absolutely necessary, the
enemy having landed the main body of their army there to attack us in
front, while their ships of war were to cut off the communication with
the city, from whence resources of men, provisions, &c., were to be

I have the honour to be, &c.,

To the Hon. _Jeremiah Powell_, Esq., President, &c.

     [Force, 5th Series, Vol. II., p. 399.]

[No. 5.]



LONG ISLAND 29 Aug 1776.

... Before this reaches you the account of the battle of Tuesday last
will arrive--'tis impossible to be particular in a narrative of the
matter as many are yet missing, who we hope may come in. In the night
of the 26th nine Regiments of the English troops perhaps about 2500
with Field artillery &c passed the Western road near the Narrows from
the flat land, for our lines. We had a guard of 400 or 500 men posted
in the wood, who about three o'clock Tuesday morning gave notice of
the enemy's approach, a body of about 1500. We immediately marched
down to oppose the progress of the enemy. We took possession of a hill
about two miles from camp and detached Col Atlee with a Reg't of
Delaware [Penn.] to meet them further on the road; in about 60 rods he
drew up & received the enemy's fire & gave them a well directed fire
from his Reg't, which did great execution & then retreated to the
hill; from thence I was ordered with Col Atlee & part of his Reg't &
Lt Col Clark with Col Huntington's Reg't to cover the left flank of
our main body.

This we executed though our number did at no time exceed 300 men & we
were attacked three several times by two Regiments ye 44th &
23d and repulsed them in every attack with considerable loss. The
number of dead we had collected together & the heap the enemy had made
we supposed amounted to about 60. We had 12 or 14 wounded prisoners
who we caused to be dress'd & their wounds put in the best state our
situation would admit. About 10 o'clock we found a large body of the
enemy had advanced on the other roads near our lines, but a constant
fire was kept up on the enemy till about 12, when we found them fast
advancing on our rear to cut off our retreat. Our little main body
advanced boldly up to the enemy in the rear & broke through their
lines and secured the retreat of most of the party; but it fared still
harder with my little party who had three times repulsed the enemy in
front and once in the rear; we had no notice of the retreat of the
main body till it was too late for us to join them, the enemy having
cut off our retreat on three sides & the main body having broke
through the enemy's lines on the other side and left them between us.
We had no alternative left but force through one line into a thick
wood, which we attempted & effected with part of our men, the other
part with Col. Clark being before sent into the wood. When we had made
our way into the wood, I was accidentally parted from Col. Atlee &
most of the men whom I have never seen since. I came in with 7 men
yesterday morning much fatigued. Our loss is impossible to be
ascertained. In my party a Lt. Col. Parry was killed and one wounded.
Our loss in killed & wounded is inconsiderable, but many are missing
among whom are General Sullivan & Lord Sterling. Colonels Miles,
Atlee, Johnson, Lt. Col. Clark Maj. Wells & several other officers of
distinction are yet missing. I think the trial of that day far from
being any discouragement, but in general our soldiers behaved with

I am sir, with esteem & Regard
  Yr. Humble Svt.

MORRISANIA Oct. 8, 1776.


Your's of the 2d inst I rec'd last night, for which I am obliged to
you. If any information I can give will contribute to your
satisfaction or my country's good I am happy in furnishing what falls
in my observation. I agree fully with you that you were in the dark
as to some facts relative to the transactions on Long Island & am
fully satisfied you still remain so, or you could not suppose the
surprise there was in the day time. To give you a clear idea of the
matter, I must trouble you with a description of that part of the
country where the enemy landed, and encamped, and the intervening
lands between that and our lines. From the point of land which forms
the east side of the Narrows, runs a ridge of hills about N.E. in
length about 5 or 6 miles, covered with a thick wood which terminate
in a small rising land near Jamaica; through these hills are three
passes only, one near the Narrows, one on the road called the Flatbush
Road & one called the Bedford Road, being a cross road from Bedford to
Flatbush which lies on the southerly side of these hills; these passes
are through the mountains or hills easily defensible being very narrow
and the lands high & mountainous on each side. These are the only
roads which can be passed from the south side the hill to our lines,
except a road leading around the easterly end of the hills to Jamaica.
On each of these roads were placed a guard of 800 men, and east of
them in the wood was placed Col Miles with his Battalion to watch the
motion of the enemy on that part, with orders to keep a party
constantly reconnoitering to and across the Jamaica road. The
sentinels were so placed as to keep a constant communication between
the three guards on the three roads. South of these hills lies a large
plain extending from the North River easterly to Rockaway Bay perhaps
5 miles & southerly to the sound bounded on the south by the sound and
on the north by the hills. Those hills were from two to three miles
and a half from our lines. The enemy landed on this plain & extended
their camp from the River to Flatbush perhaps 3 or 4 miles. On the day
of the surprise I was on duty, and at the first dawn of day the guards
from the West road near the Narrows, came to my quarters & informed me
the enemy were advancing in great numbers by that road. I soon found
it true & that the whole guard had fled without firing a gun; these
(by way of retaliation I must tell you) were all New Yorkers &
Pennsylvanians; I found by fair daylight the enemy were through the
wood & descending the hill on the North side, on which with 20 of my
fugitive guard being all I could collect, I took post on a height in
their front at about half a mile's distance--which halted their column
& gave time for Lord Sterling with his forces to come up; thus much
for the West road--On the East next Jamaica Col. Miles suffered the
enemy to march not less than 6 miles till they came near two miles in
rear of the guards before he discovered & gave notice of their
approach. This also was in the night & the guard kept by
Pennsylvanians altogether--the New England & New Jersey troops being
in the other two roads through which the enemy did not attempt to

We were surprised--our principal barrier lost by that surprise, but as
far as the cover of the night is an excuse we have it.--The landing of
the troops could not be prevented at the distance of 6 or 7 miles from
our lines; on a plain under the cannon of the ships, just in with the
shore. Our unequal numbers would not admit attacking them on the plain
when landed.

When our principal barrier was lost, our numbers so much inferior to
the enemy, they not disposed to storm our lines, but set down to make
regular approaches to us--were part of the reasons which induced a
retreat from thence and a consequent abandoning New York--. Our
sentinels & guards in my opinion were well posted, they might have
been better, too great security I thought prevailed with some leading
officers, but I still am of opinion, if our guards on the West road &
Col. Miles on East End of the hills had done their duty, the enemy
would not have passed those important heights, without such very great
loss as would have obliged them to abandon any further enterprise on
the Island....

I am sir
  Your Most Humble Sv't

     [Originals in possession of Hon. Charles Francis Adams.]

[No. 6.]



NEW YORK Sept. 6, 1776.


I received your letter about half an hour ago by the messengers of the
honorable convention, in which you inform me that they are anxious to
be informed of any transactions at this place that may be of use to
the State, or otherwise of importance. My duty would have directed me
to execute this task before the receipt of your letter, had I been
possessed of the means of conveyance. I shall do it now as far as the
want of good pen and ink, as scarce as almost every other necessary
article, will permit.

I shall begin with our retreat from Long Island. For previous to that
event the convention was so near the scene of action that they must
have been acquainted with every occurrence. I was summoned to a
Council of War at Mr. Philip Livingston's house on Thursday 29th
ult. never having had reason to expect a proposition for a retreat
till it was mentioned. Upon my arrival at the lines on the Tuesday
morning before, and just after the enemy, by beating General Sullivan
and Lord Stirling, had gained the heights _which in their nature
appear to have been more defensible than the lines were_, it was
obvious to me we could not maintain them for any long time should the
enemy approach us regularly. _They were unfinished in several places
when I arrived there_, and we were obliged hastily to finish them, and
you may imagine with very little perfection, particularly across the
main road, the most likely for the approach of the enemy's heavy
artillery. _In this place three of my battalions_ were placed, the
traverse of the line in ground so low, that the rising ground
immediately without it, would have put it in the power of a man at 40
yards' distance to _fire under my horse's belly_ whenever he pleased.
You may judge of our situation, subject to almost incessant rains,
without baggage or tents and almost without victuals or drink, and in
some part of the lines the men were standing up to their middles in
water. The enemy were evidently incircling us from water to water with
intent to hem us in upon a small neck of land. In this situation they
had as perfect a command of the island, except the small neck on which
we were posted, as they now have. Thus things stood when the retreat
was proposed. As it was suddenly proposed, _I as suddenly objected to
it_, from an aversion to giving the enemy a single inch of ground; but
_was soon convinced by the unanswerable reasons for it_. They were
these. Invested by an enemy of above double our number from water to
water, scant in almost every necessary of life and without covering
and liable every moment to have the communication between us and the
city cut off by the entrance of the frigates into the East River
between (late) Governor's Island and Long Island; which General
McDougall assured us from his own nautic experience was very feasible.
In such a situation we should have been reduced to the alternative of
desperately attempting to cut our way [through] a vastly superior
enemy with the certain loss of a valuable stock of artillery and
artillery stores, which the continent has been collecting with great
pains; or by famine and fatigue have been made an easy prey to the
enemy. In either case the campaign would have ended in the total ruin
of our army. The resolution therefore to retreat was unanimous, and
tho' formed late in the day was executed the following night with
unexpected success. We however lost some of our heavy cannon on the
forts at a distance from the water, the softness of the ground
occasioned by the rains having rendered it impossible to remove them
in so short a time. Almost everything else valuable was saved; and not
a dozen men lost in the retreat. The consequence of our retreat was
the loss of [late] Govrs Island which is perfectly commanded by the
fort on Red Hook. The enemy however from fear or other reasons
indulged with the opportunity of two nights to carry off all except
some heavy cannon. The garrison was drawn off in the afternoon after
our retreat under the fire of the shipping who are now drawn up just
behind [late] Govrs Island, and the fire of some cannon from Long
Island shore; but with no other loss than that of one man's arm. What
our loss on Long Island was I am not able to estimate. I think the
hills might have been well maintained with 5000 men. _I fear their
natural strength was our bane by lulling us into a state of security_
and enabling the enemy to steal _a march upon us_. I think from the
best accounts we must have killed many of the enemy. We are sure that
late Colonel and afterwards General Grant who was so bitter against us
in Parliament, is among the slain. General Parsons late Col. and
promoted to the rank of a general officer escaped from the action and
pursuit as by a miracle. I believe him to be a brave man. He is a
Connecticut lawyer. He told me that in the action he commanded a party
of about 250 men, with orders from Lord Stirling to cover his flank;
and that when the enemy gave way, he threw into a heap about thirty of
the enemy's dead, and that in advancing a little further he found a
heap made by the enemy at least as large as that which he had
collected. Lord Stirling had ordered him to maintain his ground till
receipt of his orders to retreat. However, finding that no such
orders came; and finding the enemy by rallying to increase on his
hands, he flew to the place where Lord Stirling was posted, leaving
his party on the ground with strict orders to maintain it till his
return, but he found his Lordship and his whole body of troops gone.
There can be no doubt but Lord Stirling behaved bravely; but I wish
that he had retreated sooner. He would have saved himself and a great
number of troops from captivity, but he refused to retreat for want of
orders. We miss him much, he was a very active officer. General
Sullivan who was also made a prisoner in the action on the heights
went some days ago on parole to Congress to endeavor to procure his
exchange for Prescot. I have not heard of his return. Two or three
days ago the Rose frigate went up between the islands and took
shelter, after a severe cannonade from us, behind Blackwell's Island.
She retreated yesterday as far as Corlear's Hook, where she was
briskly cannonaded till night. I have not heard of her this morning.
By the loss on Long Island and the running away of our militia,
_especially those of Connecticut_, to their respective homes, our army
is much diminished, and I am sure is vastly inferior to that of the

Poor General Woodhull with a lieutenant and four men were made
prisoners on Long Island. I had a letter from him dated the first
inst. but not dated from any place, nor does he tell me how he was
taken. He has lost all his baggage and requested of me two shirts and
two pairs of stockings, which I should have sent him had not the flag
of truce been gone before I recd the letter. I shall comply with
his request by the first opportunity. Commend me with all possible
devotion to the honorable Convention.

I am, Sir,
  Your most obedient servant

P.S. _The army badly paid & wretchedly fed._ 1100 men arrived from the
southward. A deserter tells me be (?) 3000 foreign troops on Staten
island. I know not what the flying camp is doing. He says the enemy on
Long Island are 26,000. I believe this much exaggerated; and 1000 in
the shipping.

     [Original in possession of Hon. John Jay, New York.]

[No. 7.]



NEW YORK 27th August 1776.


Since my last the enemy have landed their main force on Long Island
near New Utrecht Church--between that & Flat Bush, our people and
theirs have frequent skirmishes in all which our people have had the
better of them. We have lost several men, killed and wounded--. Col.
Martin of New Jersey badly wounded in the breast, but I hope not
mortally. We just have received an account of a smart skirmish this
morning at break of day--the particulars I don't yet know, if I can
get them before the gentlemen go who bring this I will write you them.
Col. Huntington is unwell, but I hope getting a little better. He has
a slow fever. Maj. Dyer is also unwell with a slow fever. Gen'l Greene
has been very sick but is better. Genls. Putnam, Sullivan, Lord
Sterling, Nixon, Parsons & Heard are on Long Island and a strong part
of our army. We have a fine ridge of hills and woods to meet them in
on Long Island before they come near our lines.

I am dear Brother your Affectionate


P.S. It was true the enemy attacked in the morning--Several parties of
them penetrated thro' the woods & the whole body are now thro' &
within 2 miles of our lines. Some parties of them have been up to the
lines but are drove back, or upon the Heights about 2 miles off from
the lines. There has been some very brisk firing & smart engagements;
what numbers are killed or wounded on either side--the firing ceases
at present but expect it renewed again by & by. We have lost a Mr.
Rutgers of this town, an artillery man & Lt. Col. Parry of
Pennsylvania. These are all we know yet.

Your's as before.

     [Original in possession of Henry E. Parsons, Ashtabula, O.]

[No. 8.]



NEW YORK, Sept. 1st, 1776.


... We have been obliged to retreat from Long Island and Governor's
Island, from both of which we got off without loss of men. We have
left a great part of our heavy artillery behind. The field train is
off. We are in hourly expectation that the town will be bombarded and
cannonaded--and the enemy are drawing their men to the eastward on
Long Island, as if they intended to throw a strong party over on this
island, near Hell Gate, so as to get on the back of the city. We are
preparing to meet them. Matters appear to be drawing near to a
decisive engagement. Gen. Sullivan is allowed to come on shore, upon
his parole, and go to Congress, on the subject of exchange of himself,
Lord Sterling, and a large number who are prisoners; by the best
accounts we yet have, we have lost, in last week's defeat, about 800
men killed and missing; how many of each, is not yet known. I rather
expect that they will push in a body of troops between the town and
our posts at and near King's bridge. If they do we shall have them
between two fires, and must push them to the last extremity or be
killed or taken prisoners. The event is in the hand of the Almighty,
Disposer of all events....

I am, honored Sir,
  Your dutiful son,

     [Collections of the R.I. Hist. Soc., Vol. VI.]

[No. 9.]




DEAR SON--We still continue in Camp at this place. No arrivals since
my last. Some hints this morning that the Torys had laid a plan to
destroy the general officers of our army. The particulars I have not
yet. The Regt generally well.

July 6--1776.

About 160 ships and transports and other vessels are arrived with
about 10000 soldiers--Numbers are landed on Staten Island. We expect
12000 more to join them. Camp very healthy. I have lost only one man
since we left Prospect Hill (near Boston). Our men in good spirits. I
am of opinion our hands will be full--hope we shall do well.

July 31, 1776.

Ten ships are added to the King's troops--part very large, can't say
whether they are men of war or transports. This island is a place of
great importance, & if possible must be defended. We are five _small_
regts, are scattered, & have 10 forts to defend. Col. Hand's
Regt is scattered over 5 miles in length. I am posted in fort Green
which is the largest. I never desire to give it up, nor be taken while
I am alive. I am of opinion my regt. will stand fast in the cause
of the United States.

August 9, 1776.

The enemy were seen to embark 30 boats full of men on 3 vessels & 100
boats full on the other transports. We expected an attack, but all is
still & quiet.

Our enemies have been reinforced by the Hessians & Clinton's fleet.
Deserters say the enemy are 30,000 strong & Genl. Greene judges
them 20,000. I think them 16,000. We have only 1600 fit for duty on
Long Island. I shall pay the Q.M. Genl. the balance due him for
cloathing my regt. this day, which will square all accounts.

Aug. 22 1776.

I have thought fit to send you my will--you will take all charge
necessary &c.

The enemy this day landed on this Island & marched within 3 miles of
our camp. Three or four regiments lodge within 2 miles of the enemy. I
expect morning will bring us to battle.

IN CAMP NEW YORK Sep. 1, 1776.

The enemy left Staten Island & landed on Long Island the 22d.
Encamped on a large plain 5 or 6 miles across, at Flat Bush 4 miles
distant. Our troops encamped in the edge of the woods in front of
them. Our line extended about four miles on the night of the 27th.
In the morning, at 2 o'clock, the enemy attacked our right wing (a
smart engagement for some time).

The enemy also advanced on the left. Lord Stirling reinforced the
right wing & defended himself till 12 o'clock when our wing gave way.
My regt. was in the center on guard. The enemy's right wing almost
encircled 2 or 3 regt's & as they were not together they were not able
to defend themselves & retreated with about 20 wounded. Our people
came in about 11 o'clock. The enemy at the same time with their light
horse & English troops attempted to force our lines, but soon
retreated being met with a smart fire from our breast works.

Two deserters informed us that the enemies dead & wounded was upwards
of 500--I wish ours may not be more. On the morning of the 28th the
enemy were encamped on the heights in front of our encampment. Firing
was kept up on both sides, from the right to the left. Weather very
rainy. 29th very rainy. Firing by both sides in front of Fort
Putnam. About sunset the enemy pushed to recover the ground we had
taken (about 100 rods) in front of the fort. The fire was very hot,
the enemy gave way, & our people recovered the ground. The fire
ceased, & our people retired to the fort. The enemy took possession
again, & on the morning of the 30th had a breastwork there 60 rods
long, & 150 rods distant from fort Putnam.

Two ships of war had got up the sound as far as Hell gate by this
time. The general ordered each regt. to be paraded on their own
parades at 7 O'clock P.M. & wait for orders. We received orders to
strike our tents & march, with our baggage, to New York. Our lines
were manned until day break.

The reason of the retreat was, that we should have had no chance to
retreat if the ships came up. I am not certain we shall be able to
keep the city of New York. You may hear of our being at King's Bridge.
A great battle I think will be fought here, or near there.

I am in a good measure of health.

I am your affectionate father,



I have been solicited by Genl. Green to remain in the service. I
before declined, but he will not hear one word about my refusing to

     [Original in possession of Benjamin Hale, Esq.]

[No. 10.]



LONG ISLAND 22d June, 1776.


... Last evening a Conspiracy of the Tories was discovered; their plan
was to murder Genl. Washington, seize on the Persons of the other
General officers, & blow up our Magazines, at the Instant of Time the
King's Troops should Land. A number of our Officers rode last Night to
Flat bush on this Island, & seiz'd the Mayor of the City, who is now
in safe Custody & suppos'd to be in the Conspiracy--several others
are also taken & the Names of others we have, which I hope we shall
soon be able to give a good account of.

In haste, I conclude
  Yours affectionately,

Augt. 29th 1776.

I have but just time to inform you I am well, as I hope this will find
you, our Family & Friends. You will undoubtedly hear, before you see
this, that we have had an engagement with the Enemy--were surrounded,
& had a Number Killed & Taken. I was with the Party who were
Surrounded & through a kind Providence, got through their fire without
being Wounded or Taken.--The Particulars of which I have not time to
relate as the Enemy are close to us & we expect to be attacked every
hour. I have wrote to Brother Josy by this conveyance which letter he
will let you see.--May God Bless & preserve you from every disaster,
is the unremitting wish of yours &c.

N. YORK Sept. 1st 1776.

Last Friday we left Long Island, (being unable to keep it any longer,
without being made Prisoners) and came to New York. How long we shall
stay here is uncertain--Our Public Enemies are numerous--Our private
Ones not a few. Happy shall I esteem myself, if I live to see these
Publick Calamities at an End, when we can live peaceably at home &
Enjoy the Fruit of our Labors, the Sweets of Liberty, & none to molest
us: 7 Regiments marched to King's Bridge Yesterday Afternoon. Lord
Sterling & Gen. Sullivan are made prisoners by the Enemy. Sullivan was
with us yesterday and is now gone to Philadelphia to Congress. Numbers
of our People who were surrounded by the Enemy at Flat Bush, and we
thought were Taken by them, have since got in--My Duty to Parents.
Love to Sally, Bettsey, Ruthy & Josey, Brothers, Sisters & all
Friends, with which I conclude,

Yours, &c.

WHITE PLAINS, Octr. 31st, 1776.

In your last, you want to know whether I was in the Brush or
Battle,[233] mentioned in my last.--I was there. In our Brigade was
Kill'd & Wounded, 75--in the whole Kill'd & Wounded on our side, about
100--of the Enemy by the best Information we have about 500--since
which we have had several Skirmishes. I was not in them, though I saw
several of them. One of them last Week was fought by Reed's &
Learned's Regts., where we had six--kill'd & a number Wounded; the
Enemy had Kill'd & Wounded, about 200--the same Week, a Scouting Party
came across the famous Rogers Scouts, with a scouting party of the
Enemy, took 30 of them Prisoners, & kill'd a number of them--This Week
we had some Battles with them. Monday the 28th Inst. about 2000
of them came on a height of Land on these Plains, Attacked our
Picquet, & after some time, forced our People to give Back. The Loss
on either side I cannot ascertain, but suppose we had Kill'd & Wounded
near 100, as the Fire of Cannon & Small Arms was heavy for some time.
The Day before, they Attacked our Lines near Fort Washington with two
of their Brigades & some of their Ships--Their Ships were much
damaged; one of them they were obliged to Tow off; Our People at the
Lines reserv'd their Fire till the Brigades advanced pretty near, then
gave them a heavy Fire which caused them to Retreat; they form'd &
advanc'd the second time, when our People gave them the second Fire;
they Retreated as before, & form'd the Third time, came up & Fired at
the Lines, which was so warmly returned, that they Retreated. Our
People then Jump'd over the Lines, and pursued them, & Kill'd many,
but the Number is not ascertained.--should I have another Opportunity
to write, can better inform you: we had but one Kill'd in this Battle.
We took 14 Hessians one Day this Week, & one English Officer; have had
several Deserters come in this Week. The Enemy are now Encamp'd within
Gun shot of us, so that there is a continual firing of Small Arms--We
let two Hessians, which we took some time ago, return to the Enemy's
Camp--We daily expect an engagement with the Enemy----

[Footnote 233: Harlem Heights, Sept. 16.]

Brother Denny was here Yesterday to see me; is well & station'd at
Terry Town on the North River about 8 miles from this. Capt.
Lincoln Parkman & our People in general, were well a few Days ago.

Should I live to see Peace restor'd & our Rights Secur'd, shall prize
the Blessing more than ever. I have heard many rumors that it would be
tedious to write. Last night we took Doct. Whitworth's son (of
Boston) Prisoner. He was in some office with the Enemy.

     [Originals in possession of Miss H.E. Henshaw, Leicester,

[No. 11.]


[Without date.]

Previous to the Campaign in 1776, there were 3 Regts commanded by
Lt. Colonels. General Washington offered me the command of either of
them. I conversed with the Officers of these Regiments, & I found they
were averse to a change; I informed Gen'l W. that if I accepted his
offer, it would be injurious to the Service and declined it. He then
said he hoped I would not leave the Service, but would take a Lt.
Colonel's commission, which I did under Colonel Little, & in April we
marched for New York in the Brigade commanded by Genl Green. Soon
after Genl Washington came & ordered said Brigade to Long Island.

The latter part of August, I commanded in a picket guard at Flatbush,
where the enemy was encamped, who marched by the East wing of the
Pickets, and formed a line between us and our encampments, and knowing
the Gen. could not send us orders to retreat we marched to reach our
encampments. While marching in the rear of the enemy's line, they were
holding a Council of War, whether to storm our lines, or take them by
a regular siege. They chose the latter. Had they broke their lines and
marched into our front, we must have been made prisoners; but they
only turned on their heels and fired at us and we got in with little

     [Original in possession of Miss H.E. Henshaw, Leicester,

[No. 12.]



LONG ISLAND 27 August 1776 7 P.M.


Part of the enemy landed on the Island on the 22nd. they did not
advance farther than Flatbush until last night--I have had a fatiguing
time of it ever since--A number of our troops have been hemned in, but
behaved well. Many have got clear and many are yet missing. Our
Pennsylvanians were chiefly of the party.

I escaped my part only by being relieved at 2 o'clock this
morning--Major Burd and Col. Atlee were out and are yet missing. Jessy
and Jacky are yet with me

Adieu--May God preserve you
    Your affectionate

  Lancaster Pa.

     [Original in possession of Mrs. S.B. Rogers, Lancaster,

[No. 13.]


LONG ISLAND 3rd Sept. 1776.


I was taken prisoner at an advanced Post on the morning of ye
27th ulto after a skirmish, on the same day Capts. Herbert and
Heister were both made prisoners. I was used with great Civility by
General Grant & admitted to my Parole, Brigadier General Agnew and
Major Leslie and Major Batt also treated me with great Politeness.

You must be sensible that hard money can only be of service in my
present situation: The Politeness of several Gentlemen would have very
fully supplied me with it, but I have only taken what will be
immediately necessary for me. I should be much obliged to you if you
could procure me a small Bill of Exchange in which perhaps Mr. Dundas
of Reading could assist you, or Gold to the amount of about £20.

I can not learn the fate of poor Colo Hand or Jesse Ewing but
believe they are not prisoners.

Colo Reed, the Adjutant Gen'l will be the only Person who can
convey any thing to me, my Letter must be short, my Love to all the

I am Dear Sir
  Your Affecte Brother [in-law]
    EDW. BURD.


     [Original among the Yeates papers.]

[No. 14.]


NEW YORK Aug. 30, 1776.


After a very fatiguing march we are all safely arrived. The Genl.
yesterday gave orders for all the Regts on Long Island to hold
themselves in readiness to march at the shortest notice, and evacuate
our Lines for the enemy already had extended their advanced posts
across the Island, & we were entirely surrounded, so that the only
refuge he had left was New York--This morn'g a party about fifty men
went a marauding and were surprised by the enemy, who after firing
whole vollies secured one of the Boats, & then the Hessian Riflemen
began to play upon them, so that our loss including that of the first
engagement amounts to 500 men & upwards.

Lord Stirling & Genl. Sullivan are Prisoners, several officers are
still missing amongst whom are Col. Miles and Atlee--The militia from
Berks County are almost cut off. The inhuman wretches thrust their
bayonets through our wounded men and refused that mercy to us, which
we granted to them. The situation of New York is very critical, the
enemy being in possession of Long Island may reduce it to a Heap of
ashes in a days time.

The loss of the enemy amounts to 1500 men amongst whom are a Brigadier
Genl. and several Field Officers.--The Idea which we at first
conceived of the Hessian Riflemen was truly ridiculous but sad
experience convinces our people that they are an Enemy not to [be]
despised, Several Companies of their Light Infantry are cloathed
exactly as we are, in hunting shirts and trowers--Mr. Burd who
commanded a detachment of 200 men is not yet returned, and sorry am I
to say it, he is a Prisoner amongst them.--as this news must certainly
afflict Aunt and the whole family, I have forwarned my Brother from
making any mention of it.

Please to give my duty to Aunt, mammy, Kitty and my love to all the

I remain, Honrd Sir
  Yr dutiful & obliged Nephew
    J. EWING.


     [Original among the Yeates papers.]

[No. 15.]


"_To Jasper Yeates Esq. at Fort Pitt._"

LANCASTER Sept. 14, 1776.


As it has pleased Divine Providence to spare my Life, I think it my
Duty to send you as good an act. of the Engagement together with the
enclosed Draught as lays in my power, as I had gone from Elizabeth
Point New Jersey to Long Island to see my brothers I had an
opportunity of seeing everything that occurred from the Time the Enemy
landed on the Island untill a Day or two before we retreated from
thence. Col. Hand's Regmt. had been on duty 2 days & the second Night
were relieved between 12 and 1 o'clock in the morning and about Two
it is thought the Enemy began their movements from Flat Bush to the
Right, and Left, and at between 7 & 8 o'clock in the morning we had
the mortification from our Lines to see our men commanded by Lord
Stirling almost surrounded by the Regulars, as they kept their stand
on a Hill without flinching an inch, The Regulars were firing at them
like Fury they at last descended then there was a continual peal of
Small Arms for an Hour or better, our men at last partly got off by
the Marsh, as in the Draught inclosed, I have been very Ill of a Fever
which I got by being cloathed too thin and lay at York about 2 Days
before our People had made that Grand Retreat from the Island which
will ever reflect honour to our Generals, from York I was removed to
King's Bridge twelve or fifteen miles from thence, after I had
recovered, my Health suffered from Travelling. The Colo. was good
enough to send me Home in a Carriage which thank God I happily--and
dont doubt of recovering Health shortly--I am Sir

Your affectionate


I shall refer you to the papers for our Loss in the Battle though it
is with infinite regret I must inform you of Major Burd's being among
the prisoners who Lord How treats them with great politeness. Time
will not permitt my saying so much as I would wish--I left the
Colo. & all friends very well at King's Bridge where the Regt.
is Stationed as I only left them this day week.

     [Original among the Yeates papers.]

[Illustration: Reduction from Original Map. Drawn by J. Ewing Sept.

[Transcriber's Note: The following is transcribed from a handwritten
legend beneath the map. Spelling and punctuation have been retained as
they appear in the original. Missing words or letters are supplied in

A.--The Hill on which Lord Stirling commanded the Brigade which stood
a considerable time exposed to the Enemy's Fire from their
Field-pieces & small-arms.

B.--Large Bodies of the Enemy marching round our people.

CCC.--Our Camps with the Forts GGG in front of them.

D.D.--The Road to the Red Lion, where the Enemy marched from Flat-bush
along the River & got between our People and the Camps.

E.--Flat-bush Road.

F.--Where a considerable Number of our people were stationed with
Several Field-pieces & Breast-Works made with Trees felled across the
Road to defend themselves when attacked.

H.--Fort Putnam where part of Colo. Hand's men commanded by Lieut.
C. Chambers were detached from the Regt. to man the Fort.

I.--A small Upper Fort where [I] was with the Colo. the Day of the
Engagement, where we saw the whole Action at A.A.A. Our people after
standing their ground at the Hill, at last decended, and the[re] was
an incessant Fire of Small-Arms for the best part of an Hour or
longer, with little or no intermission, 'till our Men Retreated by the
Mill "I," and in their Retreat "O.O." set fire to the house "M" the
smoke of which prevented the Enemy at B.B. & K from seeing them
retreat & then they came over the Marsh "Q" where several brave
fellows were drowned in the Creek "P." in endeavoring to get over. We
expected every Minute the Enemy would Storm the Forts & Lines "IH," as
they were not above 400 or 450 Yards from Fort "I" to them at "KB,"
but our Cannon from Fort Putnam obliged them to lay close.

R.--The Enemies Camp the Day after the Battle.

"Draught of the Engagement at Long Island, Aug. 27th, 1776."

_J. Bien Photo. Lith. N.Y._]

[No. 16.]




I recd. yours with pleasure because it was yours, all the Rest was
Indignation--We went over to Long Island, a Genl. Engagement
ensued, the Southern Troops i.e. Ld Stirlings Battalion bore the
Violence of the Attack & repulsed the Enemy but were outnumbered at
least three to one, & obliged to retire; the Delaware Battalion have
been complimented as the finest in the Service, they stood unmoved in
firm Array four Hours exposed to the fire of the Enemy, nor attempted
to retire till they received Orders from the Genl, then effected a
most H'oble Retreat up to the middle thro a Marsh of Mud & brought off
with them 23 Prisoners--I fear we shall be outnumbered, expect every
moment Orders to march off to Kingsbridge, to prevent the Enemy
crossing the East River & confining us on another Nook, what the Event
will be God knows--Lt. Stewart & Harney with 25 Privates fell in our
Regiment--Ld. Stirling & Genl Sullivan Prisoners--Miles & Atlee the
same Piper killed--250 of Smallmans (Swallwood's) missing--Atles cut
to pieces--I fear Genl. Washington has too heavy a task, assisted
mostly by Beardless Boys--if the Enemy can coop us up in N. York by
Intrenching from River to River, horrid will be the Consequences from
their command of the Rivers.

Between five & six thousand Dollars of Continental Money remain in my
hands, unknowing what to do with it, I have entrusted it to the care
of Dr. Rogers & Chaplain Montgomery--if I fall, please to take Order
in the Matter--I have not time to say one Word more, tis the first
Letter I have had time to write--please to mention to some of your
Friends below that I am well, by whose Means it may reach Mrs.
Haslet--I am with

Great Esteem, Sir your Most Obedt Humble Servant

Honble Genl RODNEY.
  Camp at N. York Augt 31st 1776.

     [Original in possession of Cæsar A. Rodney, Esq.,
     Wilmington, Del.]

[No. 17.]



BROOKLINE ON L.I. Augst 24--1776
  7 o'clock A.M.

... I never was in better Health and Spirits than now. On Thursday the
enemy landed on Long Island at 3 o'clock P.M. We had intelligence
that our Troops on the Island wanted to be reinforced. My Regiment and
3 more were ordered over for that purpose. My regt. was ordered down
into a woody Hill near Red Hook to take Post that night to prevent any
more troops from landing thereabout. We had the Heavens for our
Covering and the Earth for my bed, wrapt in my blanket, when after
posting my Sentries I slept finely. Was mighty well yesterday, and was
then ordered here where I & my Regt. now are. The enemy are about 3
miles East of our troops, were a part of them skirmishing with them
all day yesterday and are still on the same ground & have killed a
number of the enemy. The enemy are said to be 8 or 9000 that are
landed here. I am posted here at a fort & to see some breastworks
compleated. By the blessing of Heaven I trust we shall be able to give
a good acct of the enemy.... My love to our Dear Sons & accept the
same yourself from most affec. & loveing Husband

P.S. I refer you to Capt. Hawley for Particulars.

  2 o'clock P.M.

I wrote you yesterday morning from Brookline upon the Drum Head in the
field as I do now, which I hope you will receive this day.... Have not
so much as a bear skin to lie on, only my blanket to wrap me in, for
our removals from place to place are so quick & sudden that we can
have no opportunity nor means to convey beds &c, but go only with the
cloaths on our backs & our blankets and a little ready-cooked
victuals. I am now posted within about half a mile from the Regulars
with my Regt. under the Covert of a woody hill to stop their passage
into the Country. There are a number of Regts posted all around the
town within about the same distance & for the same purpose. The
regulars keep up an almost Constant Fire from their cannon & mortars
at some or other of us, but neither shott nor shell has come near my
Regt. yet and they are at too great a distance to fire muskets at as
yet. I have a scouting party going out now to see if they can't pick
up some or get something from them. I came to this post this day at 12
o'clock & shall remain here till this time to-morrow if God spares my
life, with no other covering than the trees. I cant learn anything
with respect to them different from what I wrote yesterday. The rest
of the troops & their Ships lie at Staten Island yet to wait the
success of this part of their army, as I suppose before they make any
other attempt. They have wounded in all of our men in 3 days skirmish
about 8 or 9 men, one or two mortally, which is not half the number
that we have killed for them beside wounded....

NEW YORK (BROOKLYN) Aug 29 1776.

... Have been a stranger to a bed ever since last Wens'day night till
last night being relieved from manning a part of the lines with my
regt. where I had been 36 hours I was invited by our mutual friend
Major Mott to take part of his bed & have had a fine night indeed, the
Night before there was a waggon near our Lines into which I got &
wrapt myself in my Blanket after Twelve & half after One was waked &
acquainted that the Enemy were coming up to force our Lines & we
immediately took our Places in the Trenches & there remained untill
after Sun Rise, but it proved a false Alarm, our Enemy have encamped
in plain sight of our camp at the distance of about a mile & half, We
have had no General Engagement yet, but no Day passes without some
smart & Hot skirmishes between different Parties in which the success
is sometimes One Way & sometimes another, We are in constant
Expectation of a General Battle; no one can be here long without
geting pretty well acquainted with the whistleing of Cannon & musket

HARLEM HEIGHTS Sep. 17th 1776.

... On the morning of last Sabbath we had news that the regulars on
Long Island were in motion as they would cross the East River & land
about 3 miles above the city. At this place lay their ships close in
with our shores & soon after the regulars marched in a large body down
to the shore & embarked on Board the flat bottomed boats. Upon this
their ships began a most incessant fire on our lines opposite to them
with their grape shot from which they were distant but about 50 rods &
behind which lay Genl. Wadsworth's & Col. Douglass' Brigades until
the fire was so hot from the ships that they were obliged to retreat.
On this the regulars landed & fired upon them which completed their
confusion & they ran away up here & are here now, but a part of them
were out in yesterday's action & behaved nobly.

Now as to myself & my brigade we were left to guard the city until all
the rest of the troops were drawn off & about half an hour or an hour
after all the other troops were gone I was ordered with my brigade to
march out of the city & man the lines on the East river opposite to
Bayard's Hill fort. Then I marched & saw the regular Army land above
me & spread across the Island from one river to another until my
retreat seemed to be entirely cut off & soon after received an order
to retreat if I could.

I attempted it along up through the woods by the North River when I
came in sight of the enemy several times but kept my brigade covered
in the woods so that I got thro' them to their uppermost guard & they
pursued & fired on my rear & took a few of my men. I immediately
formed about 300 of my men on an Hill to oppose them. On seeing this
the regulars fled & I pursued my retreat & got my brigade safe here
where I am now posted--a particular detail of the risks I ran must be
deferred. It was supposed by everybody that I & my brigade were
entirely cut off.

HARLEM HEIGHTS, 17 Sept. 1777. 2 o'cl P.M.

Yesterday at 7 o'clock in the morning we were alarmed with the sight
of a considerable number of the enemy on the Plains below us about a
mile distant.--Our Brigades which form a line across the Island where
I am were immediately ordered under arms--but as the enemy did not
immediately advance we grounded our arms & took spades & shovels &
went to work & before night had thrown up lines across the
Island--There was nothing before but three little redoubts in about a
mile & we are at work this day in strengthening them. But yesterday a
little before noon we heard a strong firing about half a mile below us
in the woods near where we had two Brigades lying as an advanced
guard. The enemy in a large body advanced in the woods a little before
12 o'cl & began a heavy fire on those two Brigades who maintained the
fire obstinately for some time & then they were reinforced by several
regiments & the fire continued very heavy from the musketry & from
field pieces about two hours--in which time our people drove the
regulars back from post to post about a mile & a half & then left them
pretty well satisfied with their dinner since which they have been
very quiet. Our loss on this occasion by the best information is
about 25 killed & 40 or 50 wounded. The enemy by the best accounts
have suffered much more than we.

A prisoner we have I am told says that Genl. Howe himself commanded
the regular & Genl. Washington & Genl. Putnam were both with our
Troops. They have found now that when we meet them on equal ground we
are not a set of people that will run from them--but that they have
now had a pretty good drubbing, tho' this was an action between but a
small party of the army.

CAMP AT WHITE PLAINS Oct. 29th 1776.

... Yesterday about 10 o'clock in the morning we had news that the
enemy were approaching, when I with my regiment & 3 others were
ordered out about 1-1/2 miles below our lines to take post on a hill
to gall them in their march as they advanced. We accordingly took our
post & mine & one other regiment had the advantage of a stone wall
right in front at which we had been waiting but little time before the
enemy came up within 6 or 8 rods,--when our men rose from behind the
wall, poured in a most furious fire.

The enemy retreated & came on several times & were so hotly received
every time that finally we drove them off from the hill. We killed
some they did not carry off & some they did.

I had not one either killed or wounded. On this the enemy were coming
upon us with a number of field pieces & as we had none there to meet
them with, we were ordered to retreat over West on to another Hill &
join another party of men & accordingly did it & formed a line of
battle. We were I believe near 2000 on the Hill (Chatterton's). The
enemy soon brought their main body opposite to us & formed them into
three lines, one back of the other, & a large number of field pieces
in their front & howitzers with which they threw small bombs on
another Hill. Then they marched their first line off from the Hill
where they stood, down into a deep Valley that lay between us & then
they played on us most furiously with their artillery to keep us from
meeting their people in the hollow & in short the shot & shells came
like hail. I lay right in the heaviest of their fire, with my men by a
fence & had two wounded there & were soon ordered to another post
further on the line of battle up to which the enemy soon came as they
did for a long way in lengths. We gave them a heavy fire which made
them retreat but they soon returned when a most furious fire followed
which continued for a few minutes when their numbers were increased so
amazingly that we were obliged to retreat which we did thro' a most
furious fire from the enemy for half a mile for so far there was
nothing to cover us from it.... I have lost but 4 out of my reg't &
can hear of only 10 or 12 wounded. We are all now within our line &
the enemy are posted on a number of the neighboring hills & we
expected they would have come on this morning when we should have had
an engagement with both armies but they don't yet move & it is now
about 12 o'clock.

     [Originals in possession of Mrs. O.P. Hubbard, New York.]

[No. 18.]



NEW YORK Sepr: 6th, 1776.

DEAR SIR Your Favour of the 1st Instt: I have this Morning
received and am much obliged to you for it; in Order to answer your
Inquiries I must necessarily give you some Account of our out Lines on
Long Island before we left it, about 8 or Nine Miles below this Town
is that Strait of Water commonly called the Narrows, from the upper
end of it on the Long Island side a Bay puts into the Island on a
Course about Northeasterly and runs into the Land about Two miles;
from the Head of this Bay we had a line of Forts & Redoubts all
connected by Breast Works and some part of it picketed, up
Northeasterly and Northerly to a Bay on the Northwesterly part of the
Island rather above the City; The British Troops landed below the Bay
at the Narrows and marched to Flat Bush a Place on the Island about 6
or 7 miles from this city and 3 miles beyond our Lines, flat Bush
stands near the Westerly Side of a large Plain which is 4 or 5 miles
over and this plain is surrounded from the Southwest to the Northeast
with a larg Ridge of Hills covered with Woods. through this Ridge
there are three roads into the Country, toward New York two of them;
and one out to a place called Bedford; At each of these passes which
were from 1 to 1-1/2 Mile asunder we had strong Guards posted
consisting of 600 or 700 Men, the other Forces which we had on the
Island were posted within the Lines and in the Forts and once in 24
Hours relieved the Guards out at those advanced Posts toward the
Enemy; I was posted out on one of these Advanced Posts on Sabbath Day
July (August) 25th, with my own Regimt and 2 more near by in
order to stop the Progress of the Enemy into the Country. I was
relieved on Monday about half (past) Two & marched Back within the
Lines to the Place where my Regiment was ordered for their Alarm Post
in order to man the Lines there in case the Enemy advanced which was
at the Northern Part of the Lines, and there was beside the Regiments
that were ordered to man the Lines some Regiments as a Corps de
Reserve to reinforce any Part of the Lines that might be attacked &c.
Early on Tuesday Morning the Guards at all those Three Avenues were
attacked (by) parties that vastly out numbered them, and soon were
drove from their Posts and soon broken at the Same Time.... [The
conclusion missing.]

     [Original in possession of Mrs. O.P. Hubbard, New York.]

[No. 19.]


The evening preceding the action, General Washington, with a number of
general officers, went down to view the motions of the enemy, who were
encamped at Flatbush. The enemy appeared to be striking their tents,
and preparing for a march; whereupon it was ordered that 2400 men
should be posted as guards, in the following manner, viz: 800 on the
road that leads out of the Jamaica road by way of Yellow Hook to
Flatbush; these men were posted in a woods, at four miles distant from
our lines, to oppose the enemy if they attempted that road, and to
annoy them on their march: 800 more were posted in a woods upon the
Middle road, which leads out of the Jamaica road to Flatbush, about a
mile and a half from the lines; these were posted at about half a mile
distant from Flatbush, and near a mile from the parting of the road,
where an _abatis_ was formed across the road, and a breastwork thrown
up and defended by two pieces of cannon: 800 more were posted at the
Bedford road, which leads out of the Jamaica road, at about three
miles distant from our lines; this party was ordered to guard the
Bedford road, and to patrol the road leading through the New Lots in
the east of the Bedford road, from which it parts at the Halfway
House, about six miles from the lines, and leads from it to Flatbush.
Five officers were also sent out on horseback to patrol the
last-mentioned road and that leading to Jamaica. At 10 o'clock at
night about 5000 of the enemy marched by way of the New Lots, and
arrived, near 2 in the morning, at Halfway House, without being
discovered; they took post in a field, and waited for daylight. The
five officers sent to patrol fell into their hands, and were all made
prisoners. About 3 in the morning a party of the enemy advanced into
the Western road, leading by Yellow Hook, and attacked our guards; the
guards returned their fire, threw them into confusion, caused the
whole to halt, and took one prisoner, who informed us that he belonged
to the regiment which attacked our guards, and was by their fire
thrown into confusion and forced to retreat, and that there were two
brigades, of four regiments each, on their march in that road,
commanded by Brigadier-General Grant. At daylight Lord Stirling was
ordered with two battalions, into that road, to oppose the enemy. He
took post on an eminence in front of the enemy whereupon a smart fight
ensued, which lasted near an hour, and then abated. Two field-pieces
were sent to Lord Stirling, which soon began to play upon the enemy,
who returned the fire from four field-pieces. The two parties stood
opposed to each other for near five hours, without either seeming to
have the advantage, keeping up a continual fire from their
field-pieces, and musketry, with some intervals.--About 8 o'clock
General Sullivan sent (went?) down the flat (bush) middle (road) and
inquired of the guards whether they discovered any movements of the
enemy in either of the roads. He was informed that the whole body of
the enemy had moved up the Yellow Hook road, whereupon he ordered
another battalion to the assistance of lord Stirling, keeping 800 men
to guard the pass.--About 9 o'clock, the enemy, who came by the
Halfway House, advancing, began a fire in the rear of the party and
advanced briskly to attack the men who guarded that Pass. General
Sullivan hearing at the same instant that the enemy were passing
through the woods to attack Lord Stirling in the rear, ordered 400 men
to succor him, and sent him orders to retreat as soon as possible. The
enemy then wheeled off to the right, and marched up to Fort Green in a
column to attack.--Upon receiving a heavy fire from the lines, were
forced to retire. They then fell back, and endeavored to cut off Lord
Stirling's retreat by destroying his party. He, with a party of his
troops' made an attempt on the enemy's left, commanded by Lord
Cornwallis, and ordered the rest of the troops to retreat across the
creek, which they did with some loss. The number of the enemy engaged
was not less than 11,000; of ours not more than 3,000. The enemy's
loss in killed was over 1,000, exceeding ours.

     [From the _South Carolina and American General Gazette_,
     Charleston, Oct. 2, 1776, as reprinted in the _Brooklyn

[No. 20.]


In the Spring of 1776, I was appointed to the command of a regiment of
riflemen, consisting of 1,000 men, formed in two battalions.... My
regiment was soon ordered to join the army at New York. At that time
General Washington had 24,000 men in his army, upwards of 7,000 of
whom were returned sick and unfit for duty.

On the landing of the British army on Long Island, I was ordered over
with my rifle regiment to watch their motions. I marched near to the
village of Flat Bush, where the Highlanders then lay, but they moved
the next day to Gen'l Howe's camp, and their place was supplied by the
Hessians. I lay here within cannon shot of the Hessian camp for four
days without receiving a single order from Gen'l Sullivan, who
commanded on Long Island, out of the lines. The day before the action
he came to the camp, and I then told him the situation of the British
Army; that Gen'l Howe, with the main body, lay on my left, about a
mile and a-half or two miles, and I was convinced when the army moved
that Gen'l Howe would fall into the Jamaica road, and I hoped there
were troops there to watch them. Notwithstanding this information,
which indeed he might have obtained from his own observation, if he
had attended to his duty as a General ought to have done; no steps
were taken, but there was a small redoubt in front of the village
which seemed to take up the whole of his attention, and where he
stayed until the principal part of the British army had gotten between
him and the lines, by which means he was made prisoner as well as
myself. If Gen'l Sullivan had taken the requisite precaution, and
given his orders agreeably to the attention of the Commander-in-Chief,
there would have been few if any prisoners taken on the 27th of
August, 1776. As Gordon in his history of the war has charged me
indirectly with not doing my duty, I will here state my position and

I lay directly in front of the village of Flat Bush, but on the left
of the road leading to New York, where the Hessians were Encamped. We
were so near each other, that their shells they sometimes fired went
many rods beyond my camp. The main body of the Enemy, under the
immediate command of Gen'l Howe, lay about 2 miles to my left, and
General Grant, with another body of British troops, lay about four
miles on my right. There were several small bodies of Americans
dispersed to my right, but not a man to my left, although the main
body of the Enemy lay to my left, of which I had given General
Sullivan notice. This was our situation on the 26th of August. About
one o'clock at night Gen. Grant, on the right, and Gen. Howe, on my
left began their march, and by daylight Grant had got within a mile of
our entrenchments, and Gen. Howe had got into the Jamaica road about
two miles from our lines. The Hessians kept their position until 7 in
the morning. As soon as they moved the firing began at our redoubt. I
immediately marched towards where firing was, but had not proceeded
more than 1 or 200 yards until I was stopped by Colonel Wyllys, who
told me that I could not pass on; that we were to defend a road that
lead from Flatbush road to the Jamaica road. Col. Wyllys bearing a
Continental, and I a State commission, he was considered a senior
officer and I was obliged to submit; but I told him I was convinced
the main body of the enemy would take the Jamaica road, that there was
no probability of their coming along the road he was then guarding,
and if he would not let me proceed to where the firing was, I would
return and endeavor to get into the Jamaica road before Gen. Howe. To
this he consented, and I immediately made a retrograde march, and
after marching nearly two miles, the whole distance through woods, I
arrived within sight of the Jamaica road, and to my great
mortification I saw the main body of the enemy in full march between
me and our lines, and the baggage guard just coming into the road. A
thought struck me of attacking the baggage guard, and, if possible, to
cut my way through them and proceed to Hell Gate to cross the Sound.
I, however, ordered the men to remain quite still, (I had then but the
first battalion with me, for the second being some distance in the
rear, I directed Major Williams, who was on horseback, to return and
order Lt. Col. Brodhead to push on by the left of the enemy and
endeavor get into our lines that way, and happily they succeeded, but
had to wade a mill dam by which a few were drowned,) and I took the
adjutant with me and crept as near the road as I thought prudent, to
try and ascertain the number of the baggage guard, and I saw a
grenadier stepping into the woods. I got a tree between him and me
until he came near, and I took him prisoner and examined him. I found
that there was a whole brigade with the baggage, commanded by a
general officer.

I immediately returned to the battalion and called a council of the
officers and laid three propositions before them: 1_st_, to attack the
baggage guard and endeavor to cut our way through them and proceed to
Hell Gate and so cross the Sound; 2_nd_, to lay where we were until
the whole had passed us and then proceed to Hell Gate; or, 3_d_, to
endeavor to force our way through the enemy's flank guards into our
line at Brooklyn. The first was thought a dangerous and useless
attempt as the enemy was so superior in force. The 2nd I thought the
most eligible, for it was evident that adopting either of the other
propositions we must lose a number of men without affecting the enemy
materially, as we had so small a force, not more than 230 men. This
was, however, objected to, under the idea that we should be blamed for
not fighting at all, and perhaps charged with cowardice, which would
be worse than death itself. The 3d proposition was therefore adopted,
and we immediately began our march, but had not proceeded more than
half a mile until we fell in with a body of 7 or 800 light infantry,
which we attacked without any hesitation, but their superiority of
numbers encouraged them to march up with their bayonets, which we
could not withstand, having none ourselves. I therefore ordered the
Troops to push on towards our lines. I remained on the ground myself
until they had all passed me, (the enemy were then within less than 20
yards of us,) and by this means I came into the rear instead of the
front of my command. We had proceeded but a short distance before we
were again engaged with a superior body of the enemy, and here we lost
a number of men, but took Major Moncrieffe, their commanding officer,
prisoner, but he was a Scotch prize for Ensign Brodhead, who took him
and had him in possession for some hours, was obliged to surrender
himself. Finding that the enemy had possession of the ground between
us and our lines, and that it was impossible to cut our way through as
a body, I directed the men to make the best of their way as well as
they could; some few got in safe, but there were 159 taken prisoners.
I was myself entirely cut off from our lines and therefore endeavored
to conceal myself, with a few men who would not leave me. I hoped to
remain until night, when I intended to try to get to Hell Gate and
cross the Sound; but about 3 o'clock in the afternoon was discovered
by a party of Hessians and obliged to surrender--thus ended the career
of that day.

     [Penn. Archives, Second Series, Vol. I.]

[No. 21.]




I doubt not the Hon'ble the Convention of the State of Penn'a, is
anxious to know the state of the Provincial Troops since the Battle on
Long Island, and as I have now all the information to be expected
concerning it for the present, will give them every circumstance that
occurs to me. On the 26th of last month, Gen'ls Putnam, Sullivan and
others came to our camp which was to the left of all the other posts
and proceeded to reconnoitre the enemie's lines to the right, when
from the movements of the enemy they might plainly discover they were
advancing towards Jamaica, and extending their lines to the left so as
to march round us, for our lines to the left, were, for want of
Videttes, left open for at least four miles where we constantly
scouted by Day, which beside mounting a Guard of one hundred men & an
advance party of subaltern and thirty to the left of us, was hard Duty
for our Reg't: during the night of the 26th, we were alarmed three
Different times and stood to our Arms. As soon as it was light, Col.
Miles, from the right of our first Battn, sent me orders to follow
him with the second, to the left of our lines; when I had marched
about half a mile, I was ordered to the right about to join Col.
Willis's regt of New England troops, but by the time I returned to
the camp, Major Williams on horseback, overtook me with orders from
Col. Miles, to march Obliquely & join him, but could not say where I
might find him; I Observed the orders and directed a Subaltern from
the front of the Battn (which was marching in Indian file) with a
small party to the left of the Battn, and desired Major Patton to
send a Subaltern & small party from the rear to the right of the front
of the Battalion, which he mistook and took the one-half of the
Battn to the right, about two hundred yards, which immediately
threw the half the Battn, so far to the rear as to render it very
difficult to join without sustaining great loss, for presently after
we left our camp we discovered the Enemie's horse & foot to the number
of four or five Thousand in our front, and as we could discover
nothing of the first Battn, the Enemy being vastly superior to us
in Number, I immediately ordered the Battn to gain a Wood to the
left and then formed, but seeing a Number of Artillerymen dragging a
brass field-piece & Howit through a clear field in order to gain a
wood a little to the left of our Front, and knowing the Enemy were
also in our rear, I ordered that part of the Battn which was then
with me, to proceed to the second wood, & cover the Artillery and make
a stand, but the New England Regt aforementioned coming up with us,
and running thro' our files broke them, and in the confusion many of
our men run with them. I did all in my power to rally the musquetry &
Riflemen, but to no purpose, so that when we came to engage the Enemy,
I had not fifty men, notwithstanding which, we after about three
Rounds, caused the Enemy to retire, and as the Enemy's main body was
then nearly between us and the lines, I retreated to the lines, having
lost out of the whole Battalion, about one hundred men, officers
included, which, as they were much scattered, must be chiefly
prisoners; during this time, four or five Reg'ts, among which were our
musquetry & flying Camp, Delaware & Maryland Reg'ts, and some of our
Riflemen who had joined them, were engaged to the left of us and right
of the Lines. I had no sooner got into the Lines than the Enemy
advanced up to them and kept up a brisk fire on us, but only one man
killed in the Lines; as soon as we returned the fire with our rifles
and musquetry, they retreated, and if we had been provided with a
field piece or two, of which we had a sufficient number elsewhere, we
might have killed the greater part of their advance party; as soon as
the Enemy were beaten from the lines, I was ordered to a point about a
mile and a-half to the right, to cover the retreat of the Delaware
Battalion and the other Troops that might come over under the constant
fire of the Enemie's field pieces and Howits; here I remained 'till
almost night before I was relieved, notwithstanding the Generals there
had a number of Reg'ts who were not engaged, and had had little or no
fatigue. Upon the whole, less Generalship never was shown in any Army
since the Art of War was understood, except in the retreat from Long
Island, which was well conducted. No troops could behave better than
the Southern, for though they seldom engaged less than five to one,
they frequently repulsed the Enemy with great Slaughter, and I am
confident that the number of killed and wounded on their side, is
greater than on ours, notwithstanding we had to fight them front &
rear under every disadvantage. I understand that Gen. Sullivan has
taken the Liberty to charge our brave and good Col. Miles, with the
ill success of the Day, but give me leave to say, that if Gen.
Sullivan & the rest of the Gen'ls on Long Island, had been as Vigilant
& prudent as him, we might, & in all probability would have cut off
Clinton's Brigade; our officers & men in general, considering the
confusion, behaved as well as men could do--a very few behaved ill, of
which, when I am informed, will write you.... Col. Miles & Col. Piper
are prisoners, and I hear are well treated, poor Atly I can hear
nothing of. Col. Parry died like a Hero. No allowance has as yet been
made for the Lieutenant Coll's and Majors Table Expenses, in care of
separate commands. I hope we shall be put upon as respectable a
footing on that acc't as the Maryland officers are, our present pay
being not more than half sufficient to support us according to our
Rank in this Tory Country.

I am Dear Sir, in great Haste, your most H'ble Serv't

P.S. The Great Gen'l Putnam could not, tho' requested, send out one
Reg't to cover our retreat.

     [Penn. Archives, First Series, Vol. V.]

[No. 22.]



[LONG ISLAND, Feb. 26 (?) 1776.][234]

[Footnote 234: At the time of writing this letter, Col. Douglas was
Major of Ward's regiment which enlisted for six weeks' service under
Lee, and which was stationed by him on Long Island. The fortification
they were soon to begin was Fort Stirling.]


Our Regiment is now stationed on _Long Island_ at and about the ferry.
We shall soon begin a fortification on this side that will command the
East River and the town. The troops in the City are fortifying in one
of the Streets that will command the old fort, if the Enemy should get
possession of it, (and are putting down the rear of the fort.) We have
begun another Fort near "Hell Gate." The men of war have dropped down
below the town and are very quiet, but supplied from the City by
orders of this Congress. Our troops are very hearty and fare well as
times will admit, most of the valuable articles are moved out of the
City, and one third of the inhabitants. What are left behind look
serious, as it is now a serious point with them. The destruction of
such a City as this would be a great loss, & I hope it will be
prevented. It will be in vain for us to expect to keep the shipping
out of the North River, unless we can fortify at the Narrows, where I
intend to view as soon as the weather is good. The Fenoex now lays
there in order to guard that place, but will not fire on us.

NEW YORK, July 20th, 1776.

You have likely heard before this that two ships passed this City
yesterday week, through a warm fire from our batteries, our Gunners
being in too much haste (I make no doubt,) was the occasion of our not
doing them much damage! and us the _loss_ of 4 men in loading our
Cannon. The Enemy did us no harm by their own shot and shells, which
was warmly applied,--as soon as the fire had got pretty warm I receivd
orders to march my Regt to the grand parade which brought us into
Broadway, that leads along the North River, and as we were on our
march in Broadway the tyrants did not fail to pelt at that part of the
town smartly, but luckily for us the houses fended off the shot very
well, &c.... My Regt is now quartered in _Broad Street_.

N. YORK the 27th July, 1776.

No new arrivals of the enemy. The ships that went up the River I
believe would now be glad they were safe back to their old station (by
their motion). I had the Honor to dine with his Excellency Genl.
Washington day before yesterday at which time he had nothing new from
any quarter....

NEW YORK Aug. 10, 1776.

The enemy have a very formidable Army (some say more) but I suppose
equal in number to ours, and from the best intelligence it is expected
they will give us Battle soon, at which time I hope God in his
infinite mercy will be on our side, and we shall have no occasion to
dread their numbers, or experience. Our cause being so _just_, I
cannot but hope for success. Our lines are very extensive. The Enemy
are very compact, and together; at what place they will bend their
fury is unknown, but is expected to be at this City, and Long Island.
There sailed night before last, three Frigates and thirty transports
from the Hook, supposed to be gone round the east end of Long Island,
and are to come through the Sound, and land on the main to the
Eastward of us, whilst the Shipping goes up the north river, and lands
above us and endeavor to meet. If this be their plan I think we must
most surely work them! I suppose they may possibly fire the town, as
the buildings are many of them wood & very dry. But I do not believe
they will fire the town until they grow dubious about the victory, and
that will only serve to encourage us, and when the town is burned it
will be much easier to defend ourselves than at present. If the
"_Hessian_" troops are so lucky as to fall into our hands I am in
hopes they will meet with such treatment as properly belongs to their
Bloody crimes! For we have had no dispute with them but [they] have
turned themselves out as murderers of the innocent.

N. YORK, 13th of Augst 1776.

There was 43 large Ships came in yesterday--31 Ships, 10 Brigs & one
Scow. I am now going to sound the channel to see if it will not do to
sink some vessels against the fort....

NEW YORK, Augst 23, 1776.

... The Enemy landed yesterday on Long Island, at _Gravesend_, about
nine miles from our lines; our flying parties are annoying them all
the while. We have reinforced our side and I hope will be able to make
a good stand. We expect the fleet up every tide, if the wind serves.
Our fire ships in the North River have behaved manfully, have burnt
one of their tenders. The rest of the enemy left the river the first
opportunity afterwards. Our _Connecticut_ Militia have come in
_bravely_; _twelve Regts_ were on the grand parade yesterday at one
time! Almost one half of the grand army now consists of _Connecticut

NEW YORK, Saturday, Augst 24, 1776.

... Our men had yesterday two small brushes with the enemy on Long
Island, and repulsed them both times. As yet things look well on our
side; a few days will now determine as the work is begun. Our troops
are really in high spirits, and it is a general voice, let them come
on as they _can_ or dare! There has been a heavy clashing of Arms on
Long Island this morning, but have not yet heard the Consequence....

N. YORK, Augst 26th 1776.

I am very well although many in the Regt are sick. We have not had
any general action yet. The two Armies are intrenched on Long Island
very near each other and very often exchange a few shots. We have had
no considerable loss as yet. Col. Martin of the Jersey's is supposed
to be mortally wounded. Both the lines are constantly reinforcing, and
by all appearances a general action can't be far off; we have got the
advantage of the hills & woods, they of the plains. We shall not
approach their lines, and if they do ours, it must cost them dear. The
wind and tide served this morning, but they have not dared to give us
battle in the City yet. The Lieut. Col. of the first battalion of York
troops is now before a court marshall for treacherous behavior, and by
the best accounts he will undoubtedly lose his life. I hope God in his
providence will guard us from falling by our open enemy, and from all
_traiterous wretches_.... It is expected that they mean to give battle
at two places at one and the same time, that is Long Island, and this

N. YORK, Augst 31, 1776.

I take this as the first opportunity to acquaint you that on Tuesday
last we got a severe flogging on Long Island. The enemy surrounded a
large detachment of our army, took many, killed some, and the rest got
off. Major Genl. Sullivan & Brigr Genl. Lord Sterling, Col. Clark
and several other field officers are prisoners. Col. Johnson was
killed. By the best act's we killed more of them than they did of us.
But they took the most prisoners. We took twenty one, which I am a
witness to, as they came through my Regt as I was in the woods for
a covering party, and to prevent the enemy from flanking our right
wing. We were prevented from getting even one shot at them by a large
creek which we could not cross. I remained at the most extreme part of
the right wing of our Army in a thick wood to prevent their crossing a
creek, where our sentry's could hail and often fire at each other,
until night before last when I received orders to call in my guard
_all_, and march immediately with the utmost silence, which was soon
done, and the whole army retreated into this city, without the loss of
any lives, except 4 or 5, which were late yesterday morning and were
shot in a boat, as they were coming off. We have also evacuated
Governor's Island where we have lost some Cannon. What is to be our
next manouver I can't tell but I hope it is to make a good stand
somewhere. I am well convinced that for us to try to defend Long
Island, New York, and the Jersey's against their land forces &
shipping will require _three armies_ as large as theirs, as they have
the water carriage to place their men when & where they please. Many
people I suppose will wonder at our leaving Long Island. But I would
have them suspend their judgment for a while, as they know not our
situation or the _enemies_! The shipping lay now close by the city,
and can in half an hour be abreast of it with the tide. I expect we
[shall] soon have a cannonade from our own battery on Long Island,
(Fort Sterling) which I have the mortification to think I helped build
myself, in cold tedious weather! They fired smartly from it yesterday
at our boats passing from Governor's Island....

  Septr 7th 1776.

Our Army is now in three grand Divisions. One at the City, which is
our _right_ wing, commanded by Genl. Putnam, one at and above Kings
Bridge, commanded by Genl Heath, and one at and about Harlem,
commanded by Genl Spencer, which is the Division that I belong to, and
is called the Center Division. I have three Regts of militia in my
Brigade and they give me much fatigue & trouble. Col's. Cook,
Pettibone, & Talcott are the commanders. We are encouraged by 1500
Troops which have come in from Maryland. I am sorry to say it but it
is a truth, I do not believe that we have got in all our Army as many
men as the enemy. I have heard that it has been said in the country
that we should not have left Long Island, but salied out and drove the
enemy off. We never were more than _one_ to _three_, on the Island,
neither was it so prudent to abandon other posts for that, as the
shipping could & have since come up the East River and then our
communication was gone, and the Army with it. We are now so as one
part can get to the other, without water carriage, & think if we will
only stand by each other, and not run home like cowards, with God's
blessing, we may keep them off, which is a victory of itself! I have
taken unwearied pains with the Militia, and I am afraid it is too much
fatigue for me, as my cough is a little increased. But I hope it is
only for a short time.... My expenses has been so large that my money
falls a little short. I was obliged to entirely support the sick of my
Regt for some time, but I suppose you have none to spare. I shall
make out, but not so well as I could wish....

  18th Sept 1776.

Since I wrote last we have had different scenes to go through. I lay
with my brigade a little below Turtle Bay where we hove up lines for
more than one mile in length. Gen'l Wadsworth managed the lines on the
right and I on the left. We lay in the lines Friday and Saturday
nights. Sunday morning at break of day, five ships weighed anchor and
fell in close within a musket shot of our lines quite to the left of
me. I then moved my brigade abreast of them. They lay very quiet until
10 o'clock and by that time they had about 80 of their boats from
under Long Island shore full with men which contained about five or
six thousand and four transports full ready to come in the second
boats. They very suddenly began as heavy a canonade perhaps as ever
was from no more ships, as they had nothing to molest them, but to
fire on us at their pleasure, from their tops and everywhere--their
boats got under cover of the smoke of the shipping and then struck to
the left of my lines in order to cut me of from a retreat. My left
wing gave way which was formed of the militia. I lay myself on the
right wing waiting for the boats until Capt Prentice came to me and
told me, if I meant to save myself to leave the lines for that was the
orders on the left and that they had left the lines. I then told my
men to make the best of their way as I found I had but about ten left
with me. They soon moved out and I then made the best of my way out.
We then had a mile to retreat through as hot a fire as could well be
made but they mostly overshot us. The brigade was then in such a
scattered poster that I could not collect them and I found the whole
army on a retreat. The regulars came up in the rear and gave me
several platoons at a time when I had none of my men with me and I was
so beat out that they would have had me a prisoner had not I found an
officer that was obliged to leave his horse because he could not get
him over a fence so as to get out of their way. I found myself gone if
I could not ride. I went over the fence and got the horse over whilst
they were firing, mounted him and rode off. We halted here at night
and on Monday the enemy came on and we gave them a good drubbing. I
have not time to give you the particulars of any part of our action. I
have lost my major, a prisoner,--One sargeant or more killed and four
wounded,--have missing out of my brigade which sustained the whole
fire but 8 or 9 as yet. I hope God will be on our side at last. It is
memoriable that I have lost no more and God be praised for it. Our
lines are now good and if they dare come on without their shipping I
hope we shall give them a drubbing. In the utmost haste

From your faithful husband

I this moment received yours of the 8th inst, but have not got my
horse yet. he is left on the road. My love to the children.

WHITE PLAINS 31st Octr, 1776.

On Monday the enemy advanced to attack us at this place. I was ordered
out with my regiment with three others to meet and endeavor to retard
their march. We moved on and at about twelve were attacked by their
advanced guard. We drove them back but soon after the main body came
on and we stood them until they got on our flank and I ordered a
retreat. We had a most severe fire to retreat under, ten men to our
one, but we came off in good order and very surely fired on our
retreat all the way. I lost three dead and five wounded. They cut my
regiment off from our main body and got ahead of me but I took
advantage of a wood and got clear of them. My regiment has the honour
of behaving most nobly. They are now near neighbors, our lines are
about half a mile.

     [Originals in possession of Benj. Douglas, Esq., Middletown,

[No. 23.]



JAMAICA, August 27th, 1776.

GENTLEMEN--I am now at Jamaica with less than 100 men, having brought
all the cattle from the westward and southward of the hills, and have
sent them off with the troops of horse, with orders to take all the
rest eastward of this place, to the eastward of Hempstead Plains, to
put them into fields and to set a guard over them.

The enemy, I am informed, are entrenching southward, and from the
heights near Howard's.

I have now received yours, with several resolutions, which I wish it
was in my power to put in execution; but unless Cols. Smith and
Remsen, mentioned in yours, join me with their regiments, or some
other assistance immediately, I shall not be able, for the people are
all moving east, and I cannot get any assistance from them. I shall
continue here as long as I can, in hopes of a reinforcement; but if
none comes soon, I shall retreat and drive the stock before me into
the woods.

Cols. Smith and Remsen, I think, cannot join me. Unless you can send
me some other assistance, I fear I shall soon be obliged to quit this
place. I hope soon to hear from you.

I am, gentlemen, your most humble serv't.


Inclosed I send you a letter from Col. Potter, who left me yesterday
at 11 o'clock, after bringing about 100 men to me at Jamaica. Major
Smith, I expect has all the rest that were to come from Suffolk
county. There have about 40 of the militia joined me from the
regiments in Queens county, and about 50 of the troop belonging to
Kings and Queens counties, which is nearly all I expect. I have got
all the cattle southward of the hills in Kings county, to the eastward
of the cross-road between the two counties, and have placed guards and
sentinels from the north road to the south side of the Island, in
order to prevent the cattle's going back, and to prevent the
communication of the tories with the enemy. I am within about six
miles of the enemy's camp: their light horse have been within about
two miles, and unless I have more men, our stay here will answer no
purpose. We shall soon want to be supplied with provisions, if we
tarry here.

JAMAICA, August 28th, 1776.

I must again let you know my situation. I have about 70 men and about
20 of the troop, which is all the force I have or can expect, and I am
daily growing less in number. The people are so alarmed in Suffolk,
that they will not any more of them march; and as to Cols. Smith and
Remsen, they cannot join me, for the communication is cut off between
us. I have sent about 1100 cattle to the great fields on the plains,
yesterday. About 300 more have gone off this morning to the same
place, and I have ordered a guard of an officer and seven privates.
They can get no water in those fields. My men and horses are worn out
with fatigue. The cattle are not all gone off towards Hempstead. I
ordered them off yesterday; but they were not able to take them along.
I yesterday brought about 300 from Newtown. I think the cattle are in
as much danger on the north side as on the south side; and have
ordered the inhabitants to remove them, if you cannot send me an
immediate reinforcement.

     [Journals of the New York Provincial Congress.]

[No. 24.]


LONG-ISLAND, Aug. 28th, 1776.

SIR--I was just now honored with your favor of this date, with General
Woodhull's letter, and should esteem myself happy, were it in my power
to afford the assistance required, but the enemy having landed a
considerable part of their force, here, and at the same time may have
reserved some to attack New-York, it is the opinion, not only of
myself, but of all my general officers I have had an opportunity of
consulting with, that the men we have are not more than competent to
the defence of those lines, and the several posts which must be
defended. This reason, and this alone, prevents my complying with your
request. I shall beg leave to mention, in confidence, that a few days
ago, upon the enemy's first landing here, I wrote to Governor
Trumbull, recommending him to throw over a body of 1000 men on the
Island to annoy the enemy in their rear, if the state of the colony
would admit of it. Whether it will be done I cannot determine. That
colony having furnished a large proportion of men, I was, and still
am, doubtful whether it could be done. If it could, I am satisfied it
will, from the zeal and readiness they have ever shown to give every
possible succour. I am hopeful they will be in a condition to do it;
and if they are, those troops, I doubt not, will be ready and willing
to give General Woodhull any assistance he may want. But cannot the
militia effect what he wishes to do? They, I believe, must be depended
on in the present instance for relief.

I have the honor to be, in great haste,
  Sir, your most obedient servant,

     [Journals of the New York Provincial Congress.]

[No. 25.]



N. YORK. Aug. 15th, 1776.

DEAR SIR, ... Great Changes[235] and Alterations have lately been
made; it gives me much Uneasiness that your Regiment is not going with
mine; can't learn what kind of a Place it is we are ordered to take,
but I sat out with a Determination to go anywhere & do anything, that
I was ordered to do--were you going up there with your Regiment, with
me, I should not wish to be better off. hope however we shall be able
to defend Ourselves against Rattle Snakes without you, which I am told
are very Plenty there; The General thinks however they [the enemy]
will attempt to take & occupy the River on both Sides there &
consequently has ordered two more of the established Regiments there;
if they come (& come they certainly will in a few Days) I will defend
the Place as long as I can; they have certainly been embarking for a
Day or two; I am yet fully of the Belief they will Land on Long Island
for One of their Places & where else I don't know, but I'm fully
persuaded, in more Places than One, I wish you & your Regiment all
Happiness. I know you will all play the man--the critical Hour of
America is come; beat 'em once, they are gone--

Compliments Mr. Coleman.
  Dear Sir Adieu

[Footnote 235: Col. Hitchcock had been ordered to Burdett's Ferry,
opposite Fort Washington, on the Jersey side, but returned to Long
Island on the landing of the enemy.]

AUG. 29th 1776.

The Wrench I recd in my Back by the Starting of my Horse at my Gun
just as I was mounting him, was so great that I scarcely got off from
my Bed next Day, but feel much better of it now; I hear the Regulars
have built a Fort on the Hill east of Fort Putnam; I am astonished
that our People are not building two Forts where you & I have always
contended for Forts to [be] built. For Heaven's Sake apply to the
Generals yourself & urge the Necessity of it; let two Forts be built
there, & another just such abbatee as is built between Forts Greene &
Putnam, from Water to Water; it can be done in a Day--cut every apple
tree down--if our People are in Spirits; between us, I think our
Salvation depends upon it for their Bombs will drive us out of Fort
Putnam, & if they attempt to force & should get thro', we have 'em
between two Fires.

     [Originals in possession of Chas. J. Little, Esq.,
     Cambridge, Mass.]

[No. 26.]


The movements of the enemy indicating an intention to approach New
York by the way of Long Island, Gen. Washington ordered about 10,000
men to embark and cross the East River at Brooklyn. The regiment to
which I belonged was among the first that crossed over, and, on the
27th of August, the whole British army, consisting of their own
native troops, Hessians, Brunswickers, Waldeckers, etc, to the number
of at least 25,000 men, with a most formidable train of field
artillery, landed near Flatbush, under cover of their shipping, and
moved towards Jamaica and Brooklyn. As our troops had advanced to meet
the enemy, the action soon commenced, and was continued, at intervals,
through most of the day. Before such an overwhelming force of
disciplined troops, our small band could not maintain their ground and
the main body retired within their lines at Brooklyn, while a body of
Long Island Militia, under Gen. Woodhull, took their stand at Jamaica.
Here Gen. Woodhull was taken prisoner and inhumanly killed. The main
body of our army, under Major-Gen. Sullivan and Lord Stirling, fought
in detached bodies, and on the retreat both of those officers were
made prisoners. I also lost a brother the same day, who fell into
their hands, and was afterwards literally starved to death in one of
their prisons; nor would the enemy suffer relief from his friends to
be afforded to him.

This was the first time in my life that I had witnessed the awful
scene of a battle, when man was engaged to destroy his fellow man. I
well remember my sensations on the occasion, for they were solemn
beyond description, and very hardly could I bring my mind to be
willing to attempt the life of a fellow-creature. Our army having
retired beyond their intrenchment, which extended from Vanbrunt's
Mills, on the West, to the East River, flanked occasionally by
redoubts, the British army took their position, in full array,
directly in front of our position. Our intrenchment was so weak, that
it is most wonderful the British General did not attempt to storm it
soon after the battle, in which his troops had been victorious. Gen.
Washington was so fully aware of the perilous situation of this
division of his army, that he immediately convened a council of war,
at which the propriety of retiring to New York was decided on. After
sustaining incessant fatigue and constant watchfulness for two days
and nights, attended by heavy rain, exposed every moment to an attack
from a vastly superior force in front, and to be cut off from the
possibility of retreat to New York, by the fleet, which might enter
the East River, on the night of the 29th of August, Gen. Washington
commenced recrossing his troops from Brooklyn to New York. To move so
large a body of troops, with all their necessary appendages, across a
river full a mile wide, with a rapid current, in face of a victorious,
well disciplined army, nearly three times as numerous as his own, and
a fleet capable of stopping the navigation, so that not one boat could
have passed over, seemed to present most formidable obstacles. But, in
the face of these difficulties, the Commander-in-Chief so arranged his
business, that on the evening of the 29th, by 10 o'clock, the
troops began to retire from the lines in such a manner that no chasm
was made in the lines, but as one regiment left their station on
guard, the remaining troops moved to the right and left and filled up
the vacancies, while Gen. Washington took his station at the ferry,
and superintended the embarkation of the troops. It was one of the
most anxious, busy nights that I ever recollect, and being the third
in which hardly any of us had closed our eyes to sleep, we were all
greatly fatigued. As the dawn of the next day approached, those of us
who remained in the trenches became very anxious for our own safety,
and when the dawn appeared there were several regiments still on duty.
At this time a very dense fog began to rise, and it seemed to settle
in a peculiar manner over both encampments. I recollect this peculiar
providential occurrence perfectly well; and so very dense was the
atmosphere that I could scarcely discern a man at six yards' distance.

When the sun rose we had just received orders to leave the lines, but
before we reached the ferry, the Commander-in-Chief sent one of his
Aids to order the regiment to repair again to their former station on
the lines. Col. Chester immediately faced to the right about and
returned, where we tarried until the sun had risen, but the fog
remained as dense as ever. Finally, the second order arrived for the
regiment to retire, and we very joyfully bid those trenches a long
adieu. When we reached Brooklyn ferry, the boats had not returned
from their last trip, but they very soon appeared and took the whole
regiment over to New York; and I think I saw Gen. Washington on the
ferry stairs when I stepped into one of the last boats that received
the troops. I left my horse tied to a post at the ferry.

The troops having now all safely reached New York, and the fog
continuing as thick as ever, I began to think of my favorite horse,
and requested leave to return and bring him off. Having obtained
permission, I called for a crew of volunteers to go with me, and
guiding the boat myself, I obtained my horse and got off some distance
into the river before the enemy appeared in Brooklyn.

As soon as they reached the ferry, we were saluted merrily from their
musketry, and finally by their field pieces; but we returned in
safety. In the history of warfare, I do not recollect a more fortunate
retreat. After all, the providential appearance of the fog saved a
part of our army from being captured, and certainly myself among
others who formed the rear guard. Gen. Washington has never received
the credit which was due to him for this wise and most fortunate

As the enemy showed a disposition to cross over into Westchester, Gen.
Washington removed the main body of his army up to the White Plains,
taking possession of the high ground North and East of the town. Here
he seemed determined to take his stand, his lines extending from a
mountain on the right, called Chadderton's Hill, to a lake or large
pond of water on his left. An intrenchment was thrown up from right to
left, behind which our army formed. Long poles with iron pikes upon
them, supplied the want of bayonets. Chadderton's Hill was separated
from the right of our intrenchment by a valley of some extent, with
the river Bronx directly before it; but being within cannon shot of
our intrenchment on the right, Gen. Washington thought it best to
occupy it, and ordered Gen. McDougall, with 800 or 1000 men, to defend
it, and if driven from it, to retire upon the right of the line. The
American army were all at their several posts on the last September
and beginning of October; and here it looked as if Gen. Washington
intended to give battle to the British army. On the 27th October,
1776, it was announced at Head Quarters that the enemy was in motion
from Westchester, through Eastchester, directly toward the White
Plains. A detachment of 2000, or 3000 men was ordered to proceed on
the Old York road to meet the enemy in front. As _our brigade_ formed
a part of the force, I, of course, was among them. Before the dawn of
day, on the 28th of October, we learned that the enemy were in full
march directly in front of us. Gen. Spencer, who commanded this body
of troops in advance, immediately made the necessary disposition to
receive the enemy, having the river Bronx on our right, and between us
and the troops on Chadderton's Hill. At the dawn of day, the Hessian
column advanced within musket shot of our troops, when a full
discharge of musketry warned them of their danger. At first they fell
back, but rallyed again immediately, and the column of British troops
having advanced upon our left, made it necessary to retire. As stone
walls were frequent, our troops occasionally formed behind them, and
poured a destructive fire into the Hessian ranks.

It, however, became necessary to retreat wholly before such an
overwhelming force. To gain Chadderton's Hill, it became necessary to
cross the Bronx, which was fordable at that place. The troops
immediately entered the river and ascended the Hill, while I being in
the rear, and mounted on horseback, endeavored to hasten the last of
our troops, the Hessians then being within musket shot. When I reached
the bank of the river, and was about to enter it, our chaplain, the
Rev. Dr. Trumbull, sprang up behind me on my horse, and came with such
force as to carry me with my accoutrements, together with himself,
headlong into the river. This so entirely disconcerted me, that by the
time I reached the opposite bank of the river, the Hessian troops were
about to enter it, and considered me as their prisoner. As we ascended
the hill, I filed off to the right, expecting our troops on the hill
would soon give them a volley. When they had advanced within a few
yards of a stone wall, behind which Gen. McDougall had placed them,
our troops poured upon the Hessian column, under Gen. Rahl, such a
destructive fire, that they retreated down the hill in disorder,
leaving a considerable number of the corps on the field. This relieved
me from my perilous situation, and I immediately remounted my horse,
and taking my course in the valley, directly between the hostile
armies, I rode to Head Quarters, near the Court-house, and informed
Gen. Washington of the situation of the troops on Chadderton's Hill.
The enemy having rallied, and being reinforced, made a second attempt
upon Gen. McDougall's detachment, who gave them a second warm
reception; but, being overpowered, retired upon the right of our line,
then in order of battle. A severe cannonade was kept up from both
armies through the day, and every moment did we expect the enemy would
have attempted to force us from our lines. In the mean time, Gen.
Washington had begun to remove his stores and heavy baggage up to
Northcastle. After remaining in our lines and on constant military
duty for several days and nights, on the 1st of November Gen.
Washington retired with his army to the heights in the neighborhood of

     [Memoir of Col. Benjamin Tallmadge. Prepared by himself. New
     York, 1858.]

[No. 27.]


... One evening while lying here (Turtle Bay) we heard a heavy
cannonade at the city; and before dark saw four of the enemy's ships
that had passed the town and were coming up the East River; they
anchored just below us. These ships were the Phoenix, of 44 guns;
the Roebuck of 44; the Rose of 32; and another the name of which I
have forgotten. Half of our regiment was sent off under the command of
our Major, to man something that were called "lines," although they
were nothing more than a ditch dug along on the bank of the river,
with the dirt thrown out towards the water. They staid in these lines
during the night, and returned to the camp in the morning unmolested.
The other half of the regiment went the next night, under the command
of the Lieut.-Colonel, upon the like errand. We arrived at the lines
about dark, and were ordered to leave our packs in a copse wood, under
a guard, and go into the lines without them; what was the cause of
this piece of _wise_ policy I never knew; but I knew the effects of
it, which was, that I never saw my knapsack from that day to this; nor
did any of the rest of our party, unless they came across them by
accident in our retreat. We "manned the lines" and lay quite
unmolested during the whole night. We had a chain of sentinels quite
up the river for four or five miles in length. At an interval of every
half hour, they passed the watch-word to each other--"All is well." I
heard the British on board their shipping answer, "We will alter your
tune before tomorrow night"--and they were as good as their word for
once. It was quite a dark night, and at daybreak, the first thing that
saluted our eyes, was all the four ships at anchor, with springs upon
their cables, and within musket shot of us. The Phoenix, lying a
little quartering, and her stern toward me, I could read her name as
distinctly as though I had been directly under the stern--. As soon as
it was fairly light, we saw their boats coming out of a creek or cove,
on the Long Island side of the water, filled with British soldiers.
When they came to the edge of the tide, they formed their boats in
line. They continued to augment these forces from the Island until
they appeared like a large clover field in full bloom.... We lay very
quiet in our ditch, waiting their motions, till the sun was an hour or
two high. We heard a cannonade at the city, but our attention was
drawn to our own guests. But they being a little dilatory in their
operations, I stepped into an old warehouse which, stood close by me,
with the door open, inviting me in, and sat down upon a stool; the
floor was strewed with papers which had in some former period been
used in the concerns of the house, but were then lying in woful
confusion. I was very demurely perusing these papers, when, all of a
sudden, there came such a peal of thunder from the British shipping,
that I thought my head would go with the sound. I made a frog's leap
for the ditch, and lay as still as I possibly could, and began to
consider which part of my carcass was to go first. The British played
their parts well; indeed, they had nothing to hinder them. We kept the
lines till they were almost levelled upon us, when our officers seeing
we could make no resistance, and no orders coming from any superior
officer, and that we must soon be entirely exposed to the rake of the
guns, gave the order to leave the lines. In retreating we had to cross
a level clear spot of ground, forty or fifty rods wide, exposed to the
whole of the enemy's fire; and they gave it to us in prime order; the
grape shot and langrage flew merrily, which served to quicken our
motions.... We had not gone far (in the highway) before we saw a party
of men, apparently hurrying on in the same direction with ourselves;
we endeavored hard to overtake them, but on approaching them we found
that they were not of our way of thinking; they were Hessians. We
immediately altered our course and took the main road leading to
King's bridge. We had not long been on this road before we saw another
party, just ahead of us, whom we knew to be Americans; just as we
overtook these, they were fired upon by a party of British from a
corn-field, and all was immediately in confusion again. I believe the
enemies' party was small; but our people were all militia, and the
demons of fear and disorder seemed to take full possession of all and
everything on that day. When I came to the spot where the militia were
fired upon the ground was literally covered with arms, knapsacks,
staves, coats, hats and old oil flasks, perhaps some of those from the
Madeira town cellar in New York.... Several of the regiment were
missing among whom was our major; he was a fine man, and his loss was
much regretted by the men of the regiment. We lay that night upon the
ground which the regiment occupied when I came up with it. The next
day in the forenoon, the enemy, as we expected, followed us "hard up"
and were advancing through a level field; our rangers and some few
other light troops under the command of Col. Knowlton, of Connecticut
and Major Leitch of (I, believe) Virginia, were in waiting for them.
Seeing them advancing, the rangers, &c, concealed themselves in a deep
gully overgrown with bushes; upon the western verge of this defile was
a post and rail fence, and over that the forementioned field. Our
people let the enemy advance until they arrived at the fence when they
arose and poured in a volley upon them. How many of the enemy were
killed & wounded could not be known, as the British were always as
careful as Indians to conceal their losses. There were, doubtless,
some killed, as I myself counted nineteen ball-holes through a single
rail of the fence at which the enemy were standing when the action
began. The British gave back and our people advanced into the field.
The action soon became warm. Col. Knowlton a brave man and commander
of the detachment, fell in the early part of the engagement. It was
said, by them who saw it, that he lost his valuable life by
unadvisedly exposing himself singly to the enemy. In my boyhood I had
been acquainted with him; he was a brave man and an excellent citizen.
Major Leitch fell soon after, and the troops who were then engaged,
were left with no higher commanders than their captains, but they
still kept the enemy retreating. Our regiment was now ordered into the
field, and we arrived on the ground just as the retreating army were
entering a thick wood, a circumstance as disagreeable to them as it
was agreeable to us, at that period of the war. We soon came to action
with them. The troops engaged being reinforced by our regiment kept
them still retreating, until they found shelter under the cannon of
some of their shipping, lying in the North River. We remained on the
battle ground till nearly sunset, expecting the enemy to attack us
again, but they showed no such inclination that day. The men were very
much fatigued and faint, having had nothing to eat for forty-eight
hours--at least the greater part were in this condition & I among the
rest.... We had eight or ten of our regt killed in the action & a
number wounded, but none of them belonging to our company. Our Lt.
Col. was hit by a grape-shot, which went through his coat, westcoat
and shirt, to the skin on his shoulder, without doing any other damage
than cutting up his epaulette.

     [_A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and
     Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier, etc._ Hallowell, Me.

[No. 28.]


[Footnote 236: Of Col. Samuel Selden's Conn. Regiment.]

CAMP NEAR KING'S BRIDGE, Sept. 20, 1776.

You have most likely heard of our retreat from the city, before this,
but I will give you some of the particulars. Sunday morning last, our
regiment, with a number of other regiments, were ordered to the lines
a little below Turtle Bay, where lay five or six ships within musket
shot of our lines. About six o'clock a most furious cannonade began
from the ships. At the same time the enemy landed a large body of men
a little above where our men were posted, and marched directly for the
main road in order to cut off our retreat, which they had like to have
effected, as the greatest part of our army were from six to fourteen
miles distant from the city. In this skirmish we lost some men though
I think not many. I have been unwell about a fortnight, with a slow
fever and the camp disorder, which prevented my being in the skirmish.
I had not passed the enemy but a little while before the enemy came
up; and if I had been with the regiment at the lines, I was so weak
and feeble, I should without doubt have fallen into their hands. I
have now left the regiment for a few days, and am with brother
Chester, about sixteen miles from the city, getting better....

     [Huntington Family Memoir, p. 164.]

[No. 29.]


[Footnote 237: Aide-de-Camp to General Washington.]

HEAD QUARTERS N. YORK 3rd Sepr 1776.


I have attempted to write to you several times since our Return from
Long Island, but have been as often interrupted by the vast hurry of
Business in which the General is engaged. He is obliged to see into,
and in a Manner fill every Department, which is too much for one
Man--Our Retreat [from Long Island] before an Enemy much superior in
Numbers, over a wide River, and not very well furnished with Boats
certainly does Credit to our Generals. The thing was conducted with so
much Secrecy that neither subalterns or privates knew that the whole
Army was to cross back again to N. York, they thought only a few
Regiments were to go back. General Howe has not yet landed upon this
Island, but I imagine something of that kind is in Agitation, as the
Fleet drew nearer and nearer, they are now about long Cannon Shot from
the Battery, but no firing on either side. We shall be prepared to
meet them here or retreat over Kings Bridge as we shall find Occasion,
our supernumerary and heavy stores are removed, we must leave our
heavy Cannon behind us in Case of Retreat, but I dont know that that
will be any loss, as we never used them to much advantage....

I am most dutifully & Affecty Yrs.


Our Army totally evacuated New York yesterday, the Enemy landed a
party of about 3000 from Appearance four miles above the City where
they encamped last Night. They kept up a very heavy fire from their
Ships while their Men were landing, altho' no Body opposed them, I
imagine they did it, thinking we might have some men concealed behind
some lines on the Water side. We removed everything that was valuable,
some heavy cannon excepted, before we left the Town. Our army is
posted as advantageously as possible for Security, out of reach of the
Fire of the Ships from either River; and upon high Grounds of
difficult Access. I dont know whether the New Engd Troops will
stand there, but I am sure they will not upon open Ground. I had a
Specimen of that yesterday. Hear two Brigades ran away from a small
advanced party of the Regulars, tho' the General did all in his power
to convince them they were in no danger. He laid his Cane over many of
the officers who shewed their men the example of running. These were
militia, the New England Continental Troops are much better....


... On Monday last we had a pretty smart skirmish with the British
Troops which was brought on in the following Manner. The General rode
down to our farthest Lines, and when he came near them heard a firing
which he was informed was between our Scouts and the out Guards of the
Enemy. When our men came in they informed the General that there were
a party of about 300 behind a woody hill, tho' they only showed a very
small party to us. Upon this General laid a plan for attacking them in
the Rear and cutting off their Retreat which was to be effected in the
following Manner. Major Leitch with three companies of Colo.
Weedons Virginia Regiment, and Colo Knowlton with his Rangers were
to steal round while a party were to march towards them and seem as if
they intended to attack in front, but not to make any real Attack
till they saw our men fairly in their Rear. The Bait took as to one
part, as soon as they saw our party in front the Enemy ran down the
Hill and took possession of some Fences and Bushes and began to fire
at them, but at too great distance to do much execution: Unluckily
Colo. Knowlton and Major Leitch began their Attack too soon, it was
rather in Flank than in Rear. The Action now grew warm, Major Leitch
was wounded early in the Engagement and Colo. Knowlton soon after,
the latter mortally, he was one of the bravest and best officers in
the Army. Their Men notwithstanding persisted with the greatest
Bravery. The Genl finding they wanted support ordered over part of
Colo. Griffiths's and part of Colo. Richardson's Maryland
Regiments, these Troops tho' young charged with as much Bravery as I
can conceive, they gave two fires and then rushed right forward which
drove the enemy from the wood into a Buckwheat field, from whence they
retreated. The General fearing (as we afterwards found) that a large
Body was coming up to support them, sent me over to bring our Men off.
They gave a Hurra and left the Field in good Order. We had about 40
wounded and a very few killed. A Serjeant who deserted says their
Accounts were 89 wounded and 8 killed, but in the latter he is
mistaken for we have buried more than double that Number--We find
their force was much more considerable than we imagined when the
General ordered the Attack. It consisted of the 2d Battn. of
light Infantry, a Battn. of the Royal Highlanders and 3 Comps.
of Hessian Rifle Men. The prisoners we took, told us, they expected
our Men would have run away as they did the day before, but that they
were never more surprised than to see us advancing to attack them. The
Virginia and Maryland Troops bear the Palm. They are well officered
and behave with as much regularity as possible, while the Eastern
people are plundering everything that comes in their way. An Ensign is
to be tried for marauding to-day, the Genl. will execute him if he
can get a Court Martial to convict him--I like our post here
exceedingly, I think if we give it up it is our own faults. You must
excuse me to my other friends for not writing to them. I can hardly
find time to give you a Line.

     [Memoir of Lieut. Col. Tench Tilghman. J. Munsell, Albany,

[No. 30.]



I know you must be anxious for the certainty of events of which you
can have at that distance but a confused account, as I was on the spot
will endeavor to give you as Concise & Just account as possible; on
the 15th inst we evacuated New York & took all stores of every kind
out of the city, and took possession of the hights of Haerlem eight
miles from the City, the Enemy encamp'd about two miles from us; on
the 16th the Enemy advanced and took Possession of a hight on our
Right Flank abt half a mile Distance with about 3000 men, a Party
from our Brigade [Nixon's] of 150 men who turned out as Volunteers
under the Command of Lieut. Colo Crary of the Regmt I belong to
[Varnum's, R.I.] were ordered out if possible to dispossess them, in
about 20 minutes the Engagement began with as terrible a fire as ever
I heard, when Orders came for the whole Brigade immediately to march
to support the first detachment, the Brigade consisted of abt 900
men, we immediately formed in front of the Enemy and march'd up in
good order through their fire, which was incessant till within 70
yards, when we engaged them in that situation, we engaged them for one
hour and eights minits, when the Enemy Broke & Ran we pursued them to
the next hights, when we were ordered to Retreat. Our loss does not
exceed in killed and wounded twenty five men, the loss of the Enemy
was very considerable but cannot be ascertained, as we observed them
to carry of their dead and wounded the whole time of the Engagement,
they left a Number of killed and wounded on the Field of Battle & a
great number of Small Armes, the great Superiority of Numbers and
every other advantage the enemy had, when considered makes the Victory
Glorious, and tho' but over a part of their Army yet the consequences
of it are attended with advantages very great, as they immediately
quitted the hights all round us and have not been troublesome since,
our people behaved with the greatest Spirit, and the New England men
have gained the first Lawrells. I received a slight wound in the
Anckle at the first of the Engagement but never quited the field
during the Engagement. I'm now Ready to give them the second part
whenever they have an appetite, as I'm convinced whenever [they] stir
from their ships we shall drubb them.

     [N.E. Hist. and Gen. Register, vol. xxx.]

[No. 31.]


On Sunday, the 15th, the British, after sending three ships of war
up the North River, to Bloomingdale, and keeping up, for some hours, a
severe cannonade on our lines, from those already in the East river,
landed in force at Turtle bay. Our new levies, commanded by a state
brigadier-general, fled without making resistance. Two brigades of
General Putnam's division, ordered to their support, notwithstanding
the exertion of their brigadiers, and of the commander-in-chief
himself, who came up at the instant, conducted themselves in the same
shameful manner. His excellency then ordered the heights of Harlaem, a
strong position, to be occupied. Thither the forces in the vicinity,
as well as the fugitives, repaired. In the mean time, General Putnam,
with the remainder of his command, and the ordinary outposts, was in
the city. After having caused the brigades to begin their retreat by
the route of Bloomingdale, in order to avoid the enemy, who were then
in possession of the main road leading to Kingsbridge, he galloped to
call off the pickets and guards. Having myself been a volunteer in his
division, and acting adjutant to the last regiment that left the city,
I had frequent opportunities, that day, of beholding him, for the
purpose of issuing orders, and encouraging the troops, flying, on his
horse, covered with foam, wherever his presence was most necessary.
Without his extraordinary exertions, the guards must have been
inevitably lost, and it is probable the entire corps would have been
cut in pieces. When we were not far from Bloomingdale, an aide-de-camp
came from him at full speed, to inform that a column of British
infantry was descending upon our right. Our rear was soon fired upon,
and the colonel of our regiment, whose order was just communicated for
the front to file off to the left, was killed on the spot. With no
other loss we joined the army, after dark, on the heights of
Harlaem.--Before our brigades came in, we were given up for lost by
all our friends. So critical indeed was our situation, and so narrow
the gap by which we escaped, that the instant we had passed, the enemy
closed it by extending their line from river to river. Our men, who
had been fifteen hours under arms, harassed by marching and
counter-marching, in consequence of incessant alarms, exhausted as
they were by heat and thirst, (for the day proved insupportably hot,
and few or none had canteens, insomuch, that some died at the works
where they drank,) if attacked, could have made but feeble

That night our soldiers, excessively fatigued by the sultry march of
the day, their clothes wet by a severe shower of rain that succeeded
towards the evening, their blood chilled by the cold wind that
produced a sudden change in the temperature of the air, and their
hearts sunk within them by the loss of baggage, artillery, and works
in which they had been taught to put great confidence, lay upon their
arms, covered only by the clouds of an uncomfortable sky.... Next
morning several parties of the enemy appeared upon the plains in our
front. On receiving this intelligence, General Washington rode quickly
to the outposts, for the purpose of preparing against an attack, if
the enemy should advance with that design. Lieutenant-colonel
Knowlton's rangers, a fine selection from the eastern regiments, who
had been skirmishing with an advanced party, came in, and informed the
general that a body of British were under cover of a small eminence at
no considerable distance. His excellency, willing to raise our men
from their dejection by the splendor of some little success, ordered
Lieutenant-colonel Knowlton, with his rangers, and Major Leitch, with
three companies of Weedon's regiment of Virginians, to gain their
rear; while appearances should be made of an attack in front. As soon
as the enemy saw the party sent to decoy them, they ran precipitately
down the hill, took possession of some fences and bushes, and
commenced a brisk firing at long shot. Unfortunately, Knowlton and
Leitch made their onset rather in flank than in rear. The enemy
changed their front, and the skirmish at once became close and warm.
Major Leitch having received three balls through his side, was soon
borne from the field; and Colonel Knowlton, who had distinguished
himself so gallantly at the battle of Bunkerhill, was mortally wounded
immediately after. Their men, however, undaunted by these disasters,
stimulated with the thirst of revenge for the loss of their leaders,
and conscious of acting under the eye of the commander-in-chief,
maintained the conflict with uncommon spirit and perseverance. But the
general, seeing them in need of support, advanced part of the Maryland
regiments of Griffith and Richardson, together with some detachments
from such eastern corps as chanced to be most contiguous to the place
of action. Our troops this day, without exception, behaved with the
greatest intrepidity. So bravely did they repulse the British, that
Sir William Howe moved his _reserve_, with two field-pieces, a
battalion of Hessian grenadiers, and a company of chasseurs, to succor
his retreating troops. General Washington not willing to draw on a
general action, declined pressing the pursuit. In this engagement were
the second and third battalions of light infantry, the forty-second
British regiment, and the German Chasseurs, of whom eight officers,
and upward of seventy privates were wounded, and our people buried
nearly twenty, who were left dead on the field. We had about forty
wounded; our loss in killed, except of two valuable officers, was very
inconsiderable. An advantage so trivial in itself produced, in event,
a surprising and almost incredible effect upon the whole army. Amongst
the troops not engaged, who, during the action, were throwing earth
from the new trenches, with an alacrity that indicated a determination
to defend them, every visage was seen to brighten, and to assume,
instead of the gloom of despair, the glow of animation. This change,
no less sudden than happy, left little room to doubt that the men, who
ran the day before at the sight of an enemy, would now, to wipe away
the stain of that disgrace, and to recover the confidence of their
general, have conducted themselves in a very different manner.

     [Life of General Putnam, by Colonel Humphrey.]

[No. 32.]


[Footnote 238: Col. Tyler, commanding the 10th Regiment of
Continentals (from Connecticut) was ordered under arrest by General
Washington for "cowardice and misbehaviour before the enemy on Sunday,
the 15th instant." The testimony at the preliminary trial brought
out some of the incidents of that day's confusion and panic.]

... Brigadier General _Parsons_: Says on the 15th, he ordered three
regiments of his brigade, viz: _Prescott's_, _Tyler's_, and
_Huntington's_, to march from the lines near Corlear's Hook to assist
the troops in the middle division under General _Spencer_, where the
enemy were attempting to land; that he soon rode on after these
regiments by General Putnam's order, and found them in the main road;
asked the reason why they were not near the river where the enemy were
landing, as he then supposed; was told by the officers that the
enemy's boats were gone farther eastward, and probably would land at
or near _Turtle's Bay_, on which they pursued their march on the road
to the barrier across the street; he, the examinant, being then near
the rear of the three regiments, observed the front to advance on the
road called _Bloomingdale_ road, instead of going in the post-road; on
which he rode forward to the front of the brigade, in order to march
them into the other road, when he found Colonel Tyler with his
regiment, and was there informed they marched that way by order of
Generals _Putnam_ and _Spencer_, who were just forward; this examinant
then rode forward on that road some little distance, perhaps sixty or
eighty rods, to a road which turned off eastward to the post road, and
found General _Fellows'_ brigade in that cross road, marching
eastward, and also saw Generals _Washington_, _Putnam_, and others, at
the top of the hill eastward, and rode up to them; General
_Washington_ directed that the examinant should attend to keep his
brigade in order and march on into the cross road; he accordingly rode
back and met the brigade as they came into the cross road; as he was
riding back he saw Colonel Tyler in a lot on the south side the cross
road coming from the _Bloomingdale_ road to the cross road and asked
him why he was not with the regiment; he said he was very much
fatigued, it being very hot, and was going across the lot to join the
regiment, it being nearer than to keep the road; this examinant then
rode by the side of the brigade to near the top of the hill, his
attention being to keep the brigade in order, and then heard General
_Washington_ call out, "Take the walls!" and immediately added, "Take
the corn-field!" a corn-field being then on the right adjoining east
on the main road, and north on the cross road; immediately from front
to rear of the brigade the men ran to the walls, and some into the
corn-field, in a most confused and disordered manner; this examinant
then used his utmost endeavour to form the brigade into some order
upon that ground, but the men were so dispersed he found it
impossible; he then rode back into the _Bloomingdale_ road and there
found a considerable part of the brigade but in no order; General
_Washington_ was then forward in the _Bloomingdale_ road, and sent for
this examinant, and gave order to form the brigade as soon as could be
done, and march on to _Harlem Heights_; as soon as the brigade could
be reduced to any form, they marched on to _Harlem Heights_; when they
had proceeded about a mile or two, a sudden panick seized the rear of
the brigade; they ran into the fields out of the road; the reason he
knows not; in the fields he saw Colonel Tyler, which was the first
time he recollects to have seen the colonel after the time he saw him
crossing the lot to the front of his regiment....

Ensign _Wait_: Says that he was in the rear of the first company of
Colonel _Tyler's_ regiment; that after the brigade had crossed over
from the _Bloomingdale_ road towards the post road, where they met the
enemy, he saw Colonel _Tyler_ at the head of the brigade; that when
orders were given to man the stone wall, he saw the Colonel at the
head of the regiment, who marched up to the fence and presented his
piece, and supposes that he fired; that after that he understood that
orders were given to go into the corn-field, that after they had got
into the corn-field, and a principal part of the brigade were
retreating, the examinant heard Colonel _Tyler_ say to the men, "Why
do you run? this will never beat them;" that at that time he supposes
the Colonel was nearly in the same place where he was when the fire
first began, and that from his behaviour, he has no reason to believe
that the Colonel was at all intimidated; that from the situation the
Colonel was in at the time of the firing, he has reason to believe
that the Colonel was one of the last that retreated from the enemy;
that the first time he noticed the Colonel after the retreat from the
enemy, was when they had marched about a mile from the cross road up
the _Bloomingdale_ road, where they got into some order, and that
after that the Colonel continued in the front till the brigade reached
the Heights of _Harlem_....

Paymaster _Sill_: Says that he had no opportunity of observing Colonel
_Tyler's_ conduct from the time that they crossed over from the
_Bloomingdale_ road towards the post road, and had returned back to
the _Bloomingdale_ road and marched up it one mile; that when the
brigade had marched up that far, there was a cry from the rear that
the Light-Horse were advancing, and that a great part of the battalion
which Colonel _Tyler_ commanded precipitately threw themselves into
the lot on the west side of the road; that the Colonel went into the
lot and this examinant with him; that from the Colonel's conduct at
this juncture, it appeared to this examinant that his design in going
into the lot was to bring back the men to the brigade, for that in his
presence and hearing the Colonel threatened to fire upon them if they
did not join the brigade.

Sergeant _Palmer_: Says that when the brigade crossed over from the
_Bloomingdale_ road towards the post road, he was on the right of the
front rank of the brigade which was led by Colonel _Tyler_, and that
he had a full opportunity of observing the Colonel's conduct till the
time of the retreat; that on notice that the enemy were approaching
and orders given to take the wall, the Colonel advanced to it, still
keeping in the front, and was the first man in the brigade who fired;
that this examinant discharged his piece twice at the enemy, and on
looking around he saw the whole brigade were retreating, the Colonel
still remaining on the ground, with this examinant, and no person
within several rods of them; that upon this the Colonel ordered them
to stop, and asked them why they run and commanded the officers to
stop them; that this not being effected, the Colonel and he retreated,
the two last men of the brigade, the Colonel along the cross road as
far as he remained in sight, and this examinant along the corn-field;
that when this examinant joined the brigade in the _Bloomingdale_
road, he saw the Colonel at the head of it; that when the cry was
raised that the Light-Horse were advancing, which occasioned a great
part of the battalion in front to betake themselves to the lot on the
west side of the road, he heard the Colonel order them back.

Corporals _Brewster_ and _Chapman_: Confirm what Sergeant _Palmer_
said, that the Colonel was the last man that retreated from the enemy,
and that they saw the Colonel, after having marched some distance on
the cross road, strike off to the right, with intent, as they
conceived, to get to the head of the regiment.

I do hereby certify that the whole Court were of opinion that there is
not sufficient evidence to warrant the charge of cowardice and
misbehaviour against Colonel Tyler; and that this report would have
been made immediately on taking the examinations, had not the Court
apprehended that, the Colonel, having been put under arrest by express
order from Head Quarters, some evidence against him might have been
pointed out from thence.

CAMP AT WHITE-PLAINS, October 26, 1776.
  JOHN MORIN SCOTT, Brigadier-General,

     [Force's Archives, Fifth Series, vol. ii. p. 1251.]

[No. 33.]


[Footnote 239: Maj. C.L. Baurmeister, of the Hessian Division.]

IN CAMP AT HELEGATTE, September 24, 1776.

I had the honor on the 2d inst., of dispatching to Captain von
Wangenheim a complete relation, to date, of our doings here with the
condition, that he should send an exact copy of it to you, mentioning
that the continuation would be forwarded to you, with a similar
request to communicate it to Captain von Wangenheim.... I announced
therefore, that the army camped from New Thown to Blockwels
[_Blackwell's_] peninsula, only the brigade of Major-General Grand
remained under the orders of General von Heister at Belfort
[_Bedford_] opposite New York, with the two Hessian brigades of
Major-Generals Stirn and von Mirbach, together with Captain Bitter's
English artillery brigade, which were posted behind the hostile works,
in order to keep the rebels within bounds, in the city as well as in
their redoubts thrown up on the side of the city, for which end 1
Captain and 100 men, towards noon on the 2nd. of September, were
obliged to occupy Gouverneurs Island, upon which were found 10 iron
cannons spiked, 4 18- and 6 32-pounders, many unfilled bombs, some
thousand bullets, flour and salt meat in barrels. Every 24 hours this
post was relieved by the pickets of the English and Hessian regiments;
the shore was occupied from Helgatte to Reed-Hurck. Before Helgatte 2
frigates lay at anchor: la Brüne and Niger, both of 32 guns, with a
bombarding vessel, and on terra firma, just to the left side of these
vessels, a battery was erected of 2 24-pounders, 4 12-pounders and 2
howitzers. Blockwell Island was occupied by 1 Captain and 100 men of
the English infantry, and in the night of the 3d. of September the
frigate Rose of 32 guns sailed out of the fleet up the East River,
with 30 boats, leaving New York on the left, and without the slightest
difficulty anchored in Whall Bay [Wallabout] and Buschwickfeste. All
the enemy's cannon were put into a serviceable condition and conveyed
to the batteries, which were found in part and also erected on the
rising ground to the left of the village ferry as far as to
Gouverneurs Island.... Often in the night rebels came over to the
English camp in small boats, asked to serve, and enlisted in the newly
raised brigade, 2000 men strong, of a Colonel de Lancy, whose
ancestors settled on York Island, and who had much to suffer from the
present rebels. Some 100 men, from the prisoners of the attack of
August 27th., are also enrolled in this brigade. On the 4th. of
September, the English left their post on Blockwells Island, the
rebels occupied it in force, and so strong, that the outposts on the
main shore were exposed to a continuous fire, which even the great
battery could not silence. The 5th. of September, 5 wagons and the
requisite draught horses were furnished to every regiment, in New
Thown also a forage magazine was erected, and the inhabitants of Long
Island recognized the royal authority, excepting the county of
Suffolck, in which several thousand rebels still remain, not collected
together but scattered, ready to fight against us everywhere on the
first opportunity; why now Brigadier General Erkskine with his strong
detachment advanced no farther than 9 English miles beyond Jamaika and
the 6th of September was obliged to return is not to be divined; it
was then, that this best part of Long Island should have been kept for
the winter-quarters, for till now wherever the army has been the
country is stripped of provisions, cattle and horses, as everything is
declared rebel property; there is no longer an English regiment to be
found incomplete in horses, and this want will soon no longer appear
in the Hessian regiments, as many officers obtain the horses they need
for little money and even for nothing. I myself have 3 in this way.

The happiness of the inhabitants, whose ancestors were all Dutch, must
have been great; genuine kindness and real abundance is everywhere,
anything worthless or going to ruin is nowhere to be perceived. The
inhabited regions resemble the Westphalian peasant districts, upon
separate farms the finest houses are built, which are planned and
completed in the most elegant fashion. The furniture in them is in the
best taste, nothing like which is to be seen with us, and besides so
clean and neat, that altogether it surpasses every description.

The female sex is universally beautiful and delicately reared, and is
finely dressed in the latest European fashion, particularly in India
laces, white cotton and silk gauzes; not one of these women but would
consider driving a double team the easiest of work. They drive and
ride out alone, having only a negro riding behind to accompany them.
Near every dwelling-house negroes (their slaves) are settled, who
cultivate the most fertile land, pasture the cattle, and do all the
menial work. They are Christians and are brought on the coasts of
Guinea, being sold again here among the inhabitants for 50 to 120 York
pounds a head; 20 York shillings are such a pound and 37 York
shillings make the value of a guinea.

On the 7th the fleet was stationed between Reed Huck and Governeurs
Island nearer to New York, and the baggage of the Hessian corps,
remaining for the chief part on board was loaded upon one transport
for the greater convenience of each regiment, whereby there was a
great relief from the repeated sending, frequently in vain for want of
boats. The Brocklands-Leinen was to be demolished, but on the
representation of General von Heister, that this could not be done by
soldiers without compensation, especially as it would be the work of
four weeks, General Howe recalled this order....

Many subjects are returning to the legitimate authority, and on Long
Island the villages of Grevesand, New Utrecht, Flattbusch, Brockland
and Ferry are filled with the fugitive settlers, most of whom however
find their dwellings empty, furniture smashed, not a window left whole
and their cattle gone forever....

I am to present the compliments of General von Heister. Colonel George
Orboune, our Muster-Commissioner has already reviewed us. Major-Gen.
Mirbach has had an attack of apoplexy, but he expects to recover; but
Major-General Stirn and Col. von Hering are more sick.

With the greatest respect


     [Magazine of American History, N.Y., January, 1877. Original
     in the possession of Hon. George Bancroft.]

[No. 34.]



  Oct. 3d, 76.

... The Enemy have not altered their situations much since you left
us. Not long since Genl Putnam with a party of 16 or 1800 men as
covering party went on to Harlem plains & with a number of waggons
brought off a large quantity of Grain, but not the whole, for just at
Day break the Enemy had manned their lines & were seen in collumn
advancing: as our party were not more than half theirs it was thought
best to retreat which was done in good order & without a skirmish. We
are daily fetching off large quantities of Hay & Grain from Morrisania
as we are daily in expectation of Landing & an attack there, though we
are determined not to leave the Ground without disputing it Inch by
Inch. Whilst you was here there was a frigate opposite the Wido
Morris's House. Since that there has another come through & anchored
just above Hell Gate opposite Harlem Church almost. Another has moved
up East of Morrisania a mile or two near Frogs point where if they
land they will probably march up through West Chester & come upon us
by Williams's Tavern.

     [Original in possession of Rev. Dr. John Chester,

[No. 35.]



     Oct. 7: 1776. }


... On the 23d (Sept.) a detachment from several Corps commanded by
Lieut. Col. Jackson, consisting of 240 men were sent off to dislodge
the enemy from Montressor's (Ward's) Island, for which purpose six
boats were provided to carry 40 men each. Col. Jackson led, Major
Hendly, of Charlestown with him. They were met by the enemy at the
water's edge before they landed, who gave them a heavy fire.
Notwithstanding this the Col. landed with the party in his boat, gave
them battle and compelled them to retreat, called to the other boats
to push and land, but the scoundrels, coward-like, retreated back and
left him and his party to fall a sacrifice. The enemy seeing this, 150
of them rushed out of the woods and attacked them again at 30 yards
distance. Jackson with his little party nobly defended the ground
until every man but eight was killed on the spot, and himself wounded,
before he ordered a retreat. Major Hendly carrying off Col. Jackson
was shot dead as he was putting him into a boat, and not a single man
of the 8 but what was wounded. One of them died at the oar before they
landed on the Main. The officers who commanded the other boats are all
under arrest and will be tried for their lives. In short if some
example is not made of such rascally conduct, there will be no
encouragement for men of spirit to exert themselves. As the case now
is they will always fall a sacrifice, while such low-lived scoundrels,
that have neither Honour nor the Good of their Country at heart, will
skulk behind and get off clear.

Yours &c

     [Collections of the Essex, Mass., Institute, vol. v. No. 2.]

[No. 36.]



FORT LEE, Nov. [17], 1776.

Your favor of the 14th reached me in a melancholy temper. The
misfortune of losing Fort Washington, with between two and three
thousand men, will reach you before this, if it has not already. His
Excellency General Washington has been with me for several days. The
evacuation or reinforcement of Fort Washington was under
consideration, but finally nothing concluded on. Day before yesterday,
about one o'clock, Howe's adjutant-general made a demand of the
surrender of the garrison in the general's name, but was answered by
the commanding officer that he should defend it to the last extremity.
Yesterday morning, General Washington, General Putnam, General Mercer,
and myself, went to the island to determine what was best to be done;
but just at the instant we stepped on board the boat the enemy made
their appearance on the hill where the Monday action was, and began a
severe cannonade with several field-pieces. Our guards soon fled, the
enemy advanced up to the second line. This was done while we were
crossing the river and getting upon the hill. The enemy made several
marches to the right and to the left,--I suppose to reconnoitre the
fortifications and the lines. There we all stood in a very awkward
situation. As the disposition was made, and the enemy advancing, we
durst not attempt to make any new disposition; indeed, we saw nothing
amiss. We all urged his Excellency to come off. I offered to stay.
General Putnam did the same, and so did General Mercer; but his
Excellency thought it best for us all to come off together, which we
did, about half an hour before the enemy surrounded the fort. The
enemy came up Harlem River, and landed a party at head-quarters, which
was upon the back of our people in the lines. A disorderly retreat
soon took place; without much firing the people retreated into the
fort. On the north side of the fort there was a very heavy fire for a
long while; and as they had the advantage of the ground, I apprehend
the enemy's loss must be great. After the troops retreated in the
fort, very few guns were fired. The enemy approached within small-arm
fire of the lines, and sent in a flag, and the garrison capitulated in
an hour. I was afraid of the fort; the redoubt you and I advised, too,
was not done, or little or nothing done to it. Had that been complete,
I think the garrison might have defended themselves a long while, or
been brought off. I feel mad, vexed, sick, and sorry. Never did I need
the consoling voice of a friend more than now. Happy should I be to
see you. This is a most terrible event: its consequences are justly to
be dreaded. Pray, what is said upon the occasion? A line from you will
be very acceptable.

I am, dear sir, your obedient servant,

No particulars of the action as yet has come to my knowledge. [Mem. on
the back.] I have not time to give you a description of the battle.

     [Life and Correspondence of Henry Knox, Maj. Gen., &c. By
     Francis S. Drake, Boston, 1873.]

[No. 37.]


[Footnote 240: A part of this diary was published in the _Moravian_,
Bethlehem, Penn., in 1876, with notes prepared by Rev. A.A. Reinke,
present pastor of the Moravian congregation in New York. The extracts
for 1775 appear in print now for the first time, and, of the whole,
only those which bear upon public affairs are given here. In 1776, the
Moravian Church stood in Fair street (now Fulton), opposite the old
North Dutch Church on the corner of William street.]


_Sunday April 23rd._--In Town were many Commotions tho' it was Sunday,
on account of various Reports, especially from Boston, that
Hostilities had been begun between the King's Troops and the

_Thursday 27th._ Late in the evening, Br. & Sr. Van Vleck arrived from
Bethlehem; but finding the Town in such Commotions, he did not think
it proper to stay for the present, apprehending that he might be
called upon to be a Member of the Committee, &c.; and therefore went
the following Evening to Jacobsen's at Staten Island.

_Saturday 29th._--This whole week, ever since last Sunday all was
alarmed in the City; there was nothing but Co[=m]otion & Confusion.
Trade & publick business was at a stand;--soldiers were enlisted; the
Port was stopt, and the Inhabitants seized the Keys of the Custom
House; took the Arms & Powder into their Custody, not trusting the
Corporation, &c. A Panic & Fear seized the People; many were for
moving into the Country, & several did. The case was the same with
some of our People, & especially the Sisters;--we comforted &
encouraged them as well as we could. To-day matters as to the Town
took a Turn; the Divisions & Animosities among one another ceased;
from whence the most was to be feared at present;--they all in general
agreed to stand by one another, & use moderate measures; & since then
it is grown more quiet; & not so many fearful reports are spread.

_Sunday 30th._ This afternoon some of the new England Provincials came
to Town.

_Friday May 26th._--Being informed this Ev'ning that the Provincial
Congress which has begun in this City, had made out that all those
Ministers that preach in English are by Turns to open each day the
Congress's Consultations with Prayers, some further Inquiry was made
into this Matter, & we understood,

_Saturday 27th_ that the Matter is not so general as it is thought, &
that if it should be offer'd one may excuse one's self.

_Tuesday June 6th._--There was again a Hurry in the Town on account of
the King's Soldiers being taken on Board of the Man of War. But we
remained in Peace.

_Sunday 25th._--In the Town it was very noisy; for our Governor,
Wm. Tryon was expected to come in on his return from England; and
at the same time General Washington of the Provincials, who has been
appointed Chief Co[=m]ander of all the Troops by the Continental
Congress. They would show some regard to the Governor too, but the
chief attention was paid to Gen. Washington. At one Church the
Minister was obliged to give over; for the People went out, when the
General came, who was received with much ado. The Governor came on
shore late in the Ev'ning.

_Thursday August 24th._--Last night was a great Disturbance in the
City. About Mid-night some of the Town Soldiers began to take away the
Ca[=n]ons from the Battery. The Asia Man of War watched their motion;
the Captain Vandeput who is an humain Man & has no Intention to hurt
the Town, but must protect the King's Property, fired a couple of guns
about 12 o'clock;--his Barge & the Town People fired upon one another;
on both sides some were wounded, & one of the Barge Men killed. The
whole city got up; all was in alarm; the Drums beating, & the soldiers
gathering together. They got away 21 Ca[=n]ons; the Man of War fired a
Broadside with balls, &c. Several houses were damaged. Many people
flew from their houses, & among them Sr. Kilburn, who was but
yesterday with her Effects, and many of Abr. V. Vlecks & his 2 little
children, &c. come back to her own house. Thus things went on till
Morning, & now the whole day thro' there is nothing but moving out of
the Town; & fearful Reports. Several of our People moved likewise Abm.
V. Vleck's family & Kilburn moved to Jas. Cargyll's, & on fresh
alarming news the next day, with Eliz. Vandeursen & Hil. Waldron to
Second River [New Jersey].

_Friday 25th._--Things were the same in the Town as yesterday, &
rather worse. A correspondence was carried on between the Capt. of the
Asia, & the Mayor of the City, & thro' the latter with the Committee
or Congress, to adjust matters. Gov. Tryon acted as Mediator. Some
hot-headed Men seemed to insist on pursuing their rash measures, while
others, & rather the Majority, did not approve of it.

_Monday 28th._--The Moving out of the Town continues, & the City looks
in some Streets as if the Plague had been in it, so many Houses being
shut up. Br. & Sr. Seuneffs, with their 7 children, moved to-day to
Philadelphia, for good & all.

Another measure in the Town, which takes place this Week, namely to
divide all Men between 16 & 50 years into Ward companies, caused
Troubles, & was one reason why Seuneff made Haste to get away, tho' he
will doubtless meet with the same in Philad.

_Monday Sept. 11th._--Last week & to-day several of the Inhabitants
came back again to Town; also some of our People.

_Monday 18th._--The Town-Soldiers, or the Minute Men made a great
Parade to-day; marching with their Baggage & Provision, &c. It was
thought they went on an Expedition, but it was only a Trial. They went
but 5 miles, & came back in the Ev'ning; they made not only for
themselves, but for the greatest Part of the Inhabitants an idle,
noisy, & exceedingly ill-spent Day; & they got, most of them, drunk;
fought together where they had stopt; & when they came back to Town;
so that many are now under the Doctor's & Surgeon's Hands. May the
Lord have Mercy on this poor City.

_Tuesday Oct. 10th._--On account of an attempt which had been made to
take Blankets, Sheets, &c. out of the King's Store, the city was again
in danger of being fired upon, & it caused new fear & alarm. However
upon Consultations of the Co[=m]ittee or Congress & the Corporation,
the goods were carried back again, & this Storm blew over, tho' some
ill designed Persons were not pleased with it.

Other accounts & Reports this Week made that several families move
again out of the Town; & it is observed that some of the Head-Men
begin to hang down their Heads, & many believe they will be ruin'd

_Monday 16th._--The Report that the Crown Officers, & also our
Governor here, will be taken up, & on which account Gov. Tryon had
wrote a Letter to the Mayor, which appeared in print, caused new Alarm
this week.

_Thursday 19th._--In the Afternoon a Captain[241] of the Rifle Men
who some time ago marched with his Company thro' Bethlehem, & now
coming from Cambridge near Boston died here, was interred in Trinity
Church-yard, with great Pomp, & military Honours. All the Companies,
many of the Clergy Men, & a great Concourse of the People attended.

[Footnote 241: Capt. Michael Cresap, of Maryland.]

_Saturday 21st._--In the afternoon Br. & Sr. Henry Van Vleck all on
sudden resolved to leave N. York & to return to Bethlehem, or at least
for the present to go to Brunswig. The Reason was because a Report was
spread that a Transport with Troops had been cast away on the Jersey
Coast; from whence it was concluded, & they thought to have sure
Intelligence, that some Troops, with the Fleet from England, would be
here soon. They went this Ev'ning to Powl's Hook.


_Thursday 18th January._--Last night and to-day Troops came in from
the Jerseys; the troubles begin again.

_Monday 29th._--The troubles in the town increased. Tenbroeks' moved
to Second River on Wednesday. They would have gone on Tuesday, but the
weather was too bad.

_Sunday 4th February._--This afternoon Mr. Lee, a General of the New
English (New England) troops came to town; as also the "Mercury," a
man of war, with General Clinton. The men of war _here_ took a
merchant ship coming in, &c.; all which made many commotions in the

_Monday 5th._--Soldiers came to town both from Connecticut and the
Jerseys, and the whole aspect of things grew frightful, and increased
so from day to day. The inhabitants began now to move away in a
surprising manner. The weather was very cold, and the rivers full of
ice, which proved a great obstruction to the People's moving. However,
in the middle of the week it thawed fast, which seemed also to answer
the prevention of designs against the men of war, the execution of
which might have proved very fatal to the city. One could not pass the
streets without feeling a great deal; and at last we were obliged to
encourage it that our sisters and young People might retreat. At the
end of the week about 40 of our People were Moved.

_Sunday 11th._--This was a gloomy day. The carts went all the day with
the goods of the people that are moving; moreover, in the forenoon the
Soldiers began to take away all the guns from the Battery and the
Fort, and continued till late. This caused an hourly expectation,
especially in the afternoon, that the men of war would fire; however
they did not. It did not at all look like a Sunday. In some churches
they had no service; in others hardly any People. In the forenoon we
had a discourse from behind the table, from the yesterday's
watch-word; "I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment, lest
any hurt it," &c. In the afternoon was preaching on Lamentations III.
39-41: "Wherefore doth a living man complain, &c. Let us search and
try our ways," &c. Both times we had more hearers than we expected.

_Monday 12th._--His Majesty's ship, the "Mercury," with Genl. Clinton,
and the "Transport" with the soldiers left the harbour yesterday, to
proceed on their voyage southward. The moving out of the town

_Saturday 17th._--The whole week those of our people who are yet in
town were visited. This morning the "Phoenix" went out of the
harbor, down to the watering place and the hook. In the afternoon the
"Asia," the ship with the Governor and the two Prices, moved also out
of the east river, and when she was opposite the White Hall she was
fast upon a rock. All was in agitation in town; and it seemed there
was a thought of attacking her, &c.; but they dropt it; and with the
high water the "Asia" got afloat and lies now in the bay below the

_Wednesday 21st._--In the afternoon Sister Esther Pell came to town
from Middle Town Point. The boat she came in, laden with wood, was
stopped by the men of war, and was sent back; but the passengers were
allowed to come to town.

_Sunday 25th._--In the forenoon only a discourse was kept on the
watch-word of to-morrow. In the afternoon a sermon was preached on
the day's gospel. Several of the New England people were present. In
the town the work at the entrenchments continued, and some branches of
trade were likewise working. At night Sister Shewkirk came back from
Second River.

_Wednesday 13th March._--A packet from England arrived once again, and
brought an uncommon number of letters; but they came not on shore. The
postmaster would not take them, for fear that they might be seized
without the postage being paid. The people were not suffered to go on
board to fetch them; unless they took an oath to tell nothing that is
done in the city. A packet for Bethlehem, directed to Bro. Shewkirk,
had been sent from England along with the government despatches
post-free, and was brought by Mr. Ross in the King's Service, who had
been on board privately.

_Sunday 7th April._--Easter. To-day and last night the commotions in
the city begin to be greater; attacks have been made on the little
islands, and at the watering place.

_Monday 8th._--Sister Kilburn who had got the officers, &c., out of
her house, got it cleaned and in order again. Tho' these lodgers had
been better than common soldiers, yet she found her house and premises
much injured. Sister Hilah Waldron on the following days got likewise
the soldiers out of one of her houses, but she has suffered a great
deal more. Indeed it is beyond description, how these uncivilized,
rude, and wild People, abuse the finest houses in the city.

_Tuesday 30th._--Sisters Kilburn and Hilah Waldron, and Sister Boelens
have got the soldiers out of their houses.

_Friday 17th May._--This day had been appointed a day of fasting and
prayer throughout the country; therefore we had preaching in the fore
and afternoon. The Text, a.m., was from Joel ii. 12, 13, 14.
"Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your
heart, and with fasting and with weeping, and with mourning; and rend
your hearts and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God;
for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness,
and repenteth Him of the evil. Who knoweth if He will return and
repent, and leave a blessing behind Him?" The text, p.m., was from
Hosea xiv. 1-3: "O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God, for thou hast
fallen by thine iniquity," &c. Our Saviour gave grace, in this
critical juncture of affairs, to keep in the speaking to the subject
of the text, and to avoid in the application what might be
exceptionable. We had a pretty numerous auditory in the afternoon;
also some of the officers. All behaved with attention. To-day the news
came that the Provincials have raised the Siege of Quebec, with the
loss of their artillery, baggage, and some hundreds of sick.

_Thursday 13th June._--Here in town very unhappy and shocking scenes
were exhibited. On Munday night some men called Tories were carried
and hauled about through the streets, with candles forced to be held
by them, or pushed in their faces, and their heads burned; but on
Wednesday, in the open day, the scene was by far worse; several, and
among them gentlemen, were carried on rails; some stripped naked and
dreadfully abused. Some of the generals, and especially Pudnam and
their forces, had enough to do to quell the riot, and make the mob

_Friday 14th._--A printed letter from the Continental Congress was
distributed, which gave intelligence that for certain, within ten
days, the fleet from Halifax would be here, and it was strongly
recommended to make all possible defence. In consequence of this, many
more troops came to town, and all was in alarm.

_Tuesday 18th._--To-day men were drafted out of the different Ward
Companies. This matter gave us some anxiousness. Our brethren could
not stand out, as times and circumstances are, and had none to apply
to. One Alleviation is, that a man drafted may hire another man, if he
can get one. Of our people were only drafted Robt. Thomas and Abraham
Van Vleck. The town is now pretty full again of the soldiers that are
come from Pennsylvania and other parts; and the moving of the
inhabitants out of town continues.

_Saturday 22d._--Yesterday and to-day the news came that the fleet was
arrived at the Hook, and the troops from Halifax; which caused new

_Sunday 30th._--Some of the inhabitants moved to-day out of town; the
Provincial Soldiers were busy, and had no service; and in general
there is little attention paid to the Sunday. Our preachings were yet
tolerably well attended. The to-day's Word was, "The work of
Righteousness shall be Peace, &c." At 5 was the Congregational
Meeting, in which we called to mind that to-day we conclude the first
half of this year; and how graciously our dear Lord has helped us
through in the troubles of the country, that begun to increase much
with the beginning of the year, and have lasted more or less ever
since; and now, as they approach yet more seriously, the watch-word
with which we begin the next half year, is very comfortable, and was
spoke upon: "Thou shalt know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be
ashamed that wait for me." Our brethren and sisters parted as if there
might again be a scattering, and it proved so; for, the following week
several more left again the town.

_Monday 1st July._--The watch-word of the first day of this month was
very comfortable, and suitable to the time we are in. In the evening
the news came that the fleet, or part of it, had left the Hook, and
was coming nearer.

_Tuesday 2d._--This, and more so when towards noon the first ships
appeared in sight this side the narrows,--put the whole town into
commotion. On the one hand every one that could was for packing up and
getting away; and on the other hand the country soldiers from the
neighboring places came in from all sides; and _here_ the Ward
companies were likewise warned out. Theodore Sypher's wife and child
came to our house, and staid with us this night; but the next day went
to a house a couple of miles out of town. In the evening we had our
usual meeting.

_Wednesday 3d._--Bro. Sleur who had brought his wife and daughter into
the country put several of his things into Bro. Henry Van Vleck's
vault; we put also in some goods belonging to the house, &c. To-day we
heard that the shop goods and clothes belonging to Sr. Hilah Waldron
and sons, Henry Ten Broeck, Eliz. Van Deursen, Sr. Keed, Sr. Kilburn,
Abr. Van Vleck, &c., to the amount of above £700, which went in a boat
yesterday with several other people's goods were taken, with the
boat, by a Man of War. Our people would not have sent their goods
with this boat, if they had not been encouraged by the people
belonging to the boat, whom they knew; and who repeatedly told that
they could not nor would they go _down_ the river, but go _up_ the
North river, or put the goods down at or about Powl's Hook; and yet
they went straight down towards the fleet. There were also some
passengers on board. From all circumstances it appeared plain that it
was done designedly.

_Thursday 4th._--The fear that the fleet would come up to the town
began to subside. It was heard that they had taken possession of
Staten Island; and that they would hardly advance farther before the
fleet from England arrives. The country soldiers of the neighboring
places were sent back again; on the other hand more of the New England
troops came in.

_Wednesday 10th._--Sr. Hilah Waldron, who had applied to Washington to
get a pass to Staten Island, but got none, went again to Second river,
in order to go with Sr. Kilburn to Elizabethtown, to try whether they
could get one there; for the captain of the Man of War had told them
that he wished they would come for their goods.

_Friday 12th._--A few more ships came in through the Narrows, and it
was reported that the great fleet from England began to arrive. In the
afternoon about 3 o'clock there was unexpectedly a smart firing. Two
Men of War, with some Tenders came up. They fired from all the
batteries, but did little execution. The wind and tide being in their
favor, the ships sailed fast up the North river, and soon were out of
sight. When they came this side of Trinity Church, they began to fire
smartly. The balls and bullets went through several houses between
here and Greenwich. Six men were killed; either some or all by
ill-managing the cannons; though it is said that a couple were killed
by the ship's firing; one man's leg was broke, &c. The six were put
this evening into one grave on the Bowling Green. The smoke of the
firing drew over our street like a cloud; and the air was filled with
the smell of the powder. This affair caused a great fright in the
city. Women, and children, and some with their bundles came from the
lower parts, and walked to the Bowery, which was lined with people.
Mother Bosler had been brought down into their cellar. Phil.
Sypher's, with their child, which was sick, came again to our house.
Not long after this affair was over, the fleet below fired a Salute,
Admiral Howe coming in from England. The Srs. Van Deursen and Reed
would fain have gone out of town this evening, but they could not
bring it to bear.

_Sunday 14th._--It was a wettish day, and it looked as if all was dead
in the town. The English (Church of England) churches were shut up,
and there was services in none, or few of the others; we had not many
hearers either.

_Tuesday 16th._--Bro. Wilson who came to town last Friday,--for he
could be in peace no more at Second River, as the country people will
have the Yorkers to be in town,--asked for a pass to go over on
business; but they would give him none. This week they have begun to
let no man go out of the city. Last Sunday, a flag of truce brought a
letter to Washington; but having not the title which they give him
here, it was not received. Yesterday a message was sent down from
here; to-day an answer came, (Geo. Washington, Eqr., &c., &c.,) but
was again returned on account of the direction.

_Thursday 18th_, was the day appointed when Independence was to be
declared in the City Hall here; which was done about noon; and the
Coat of Arms of the King was burnt. An unpleasant and heavy feeling

_Saturday 20th._--About noon a General Adjutant from Lord Howe came,
and had a short conversation with General Washington, in Kennedy's
house. When he went away he said, it is reported, to Washington and
the others with him: "Sir and gentlemen, let it be remembered that the
King has made the first overture for peace; if it be rejected, you
must stand by the consequences" and thus--which seems to have been the
main errand--he departed. Much politeness passed on both sides.

_Monday 22nd._--Our Bro. Wilson looking at the ferry, whither his
negro was come with some goods from Second River, was put under arrest
by one Johnson, and treated very basely by him, on account of a charge
laid against him by one Gordon, at the Falls, about 12 miles from
Second River; that he and his son had spoken against the American
cause; were dangerous persons; and had done much mischief to their
neighborhood, &c. Bro. Wilson appeared before the Committee, the
chairman knew nothing of the charge. Wilmot, one of the Committee did,
but they could prove nothing; and Wilson could easily clear himself.
The result was,--if he resided at Second River, they thought he should
stay there. Many persons were ordered to-day to quit the town, because
they were suspected.

_Tuesday 23d._--Bro. Wilson got a pass, and went to Second River

_Monday 29th._--Bro. Wilson came from Second River; he had got a
certificate of the Committee there, which cleared him sufficiently of
the late charge; and the Committee here gave him a pass to go to
Pennsylvania. He brought letters from Bethlehem, where he intends to
go this week; and returned to Second River this afternoon. He also
brought word that our people have got their goods that were taken with
the boat.

_Wednesday 14th August._--There was much alarm in the town, as it was
expected that the next morning an attack would be made on the city by
the King's troops; which however, did not prove so.

_Saturday 17th._--Towards night a proclamation was published, in which
all women, children, and infirm people were advised to leave the city,
with all possible speed; as a bombardment was expected; those that
were indigent should be assisted and provided for. This caused a new
fright. Some of the sisters yet in town came to Br. Shewkirk to advise
with him about it.

_Sunday 18th._--Early in the morning the two men of war and their
tender, that had been up the North River, came back; which caused
again a sharp cannonading till they were passed. Yesterday, a
fortnight ago, they had been attacked by the Row-gallies and a
Privateer, which were obliged to desist from their attempt; having
been gradually worsted by the men-of-war, and lost several of their
men. Last week they attacked them with fire-ships, but could not
obtain their end, and lost one of their captains; they then sunk
vessels, and thought to be sure of having stopped their passage;
however, they came back. It was a rainy morning, with a north east
wind. The fright seemed to be not as great as it was when they went
up; and yet the balls hurt more houses; some men were likewise hurt.

Phil. Sypher's experienced a kind preservation. A nine pounder came
through the old German church on the Broad Way, into the house they
lived in, opposite the Lutheran church, and into the room where they
slept; but they were up and out of the room. The ball come through the
window, which it mashed to pieces, with part of the framework; went
through the opposite wall near the head of the bedstead; crossed the
staircase to another room; but meeting with a beam in the wall, came
back and went a part through the side wall, and then dropt down on the
stairs. A thirty-two pounder, supposed coming from the Powlis Hook
battery, fell into Sr. Barnard's garden, just before her door. If
there was service kept, it was but in one church. Our preaching in the
forenoon was on Jer. 45:19; "I said not unto the seed of Jacob, seek
ye me in vain," &c., and in the evening from Matt. 6, 19 20; "Lay not
up for yourselves treasures on earth" &c.

_Wednesday 21st._--In the evening ... a very heavy thunder storm came
on. It lasted for several hours, till after 10 o'clock; an uncommon
lightning; one hard clap after the other; heavy rain mixed at times
with a storm like a hurricane. The inhabitants can hardly remember
such a tempest, even when it struck into Trinity church twenty years
ago; they say it was but one very hard clap, and together did not last
so long by far. Upon the whole it was an awful scene. Three officers,
viz., one Captain, and two Lieuts., were killed in one of the Camps;
they were all Yorkers; and one soldier of the New English People was
likewise killed in a house in the square; several others were hurt,
and the mast of one of the row gallies mash'd to pieces.

_Thursday 22d_ and _Friday 23d._--The king's troops landed on Long
Island. The troops from here went over, one Battalion after the other,
and many kept on coming in; yet, upon the whole their number certainly
was not so great as it commonly was made. In the evening we had the
congregational meeting with the little company that was present. We
resolved to drop the Wednesday meeting for the present, and to begin
that on Tuesday and Friday at 6 o'clock.

_Monday 26th._--A good deal of firing was heard on Long Island, and
several skirmishes happened between the scouting parties, wherein the
Provincials sustained loss.

_Tuesday 27th_ was a Fast and Prayer-day in this Province; which had
been appointed by the Convention; but here in the city it was not and
could not be observed. On the one hand, there are but few inhabitants
in the town, and the soldiers were busily employed; on the other hand
there was much alarm in the city. Soon, in the morning, an alarm gun
was fired in expectation, that the ships were coming up; which however
proved not so; but on Long Island there was a smart engagement, in
which the Americans suffered greatly. Two generals, Sullivan and
Sterling, and many other officers and soldiers were taken prisoners.
All the troops now went over; those from King's Bridge came likewise,
and went over the next morning. As very few of our people came, we
kept only a little meeting in the forenoon, in which a short discourse
was kept on Jer. 48, 17 and 18; and concluded with a moving prayer,
kneeling. This (the result of the battle) was an agreeable
disappointment for all honest men; for what could such a fast signify,
when men want to pursue measures against the Word and Will of God, &c.

_Wednesday 28th._--The different parties on Long Island kept on to be
engaged with one another; the firing was plainly heard. Bro. Shewkirk
met with a young man, who waited on Ensign Goodman, and who was come
back from Long Island. He told him that he, and a small number of his
regiment--Huntington's,--had escaped with their lives. It had been a
sight he should never forget; such as he never wished to see again.
This young man is of a serious turn, and religious more than common,
and promises to be the Lords'. In the afternoon we had extraordinary
heavy rains and thunder. From one of the Forts of the Continental army
on Long Island, two alarm guns were fired in the midst of the heavy
rain; supposing that the regulars would attack their line somewhere
between Flatbush and Brockland; all the men were ordered out though it
rained prodigiously; it was found, after some time, that it was a
false alarm. The sound of these alarm guns had just ceased, when,
immediately after, a flash of lightning came, followed by a clap of
thunder. It was awful. The very heavy rain, with intermixed thunder,
continued for some hours till towards evening. In the night the
battling on Long Island continued, and likewise,

_Thursday 29th_; and in the afternoon such heavy rain fell again as
can hardly be remembered; nevertheless the operations on Long Island
went on more or less; and behold, in the night, the Americans thought
it advisable to retreat, and leave Long Island to the King's troops.
They found that they could not stand their ground, and feared to be
surrounded, and their retreat cut off. The great loss they had
sustained, the want of provision and shelter, in the extraordinary
Wet; the unfitness of many of their troops for war, &c.; undoubtedly
contributed to this resolution.

_Friday 30th._--In the morning, unexpectedly and to the surprize of
the city, it was found that all that could come back was come back;
and that they had abandoned Long Island; when many had thought to
surround the king's troops, and make them prisoners with little
trouble. The language was now otherwise; it was a surprising change,
the merry tones on drums and fifes had ceased, and they were hardly
heard for a couple of days. It seemed a general damp had spread; and
the sight of the scattered people up and down the streets was indeed
moving. Many looked sickly, emaciated, cast down, &c.; the wet
clothes, tents,--as many as they had brought away,--and other things,
were lying about before the houses and in the streets to-day; in
general everything seemed to be in confusion. Many, as it is reported
for certain, went away to their respective homes. The loss in killed
and wounded and taken has been great, and more so than it ever will be
known. Several were drowned and lost their lives in passing a creek to
save themselves. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland people
lost the most; the New England people, &c., it seems are but poor
soldiers, they soon took to their heels. At night, the few that came
or would come, had a meeting on the texts; and the next day we ended
this troublesome month with the watch-word, "He that believeth shall
not make haste." "Grant me to lean unshaken, &c."

_Sunday 1st September._--We had our preaching in the forenoon, and in
the evening as usual; and in the afternoon the Congregation meeting.
At the preachings we had goodly companies of strangers.

_Tuesday 3d._--The evening meeting was on the Watchword and Text. The
rebel army begun to re-collect themselves; and the greatest part
marched towards Harlem, and along the East River, some miles from
here; the king's army advanced eastward on Long Island, opposite the
Hell Gate, and thereabouts.

_Monday 9th._--Whereas the troubles of War were now near Watts' House,
Phil. Sypher fetched his wife, child, and goods back from thence to
town, as also the things out of the Chapel House that had been there;
and it was just high time, else they might have been lost; for this
house soon after was plundered by the king's troops. Several other
people came back from those parts. By the measures and proceedings of
the Rebel army, it appeared evident, that they intended to leave the
city; for as they had begun last week, so all this week, they removed
their sick, their stoves, and ammunition, and gradually the soldiers
marched away. They likewise took the bells out of all the Churches and
conveyed them away.

_Wednesday 11th_ and _Thursday 12th._--Night and day they were busy to
bring their things away; and it appeared plain, that there would be a
change soon; the reports were various. Almost daily there was firing
from Long Island to Horn's Hook, and the ship yards here.

_Friday 13th._--In the afternoon, some Men of War went up the East
river; the few cannons left, fired on the ships, which caused that
they fired back from Long Island and Governor's Island and very
smartly. Isaac Van Vleck, who is too much bewildered in the matter,
made haste to get out of town.

_Saturday 14th._--In the afternoon more ships went up the East River,
which being fired on again, brought on another smart cannonading; some
Houses were damaged and it was very unsafe to walk in the streets. The
remainder of the Rebel army hasted away, and so did the members of
the Committee, and others of the deluded people.

_Sunday 15th._--Soon in the morning when the tide served, more ships
passed up both the North and East river; and though what was yet in
town of the Rebel troops got away as fast as they could, yet they
fired again on the ships, as they did likewise from Powles Hook; which
caused a cannonading which made the houses shake, and the sound of it
was terrible. One large ball, supposed to come from Powles Hook flew
against the North Church, just opposite the chapel broke, and a part
of it went back into a neighboring cellar kitchen, where a negro woman
was, who came running over to the kitchen of the chapel-house; where
also Syphers' family was, who had been there all night, as they lived
near the fort, where the houses were most exposed to the firing. After
some time the firing ceased, and at the usual time we had the
forenoon's preaching, in all stillness; the only service kept in the
city. About this time the king's troops had landed on York Island,
about three miles from the city; there was some slaughter, and the
rebels were made to retreat towards Harlem. In the afternoon at three
was the congregation meeting; but the evening preaching we thought
proper to drop. There was a good deal of commotion in the town; the
Continental stores were broke open, and people carried off the
provisions; the boats crossed to Powles' Hook backward and forward yet
till toward evening; some people going away and others coming in; but
then the ferry boats withdrew, and the passage was stopped. Some of
the king's officers from the ships came on shore, and were joyfully
received by some of the inhabitants. The king's flag was put up again
in the fort, and the Rebels' taken down. And thus the city was now
delivered from those Usurpers who had oppressed it so long.

_Monday Sept. 16th._--In the forenoon the first of the English troops
came to town. They were drawn up in two lines in the Broad Way;
Governor Tryon and others of the officers were present, and a great
concourse of people. Joy and gladness seemed to appear in all
countenances, and persons who had been strangers one to the other
formerly, were now very sociable together, and friendly. Bro.
Shewkirk, who accidentally, came to it, met with several instances of
that kind.--The first that was done was, that all the houses of those
who have had a part and a share in the Rebellion were marked as
forfeited. Many indeed were marked by persons who had no order to do
so, and did it perhaps to one or the other from some personal
resentment. Bro. Shewkirk, walking through the streets, saw to his
grief, that several houses belonging to our people were likewise
marked; as Sr. Kilburn's, Hilah Waldron's, and Sr. Bouquet's, King's,
Isaac Van Vleck's, &c. He wrote afterwards to Governor Tryon,
congratulating him on the late happy event, and at the same time
interceded in behalf of the 2 Ww's houses. The word of this day was
remarkable: "Israel shall be saved in the Lord, with an everlasting
salvation; ye shall not be confounded world without end." The
following day everything was pretty quiet, though almost daily they
brought in prisoners, who were lodged in the Dutch and Presbyterian
churches. The fear one had of the city's being destroyed by fire
subsided, and the inhabitants thought themselves now pretty secure;
little thinking that destruction was so near.

_Friday 20th._--Bro. Jacobsen came from Staten Island, and it was a
true mutual joy to see one another; as, for a couple of months we
could have no communication with Staten Island. By him we heard that
our people there were all well.

_Saturday 21st._--In the first hour of the day, soon after midnight,
the whole city was alarmed by a dreadful fire. Bro. Shewkirk, who was
alone in the chapel-house, was not a little struck, when he saw the
whole air red, and thought it to be very near; but going into the
street, he found that it was in the low west end of the town; and went
thither. When he came down the Broad Way, he met with Sr. Sykes and
her children. She was almost spent carrying the child, and a large
bundle besides. He took the bundle, and went back with them, and let
them in to our house; when he left them, and returned with their
prentice to the fire, taking some buckets along. The fire was then in
the lower part of Broad street, Stone street, &c. It spread so
violently that all what was done was but of little effect; if one was
in one street and looked about, it broke out already again in another
street above; and thus it raged all the night, and till about noon.
The wind was pretty high from south-east, and drove the flames to the
northwest. It broke out about White Hall; destroyed a part of Broad
street, Stone street, Beaver street, the Broadway, and then the
streets going to the North River, and all along the North river as far
as the King's College. Great pain was taken to save Trinity church,
the oldest and largest of the English churches, but in vain; it was
destroyed, as also the old Lutheran church; and St. Paul's, at the
upper end of the Broadway, escaped very narrowly. Some of our families
brought of their goods to our house. Bro. Shewkirk had the pleasure to
be a comfort to our neighbors, who were much frightened the fire might
come this way; and indeed, if the wind had shifted to the west as it
had the appearance a couple of times, the whole city might have been
destroyed. The corner house of our street, going to the Broadway,
catched already; Bro. Shewkirk ordered our long ladder, and the others
to be fetched out of our burying ground; which were of service in
carrying the water up to the roof of said house in buckets; and by the
industry of all the people the fire was put out. Several of our people
have sustained considerable loss: Sr. Kilburn has lost two houses;
Pell's three houses; Jacobson one, and Widow Zoeller her's; and others
have lost a part of their goods; as Lepper, Eastman, &c.

There are great reasons to suspect that some wicked incendiaries had a
hand in this dreadful fire, which has consumed the fourth part of the
city; several persons have been apprehended; moreover there were few
hands of the inhabitants to assist; the bells being carried off, no
timely alarm was given; the engines were out of order; the fire
company broke; and also no proper order and directions, &c.; all which
contributed to the spreading of the flames.

_Monday 23d._--The fire has thrown a great damp on the former joyful
sensation; numbers of people were carried to Jail, on suspicion to
have had a hand in the fire, and to have been on the Rebel's side; it
is said about 200; however, on examination, the most men were as fast

Bro. Conrad, also, was taken to Jail, but after a couple of days he
came out again. Daniel Van Vleck expected the same, which made his
wife and family much distressed; for he had often talked too
inconsiderate, and in a wrong spirit; however it blew over. After all,
it is observable, that those of our people who had kept themselves
free from the Infatuation, were acknowledged as such, and met with
nothing disagreeable of that kind.

_November._--In November new troubles began on account of the
quartering of the soldiers, of whom more and more come in; as also
many of their women and children. Many of the public buildings were
already filled with Prisoners, or sick, &c; especially all the Dutch
and Presbyterian churches, as also the French church, the Baptists,
and new Quaker meeting; and we were not without apprehension, that
something of that nature might come upon us; and this the more, as the
Chapel-House has the appearance of a spacious building; and just
opposite the same they were fitting up the fine north church of the
English Dutch for Barracks.

_Saturday 16th._--From early in the morning till towards noon, a heavy
cannonading was heard, tho' at a considerable distance; one heard
afterwards that the king's troops had attacked the lines and the
famous Fort Washington, and carried it; several thousands of the
rebels were taken prisoners, &c. The king's army has been about 2
months thereabouts; and there have been, from time to time, sharp
engagements, at the White Plains, &c; till at last they have driven
them away from the York Island; and it was a matter of moment, as now
one may hope that the communication with the Jerseys will be open'd,
as also with the places up the East River; so that the Inhabitants may
come to the city and provisions be brought in; especially wood, which
is not to be had, and is extremely dear; a cord of oak wood, bought
formerly for 20s. now 4£s. Fort Constitution, or Lee, opposite Fort
Washington, now Fort Kniphausen, on the Jersey side surrender'd, or
was left by the rebels; and the king's troops got soon master of this
part of the Jerseys, and advanced swiftly towards Philadelphia.

_Monday, 18th._--In the forenoon, about 11 o'clock, 2 officers, with 2
other gentlemen came to see the chapel and house; Bro. Shewkirk showed
them about; one of the officers asked whether service was kept in the
chapel; and hearing it was, said, it would be a pity to take it; the
other ran about very swiftly, and saw every part of the premises. Bro.
Shewkirk, who easily could guess what the meaning was, as soon as they
were gone, made application to the present commanding General
Robertson, and to Governor Tryon. The former was not at home; the
latter received him kindly, but said he could do nothing in the
matter, as now all the power was lodged with the army; yet he would
recommend the matter to the General; and this he did in a few lines he
wrote under the petition, referring it to the favorable consideration
of the General. Bro. Shewkirk carried it to him, but he was not come
home yet, and so he left it there. He did not know that the 2000 and
more prisoners taken in Fort Washington, had come already to town. In
the afternoon about 4 o'clock he saw at once the street before the
window full of people. The serjeant of the guard came to the door, and
asked whether this was the Moravian meeting? He was order'd to bring
these 400 prisoners here by command of the Generals Smith and
Robertson. If the latter had order'd it, it may be it was done before
he came home to his quarters. Bro. Shewkirk, who was alone in the
house, did not know what to do; he could not go away. By and by the
Major who had command of the prisoners and another man came in; they
looked at the Chapel, and said it was too small; the latter said he
had told that before, he had been in the place before now, and knew
it. He spoke to Bro. Shewkirk, and condoled with him that the place
should be taken; they began to doubt of the certainty, and thought
there was a mistake in the matter; another young man of the city who
knows Bro. Shewkirk, and has now the care of the provisions for the
rebel prisoners, was likewise inclined in our favour. These 3 persons
went backward and forward to make another inquiry; at last one of them
came back and told he had met with the Deputy Barrack Master, a Jew;
who had told him they must be here. Well--the gate on the men's side
was open'd.

The serjeant of the guard, quite a civil man, advised to take all
loose things out of the chapel before the prisoners came in. This was
done accordingly. Phil. Sykes, who was come before this time, and
extremely welcome, while Bro. Shewkirk was alone in the house,
assisted herein; as also young Wiley; and it took up some time, during
which the Major came again, and order'd the serjeant to wait awhile
longer; he would go to Genl. Robertson. After some time he came back,
and addressed Bro. Shewkirk in a friendly manner; saying, he had
believed they would have been a disagreeable company; and took the
prisoners to the North Church. Bro. Shewkirk thanked the Major for his
kindness; may the Lord reward him as also the other two men. The
prisoners, with the guard, stood above half an hour in the street
before our door, and many spectators, of whom none, so far as one
could see, showed a wish for their coming in, but several signified
the reverse, and were glad when it did not take place. An old
gentleman, several weeks after, accosted Bro. Shewkirk in the street,
and told him how sorry he had been when he saw these people standing
before our door; he had heard Bro. Rice, &c. After this affair was
over, Bro. Shewkirk retreated to this room, and thanked our Saviour,
with tears, for his visible help; He has the hearts of all men in His
hands. If these prisoners had come in, how much would our place have
been ruined, as one may see by the North Church; not to mention the
painful thought of seeing a place dedicated to our Savior's praise,
made a habitation of darkness and uncleanness. Praise be to Him and
the Father!

As the winter quarters of the soldiers in this city were not settled
yet, the apprehension was not over, that some would be put to us; and
so one of our neighbors thought, who in time of peace was one of the
Common Council men; but at the same time he assured Bro. Shewkirk that
as far as he knew, none of the creditable and sensible men of the
town, wished it out of spite, &c. Bro. Shewkirk's character was
well-known, but the house was large, and there was want of room.

_Sunday, December 1st._--In the afternoon about two o'clock, a company
of officers came into the House, looking for some quarter for
themselves. It was assured by some that they would not disturb our
church and service; some talked but of some rooms; others said they
must have the whole house, and the chapel too. One, a Cornet of the
Light Horse marked one room for himself; desired to clear it this
afternoon, and let him have a table and a couple of chairs, and he
would willingly pay for it. After they were gone, Bro. Shewkirk, and
Wilson who was just with him, went to Genl. Robertson. The Genl. was
kind; he said he had given them no orders; he intended to have no
place disturbed where service was kept. He took down Bro. Shewkirk's
name and the matter; which chiefly was, not to disturb our chapel, nor
to desire the whole house, Bro. Shewkirk offer'd a couple of rooms if
necessary; and at last said he would go to Alderman Waddel. He was
along with the officers in the street, before they came in, but told
Wilson he had nothing to do with it; he only upon their desire had
gone along with them, and hear what he knew of the matter, and they
should come along with him. When they were on the way, they met one of
those officers, (the Genl's clerk) and indeed him, who spoke the most
imperiously, and that he would have the chapel; upon which the Genl.
and they returned to the Genl's house. The officer spoke here quite in
another tone and said he had already told the other to look out for
another place, etc. The Genl. said he would see about the matter, and
give an answer the next morning. The brethren went home, and Bro.
Shewkirk held the congregation meeting for which the brethren and
sisters were gathered together. Upon this occasion we found again that
our neighbors were not against us. One said, it cannot be that they
would take your place, the only place where public service was held
when there was none in the whole city. In the evening the room which
the Cornet had marked was cleared, in case he should come; but none of
them came again. Some time after, Dr. Edmunds, belonging to the
hospital came one day, and with much civility and modesty inquired
after a room. Bro. Shewkirk, thinking perhaps it might be a means to
be free from a further endeavor of somebody's being quartered
here,--and moreover wishing to have a man in the house in these
days,--offered him the room the Cornet had marked; and after some
weeks he came, and proves a very civil and quiet gentleman, who causes
little or no troubles.

_Monday 2nd._--The commissioner's extraordinary gracious proclamation
in the name of the King, was published in the public papers; by virtue
of which all rebels within 60 days may return without suffering any
forfeiture or punishment; and it has had a great effect; numbers are
come in, have signed the prescribed declaration, availed themselves of
the benefit of the proclamation, and returned to the peaceable
enjoyment of their property; though afterwards some of them have shown
their insincerity and bad principles, going back again to the rebels.
The officers yesterday doubtless thought in a hurry to secure lodgings
to themselves before the proclamation was published, as now they can't
take houses as they please. This was also the answer Genl. Robertson
gave to Bro. Wilson this morning, when he carried in his name, and
mentioned again our house and chapel. The Genl. said the proclamation
would settle these matters.

_Tuesday 31st._--Whereas it is at present very unsafe in the evenings
to be out, on account of several late robberies, and persons having
been knocked down besides, we were obliged to submit to the times and
circumstances; and therefore the congregation members met at 4 o'clock
in the afternoon, and had a love feast; to praise together our dear
and gracious Lord for all his goodness bestowed on us during this year
full of troubles. Indeed these times have been a time of shaking, and
what had no root is dropped off.


_Tuesday 7th January._--Since the attack and defeat which the Hessians
sustained near Trenton some time ago, the rebels are again in high
spirits; and whereas the King's troops have been ordered down towards
Philadelphia from Newark, and about Hackensack, the rebels are come
again to these places, and distress the inhabitants greatly. Several
are come to town, having fled from thence.

_Tuesday 14th._--Upon the request of General Howe to lend our benches
for the entertainment on the Queen's birthday, several wagons full
were fetched.

_Saturday 18th._--Several reports prevailed that a part of the rebel
army was approaching this city, and early this morning they had made
an attack upon a fort above King's Bridge; but they were repulsed.
Some of the soldiers here were ordered up that way to-day, and all the
night soldiers kept a look-out.

_Monday 20th._--It appears from the public papers, that intelligence
has been had of a further intention to destroy this city by fire. For
this reason the city watch has been regulated anew, according to which
about 80 men watched every night in the different wards. Besides this,
some of the Light Horse patrol the streets in the night. Some other
regulations were likewise published, which give again an aspect of
matters coming again into some order. The effect has also shown
itself, the breaking down of fences, &c., does not go on as it did for
a while; the bread is larger &c.

To-day a beginning was made with the inhabitants to take the oath of
allegiance to his Majesty. Every day 2 wards are taken; it is done
before the governor, mayor, &c.

_Thursday 6th February._--Our burying ground at Fresh Water, (corner
of Mott and Pell streets) lies entirely open; not the least of a board
or post is left.

_Sunday 16th._--The evening preaching at 6, was on a part of the
to-day's Epistle: 2 Cor. vi: 1, 2; the subject,--"not to receive the
grace of God in vain." When near the conclusion, another cry of fire
was heard in the street, so that the last verses could not be sung. It
happened to be in the Broadway, but was put out soon.

_Monday 17th._--Towards evening there was another alarm of fire, but
it proved to be a false one, and the engines were ordered back.

_Thursday 4th March._--In the afternoon was the burial of Dr.
Autchmuty, Rector of Trinity Church here, who departed this life last
Tuesday. Bro. Shewkirk was invited, and was one of the ministers that
were pall-bearers. There was a large company of ministers present; the
most of them were strangers, partly belonging to the army. He was
buried in St. Paul's. The weather was bad, raining and snowing, yet
there was a great concourse of people. Mr. Inglis kept the funeral

_Sunday 16th._--Some wild officers who came into the evening meeting
disturbed the devotion somewhat; however they went away soon; the
auditory was pretty large and attentive.

_Tuesday 18th._--We have had fine weather of late. On Sunday night
about 100 of the rebels being in a house somewhere above King's
Bridge, some of the King's troops went to take them prisoners; and as
soon as they saw and heard nothing of an opposition, they surrounded
the house, and the Captain and some men went in; but some of the
rebels took up their guns, and killed the captain, and 4 or 5 men;
upon which the others rushed in with their fixed bayonets, killed
about 40, and took the rest prisoners. In the Jerseys some fightings
have likewise been within these days.

_Wednesday 29th May._--The King's troops are preparing for the
campaign, and to leave the town and winter quarters. The day before
yesterday some of the fleet with fresh troops from home arrived, and
yesterday a large number of troops came in from King's Bridge to

_Saturday 31st._--As many troops are come in, some were lodged in the
North Church opposite us, who made a great wild noise. They were of
the recruits that are come from England. Others were lodged in the
Methodist meeting, and in the old Dutch church, &c.

_Tuesday 3rd June._--The packet came in, as also more troops; but we
got no letter.

_Wednesday 4th._--At noon a salute was given from all the ships in the
river, this being His Majesty's birthday. In the evening meeting we
blessed our dear king; afterwards the front of our house was
illuminated with 48 candles, and made a fine sight to the satisfaction
of the beholders. To-day our Sister Len. Venema came back out of the
country to our joy.

_Thursday 5th._--In these days the troops were moving, and everything
was in an emotion; and on

_Friday 6th._--Many went away into the Jerseys; more of the German
troops were arrived.

_Wednesday 25th._--An account had come to town within these days, that
the intended expedition of the army had not succeeded:--finding the
rebel army too much entrenched and fortified; and therefore they had
returned to Amboy; would leave the Jerseys, embark, and go upon
another expedition. A good many of the army came to town, especially
also women and children, so as to make the place and streets pretty
full again. Several of the Jersey inhabitants flocked likewise to the
city. In the evening the xii. chapter of the Hebrews was read, and
spoken on.

_Saturday 28th._--Since Thursday, a report prevailed that there had
been a smart battle in the Jerseys. After the King's troops had
embarked, and the day was appointed to sail on an expedition, the
general got intelligence that part of the rebel army was come within
three miles from Amboy; upon which the troops were ordered back on
shore, and march'd in the night to surround the rebels, with whom
Washington was, it is said. The reports vary much, and were
exaggerated exceedingly: 1,100 killed of the King's troops; 5 or 6,000
of the rebels; as many taken prisoners, and their artillery; they were
surrounded with Washington; that they could not escape; nay,
Washington was among the slain; Stirling dead of his wounds; Genl.
Livingston likewise, &c.; 400 Pennsylvanians had grounded their arms,
and come over to the regulars, &c., &c. To-day, the account fell very
much, and came down to a few hundreds lost on the rebel side; how many
on our side, is not said at all. Seventy were taken prisoners, who
were, together with a couple of field-pieces, brought to town early in
the morning. Matters go but slow, and cause concern to all
disinterested well-wishers.

_Thursday 3rd July._--The King's army has left the Jerseys, and is
come back to Staten Island. Many came to town daily; so that it grows
quite full again for the present. The rebels have now the whole
Jerseys again except Powless's Hook; and we are just where we were
last year, after the being in possession of N.Y. Island. 'Tis very
discouraging, may the Lord pity this poor country.

     [Original in the Archives of the Moravian Church.]

[No. 38.]


NEW YORK, April 9, 1776.

I have since my last been on Several Excursions in military
Capacity--That to West Chester County to Guard the Cannon & find out
the Authors of Spiking them, has probably ere this time reached you; I
shall not therefore trouble you with a detail.

You wish to hear what we are about in New York [ ] [Transcriber's
Note: blank in original] To be informed, picture to yourself the once
flourishing City evacuated of most of its Members (especially the
fair). Buisiness of every kind stagnated--all its streets that lead
from the North and East Rivers blockaded, and nothing but military
opperations our Current Employment.

I have been engaged for near three Weeks with the first independent
Battalion on fatigue duty, in erecting a Redoubt round the Hospital,
which we compleated on the 2d instant. This, tho' you will suppose
it did not agree well with the tender Hands & delicate Textures of
many, was notwithstanding with amazing agility and neatness, and
laying vanity aside, is generally judged to be the best work of the
kind in the city; the Hospital round which our Works are, is made an
Arsenal for Provisions. On Bayards Mount now called Montgomerie Mount,
as a Monument to that great Heroe, who honorably fell supporting
freedom's cause, there will be a Fortification superior in Strength to
any my Imagination could ever have conceived. Several hundred Men have
been daily employed there for upwards of four Weeks. The Parapet of
the old Battery is raised to a proper Height, with a sufficient number
of Ambersures--As also the Parapet on the Fort Wall. There are two
fortifications on Long Island opposite this City to command the
shipping, one on Gours Island, one at red Hook, and the City itself
and Suburbs filled with them. Sundays we have none of, all Days come
alike when [ ] is in question. We have Genls Putnam, Sullivan,
Heath, Thompson, & Ld Sterling among us, with I believe about 14
Thousand Troops; fresh arrivals from Cambridge Daily. And Washington
hourly expected with many more--On Sunday the 7th instant there was
an Exchange of many shot between our Rifle Men on Staten Island, and
the Man of War, who sent Barges there for Water, of which the Riflemen
prevented their supplying themselves--We know of four of their Men
being killed, nine wounded, and have 12 Prisoners. Our Comy now
Guards the Records of the Province which are removed to Mr. N. Bayards

     [Hist. Mag., Second Series, vol. v. p. 203. Communicated by
     Hon. Hamilton Fish.]

[No. 39.]



NEW YORK, 28th June, 1776.


... You will be in Boston long before this can reach you, and will
doubtless have heard of the Discovery of the greatest and vilest
attempt ever made against our country: I mean the _plot_, the infernal
_plot_ which has been contrived by our worst enemies, and which was on
the verge of execution: you will, I say, undoubtedly have _heard_ of
it, but perhaps I may give you a better idea of it than as yet you
have obtained. The Mayor of York with a number of villains who were
possessed of fortunes, and who formerly ranked with Gentlemen, had
impiously dared an undertaking, big with fatal consequences to the
_virtuous_ army in York, and which in all probability would have given
the enemy possession of the city with little loss. Their design was,
upon the first engagement which took place, to have murdered (with
trembling I say it) the best man on earth: Genl Washington was to
have been the first subject of their unheard of SACRICIDE: our
magazines which, as you know, are very capacious, were to have been
blown up: every General Officer and every other who was active in
serving his country in the field was to have been assassinated: our
cannon were to be spiked up: and in short every the most accursed
scheme was laid to give us into the hands of the enemy, and to ruin
us. They had plenty of money, and gave large bounties and larger
promises to those who were engaged to serve their hellish purposes. In
order to execute their Design upon our General, they had enlisted into
their service one or two from his Excellency's _life-Guard_, who were
to have assassinated _him_: knowing that no person could be admitted
into the magazines or among the cannon but those who were of the
Artillery they have found several in our Regiment vile enough to be
concerned in their diabolical Designs--these were to have blown up the
Magazines and spiked the cannon. (Tell Homans, one Rotch, a fellow he
bled for me in Morton's company at No 1 is taken up with his
brother for being concerned.) Their Design was deep, long concerted,
and wicked to a _great Degree_. But happily for us, it has pleased God
to discover it to us in season, and I think we are making a right
improvement of it (as the good folks say). We are hanging them as fast
as we find them out. I have just now returned from the Execution of
one[242] of the General's Guard: he was the first that has been tried:
yesterday at 11 o'clock he received sentence, to-day at 11 he was hung
in presence of the whole army. He is a Regular-Deserter ... he
appeared unaffected and obstinate to the last, except that when the
Chaplains took him by the hand under the Gallows and bad him adieu, a
torrent of tears flowed over his face; but with an indignant scornful
air he wiped 'em with his hand from his face, and assumed the
_confident look_. You remember General Greene commands at Long Island;
with his last breath the fellow told the spectators, that unless
Genl Greene was very cautious, the Design would _as yet_ be
executed on him.

[Footnote 242: Thomas Hickey.]

The trial will go on, and I imagine they will be hung, gentle and
simple, as fast as the fact is proved upon them.

That any set of men could be so lost to every virtuous principle, and
so dead to the feelings of humanity as to conspire against the person
of so great and good a man as Genl Washington is surprising; few of
our countrymen (as you may imagine) are concerned; they are in general
foreigners: upwards of 30 were concerned, and 'tis said Govr Tryon
is at the bottom....

Our Expedition against the Light house did not succeed; they command
it so well with ye shipping that 'tis thought wise to let it


_Monday Morning July 1st._--Since writing the above upwards of 100
sail have arrived: we conclude that the whole fleet is there: for we
have counted 140 topsail vessels; some say there are 160: people are
moving out of York; and I think we must very soon come to action; the
flower of our Reg. is picked for a field fight, which we imagine will
take place on long island. Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, my best
wishes will be for the felicity of my friend. Adieu. Heaven preserve
us to meet again.

     [New England Hist. and Gen. Register, vol. xxiii. p. 205.]

[No. 40.]


NEW YORK, Aug. 20th 1776.


I have only time for a hasty letter. Our situation has been such this
fortnight or more as scarce to admit of writing. We have daily
expected an action--by which means, if any one was going, and we had
letters written, orders were so strict for our tarrying in camp that
we could rarely get leave to go and deliver them.--For about 6 or 8
days the enemy have been expected hourly, whenever the wind and tide
in the least favored. We keep a particular look out for them this
morning. The place and manner of attack time must determine. The event
we leave to Heaven. Thanks to God! we have had time for compleating
our works and receiving reenforcements. The militia of Connecticut
ordered this way are mostly arrived. Col. [Andrew] Ward's Regt has
got in. Troops from the Southward are daily coming. We hope, under
God, to give a good account of the Enemy whenever they choose to make
the last appeal.

Last Friday night, two of our five vessels (a Sloop and a Schooner)
made an attempt upon the shipping up the River. The night was too
dark, the wind too slack for the attempt. The Schooner which was
intended for one of the Ships had got by before she discovered them;
but as Providence would have it, she run athwart a bomb-catch which
she quickly burned. The Sloop by the light of the fire discovered the
Phoenix--but rather too late--however, she made shift to grapple
her, but the wind not proving sufficient to bring her close along side
or drive the flames immediately on board, the Phoenix after much
difficulty got her clear by cutting her own rigging. Sergt Fosdick
who commanded the above Sloop, and four of his hands, were of my
Company, the remaining two were of this Regt.

The Genl has been pleased to reward their bravery with forty
dollars each, except the last man who quitted the fire Sloop, who had
fifty. Those on board the schooner received the same.

I must write to some of my brothers lest you should not be at home.

Your friend and Brother
  N. HALE.


     [_Life of Captain Nathan Hale, the Martyr-Spy of the
     American Revolution._ By I.W. Stuart, Hartford, 1756.]

[No. 41.]


NEW YORK, April 12 1776.

"If you have any idea of our situation, you must be solicitous to hear
from us. When you are informed that New York is deserted by its old
inhabitants, and filled with soldiers from New England, Philadelphia,
and Jersey--you will naturally conclude, the _Environs_ of it are not
very safe from so undisciplined a multitude, as our Provincials are
represented to be; but I do believe, there are few instances of so
great a number of men together, with so little mischief done by them;
they have all the simplicity of ploughmen in their manners, and seem
quite strangers to the vices of older soldiers. They have been
employed in erecting fortifications in every part of the town; and it
would make you sorry to see the place so changed: the old fort walls,
are demolished in part, although that is an advantage to the Broadway.
There is a Battery carried across the street, erected partly at Lord
Abingdon's expense, for the Fascines, were cut out of the _wood_ that
belonged to the Warren estate: it was beautiful _wood_--Oliver De
Lancey, had been nursing it these forty years; it looks in a piteous
state now: Mr. D. hoped to have it somewhat spared by telling the New
England men, who were cutting it, that a third part belonged to one of
the _Protesting Lords_. One of them answered, 'Well, and if he be such
a great liberty boy, and so great a friend to our country, he will be
quite happy that his wood, was so _happy_ for our use.' You remember
Bayard's Mount covered with cedars? It commanded a prospect
exceedingly extensive! The top of it is so cut away, that there is
room enough for a house and garden; a fortification is there erected
as well as round the _Hospital_:--in short, every place that can be
employed in that way, is or will be, so used. You may recollect a
sweet situation at Horn's Hook, that Jacob Walton purchased, built an
elegant house, and greatly and beautifully improved the place; he was
obliged to quit the place; the troops took possession, and fortified
there. Oh, the houses in New York, if you could but see the insides of
them! Kennedy's house, Mallet's, and the next to it, had six hundred
men in them. If the owners ever get possession, they must be years in
cleaning them. The merchants have raised their goods to an enormous
price; many articles are scarce indeed; and there is quite a hue and
cry about _pins_. Common rum, 6 to 7 shillings per gallon; poor sugar,
4l a hundred; molasses none; cotton 4s per pound."

     [From the Historical Magazine.]

[No. 42.]


SEPT.--OCT. 1776.


"General Howe finding himself at the head of 21,000 men, in high
health and fit for action, was determined to begin upon it as soon as
possible; accordingly a great number of regiments were reimbarked on
board the transports, and everything prepared for an Expedition, so
secret, that neither the second in Command at land or sea could guess
where the blow was to fall.

Everything being prepared, and the Cannon embarked in the night of the
21st of September [August], the Rainbow of 50 guns, commanded by Sir
George Collier, got under weigh, and anchored near a strong post of
the enemy's, called Denysys, upon Long Island, who fled from thence
instantly, expecting the man of war would level the place to the

A little after nine, the transports all anchored in Gravesend-bay on
the southern part of Long Island; the flat-bottom boats immediately
landed the troops, and the gallant Lord Howe was present to direct the

The army, when landed, consisted of 18000 men, the rest being left
upon Staten Island. Lord Cornwallis Commanded one of the
advance-posts, Gen. Grant another, and Earl Percy had a post of
difficulty and danger, to which he on all occasions shewed himself
equal. The King's forces lay still, getting ashore Cannon &c. for 3 or
4 days, and then encamped at Flatbush; after this they moved on in
three bodies, and surprised many of the enemy's outposts, and killed
and took a number of men."


OCT. 20, 1776.

"No doubt but before you receive this you'll be informed of the King's
troops being in possession of New York, to the great satisfaction of
the loyal part of its inhabitants, who have for a long time suffered
every hardship from a set of tyrants that is possible to be conceived;
however, they are now rewarded who have withstood the traitors, and
remained firm to their King. The Howes do all that is possible to
alleviate the sufferings of a persecuted people, who rather than turn
rebels have despised death and ruin; and if it had not pleased God to
send us death and relief, dreadful would have been the consequence to
every person that dared to be honest; however, we are now protected in
our lives and properties; and some thousands have joined the King's
troops; and every time they attack the rebels they rout them with
great loss; they fly before our victorious army on every onset; and I
don't doubt but in a very little time this daring rebellion will be
crushed. It would before now have been the case, had not the Americans
been fed with hopes from the Court of France. But now let France or
any other Power dare to assist them, we are prepared, and don't at all
fear but we shall be able to give them a proper reception. It is
resolved to attack Washington directly. Proper dispositions are making
for that purpose; and I hope by the next letter to give you an account
of an end being put to a government that have dared to call themselves
the Independent States of America. Almost all the New Yorkers have
returned to their allegiance, and there is not a doubt but the other
Colonies will do the same when they dare declare themselves, and be
properly supported by government.

"There is a broad R put upon every door in New York that is
disaffected to government, and examples will be made of its
inhabitants; on the other hand, every person that is well affected to
government finds protection."


"The following Letter is from an officer of eminence, who was present
at the engagement at White Plains, to his friend in Edinburgh:

"_Camp at White Plains, 31 Miles from New York, N.E. within six Miles
of Hudson's River, Nov. 2, 1776._

"Our whole army, except about 2000 men, left New York Island, and on
the 12th of Oct. passed Hell-gates in our flat boats, and landed on
a part called Frogs-neck, in Westchester county; here we halted a few
days, until provisions were brought to us; and on the 18th we again
took to our boats, and passed a creek, in order to move this way, and
to cut the rebels off from King's-Bridge. On our march the 18th, we
had two pretty smart skirmishes, but made the provincials give way as
fast as we advanced. After marching about three miles, we halted to
get cannon, provisions, &c. brought forward. On the 26th we marched
again by New Rochelle, about four miles without opposition, where we
halted till the 28th; and finding that the rebels had moved to this
place from King's-bridge, we followed them, and drove them from hill
to hill, until we came within three quarters of a mile of their
entrenched camp, where they made a shew of disputing a commanding
ground. A brisk Cannonade ensued, and we attacked them on the top of a
rugged hill, where, though covered behind stone walls and fences, we
drove them off. We had about 200 killed and wounded. The rebels left
about 50 killed, besides what they carried off. We then encamped on
the ground, with an intent to drive them from their entrenchments; but
yesterday at day-break they went off of themselves and took post on
another hill, about three-quarters of a mile further on where they are
now. They have left a post behind them in New York Island, near
King's-bridge of about 1500 men, [Fort Washington] which, I think, we
shall give a very good account of. We have taken in their abandoned
works 74 pieces of cannon. Their whole force is now opposed to us.
They burn all the country as they retreat; they are a set of base
fellows. I do not imagine we shall go much further this campaign, but
just force them to go towards New England. I heard from Col. Campbell
the other day. He is well and anxious to be relieved. I write on my
knee very cramped, and have lain in a waggon for three nights past,
one of which was very wet."

[No. 43.]


[Footnote 243: Washington's Chief Engineer in 1776.]


The 31st of March 1776, I received General Washington's orders "to
march to New York by the way of Providence, to afford Governor Cooke
my best advice and assistance in the construction of the work there."
In this tour I went to visit Newport again, where I laid out some
additional works; on my return from Newport to Providence I met with
General Washington there, I believe the 6th of April, and obtained
leave to go by Brookfield to New York. I believe I tarried with my
family part of two days and then pushed for New York where I arrived
about the 20th. On my arrival at New York I was charged as chief
engineer with laying out and overseeing the works which were erected
during the campaign at New York, Long Island and their dependencies
with Fort Washington, Fort Lee, King's Bridge, etc., most of which,
but not all, appear in a plan of New York island etc., and
obstructions in the river, which accompanies Marshall's Life of
Washington. This was a service of much fatigue, for my whole time was
taken up from daylight in the morning until night in the business,
besides sometimes going in the night by water from New York to Fort

September 8th 1776, a council of general officers had determined on
holding the City of New York. See General Washington's letter of that
date. On the 12th of September having been out with General Miflin, by
order of General Washington, to reconnoiter the country between
Kingsbridge and Morrisania and eastward, on our return we met with
General Washington near Harlem Heights, where we made our report to
him, in consequence of which a council of general officers was
convened, whose advice was the withdrawing the army from the
city,--see the General's letter of the 14th of September,--and this
measure was the salvation of the army, and which probably would not
have been but for the discoveries made by Miflin and myself.

My being appointed engineer by Congress was wholly unexpected. I had
begun to act in that capacity through pure necessity, and had
continued to conduct the business more from necessity and respect for
the General than from any opinion I had of my own abilities, or
knowledge of that art; true it is that after my arrival at New York I
had read some books on fortification, and I knew much more than when I
began at Roxbury, but I had not the vanity to suppose that my
knowledge was such as to give me a claim to the first rank in a corps
of engineers, yet my experience convinced me that such a corps was
necessary to be established, therefore near the last of September, I
drew up a plan for such an establishment and presented it to General
Washington, and which he transmitted to Congress--see his letter to
that body of the 5th of November 1776. In my letter to General
Washington on the subject I disclaimed all pretension of being placed
at the head of the proposed corps, and signified it would be my choice
to serve in the line of the army.

October 19th 1776, the British landed on Pell's point and some
skirmishing took place in the afternoon between part of Glover's
brigade and some advance parties of the enemy near East Chester, the
next morning by order of the General I set out from Kingsbridge to
reconnoiter their position etc. I set out in company with Colo
Reed, the adjutant-general and a foot guard of about twenty men, when
we arrived on the heights of East Chester we saw a small body of
British near the church, but we could obtain no intelligence; the
houses were deserted. Colo Reed now told me he must return to
attend to issuing general orders. I observed that we had made no
discovery yet of any consequence, that if he went back I wished him to
take the guard back for I chose to go alone. I then disguised my
appearance as an officer as far as I could, and set out on the road to
White-plains; however, I did not then know where White-plains was, nor
where the road I had taken would carry me. I had gone about two and a
half miles when a road turned off to the right, I followed it perhaps
half a mile and came to a house where I learned from the woman that
this road led to New Rochelle, that the British were there and that
they had a guard at a house in sight; On this information I turned and
pursued my route toward White-plains (the houses on the way all
deserted) until I came within three or four miles of the place; here I
discovered a house a little ahead with men about it. By my glass I
found they were not British soldiers; however I approached them with
caution. I called for some oats for my horse, sat down and heard them
chat some little time, when I found they were friends to the cause of
America, and then I began to make the necessary enquiries, and on the
whole I found that the main body of the British lay near New Rochelle,
from thence to White-plains about nine miles, good roads and in
general level open country, that at Whiteplains was a large quantity
of stores, with only about three hundred militia to guard them, that
the British had a detachment at Mamaraneck only six miles from
White-plains, and from Whiteplains only five miles to the North river,
where lay five or six of the enemies ships and sloops, tenders, etc.
Having made these discoveries I set out on my return. The road from
Ward's across the Brunx was my intended route unless I found the
British there, which haply they were not, but I saw Americans on the
heights west of the Brunx who had arrived there after I passed up. I
found them to be Lord Sterling's division; it was now after sunset. I
gave my Lord a short account of my discoveries, took some refreshment,
and set off for headquarters by the way of Philip's at the mouth of
Sawmill river, a road I had never travelled, among tory inhabitants
and in the night. I dare not enquire the way, but Providence conducted
me. I arrived at headquarters near Kingsbridge (a distance of about
ten miles) about nine o'clock at night. I found the General alone. I
reported to him the discoveries I had made, with a sketch of the
country; he complained very feelingly of the gentlemen from New York
from whom he had never been able to obtain a plan of the country, that
from their information he had ordered the stores to Whiteplains as a
place of security. The General sent for General Greene and Genl
George Clinton, since Vice-President of the United States. As soon as
General Clinton came in my sketch and statement was shown to him and
he was asked if the situation of those places was as I had reported.
Genl Clinton said it was.

I had but a short time to refresh myself and horse when I received a
letter from the General with orders to proceed immediately to Lord
Sterling's, and I arrived at his quarters about two o'clock in the
morning October 21st 1776. Lord Sterling's division marched before
daylight and we arrived at Whiteplains about 9 o'clock A.M. and thus
was the American army saved (by an interposing providence from a
probable total destruction.). I may be asked wherein this particular
interposition of providence appears, I answer, first, in the stupidity
of the British general, in that he did not early on the morning of the
20th send a detachment and take possession of the post and stores at
Whiteplains, for had he done this we must then have fought him on his
own terms, and such disadvantageous terms on our part, as humanly
speaking must have proved our overthrow; again when I parted with
Colo Reed on the 20th as before mentioned, I have always thought
that I was moved to so hazardous an undertaking by foreign influence.
On my route I was liable to meet with some British or tory parties,
who probably would have made me a prisoner (as I had no knowledge of
any way of escape across the Brunx but the one I came out). Hence I
was induced to disguise myself by taking out my cockade, loping my hat
and secreting my sword and pistols under my loose coat, and then had I
been taken under this disguise, the probability is that I should have
been hanged for a spy.

October 29th, the British advanced in front of our lines at
White-plains about 10 o'clock A.M., I had just arrived on Chatterton
hill in order to throw up some works when they hove in sight, as soon
as they discovered us they commenced a severe cannonade but without
any effect of consequence. General McDougal about this time arriving
with his brigade from Burtis's and observing the British to be
crossing the Brunx below in large bodies in order to attack us, our
troops were posted to receive them in a very advantageous position.
The British in their advance were twice repulsed; at length however
their numbers were increased so that they were able to turn our right
flank. We lost many men but from information afterwards received there
was reason to believe they lost many more than we. The rail and stone
fence behind which our troops were posted proved as fatal to the
British as the rail fence and grass hung on it did at Charlestown the
17th of June 1775.

After the affair of the 29th of October my time was employed in
examining the nature of the country in a military point of view in our
rear towards North Castle, Croton river, etc., until about the 5th of
November when I received the following order from the General which I
shall take the liberty to transcribe.


SIR:--You are directed to repair to Wright's mills and lay out any
work there you conceive to be necessary, in case it is not already
done, from thence you are to proceed towards Croton bridge, and post
the two regiments of militia in the most advantageous manner, so as to
obstruct the enemies passage to that quarter, you are also to give
what directions you think are proper to those regiments, respecting
the breaking up the roads leading from the North river eastward, after
this you are to go up to Peekskill and direct Lasher's detachment to
break up the roads there. You are likewise to lay out what works will
be advisable there and order them to be set about.

Given under my hand--

To Colo Putnam, Engineer.

November 11th 1776, Genl Washington came to Peekskill and I went
with him to visit Fort Montgomery, on the same day or the next he
crossed the North river, leaving instructions with me to ascertain the
geography of the country with the roads and passes through and about
the highlands, a report of which I afterwards made with a sketch of a

December 8th 1776, I wrote to Genl Washington informing him that I
had accepted of a regiment in the Massachusetts line of the
Continental army, with my reasons for so doing, assuring him at the
same time of my attachment to him and readiness to execute any

     [Original in the archives of Marietta College, Marietta,

[No. 44.]


[_Colonel Little's Order Book_]


NEW YORK, Sept. 8th.

All the guards in the posts are to be continued as large as at any
time, & be very vigilant & alert. All the Regts are to lie on their
arms this night & be ready to turn out at the shortest notice, as it
is not improbable we may be speedily attacked. Gen. Wadsworth to send
an adjutant to Head Quarters tomorrow for orders.

Sept. 9th.

Guard same as this day & fatigues. The several Brigades in this
Division are to lodge on their arms this night & be ready to turn out
on the shortest notice. Cols. &c are to take particular care of the
arms & ammunition. Col. Chester to send an adjutant to Head Quarters
for orders.


NEW YORK Sept 9th.

A serjeant, Corporal & 12 men daily to mount as a guard at Gen.
Nixon's quarters. Officers of guard in the night are to send visiting
rounds between every relief. Complaints are made that orders are not
made known to soldiers. The General expressly enjoins that the
adjutant see that the orders are daily read to the several regiments,
that the soldiers may not plead ignorance thereof.

Sept. 10th.

The Gen. desires officers not to suffer their men to straggle as we
may expect a sudden attack, when one is made. The Genl desires all
the officers to lodge in camp, as in the critical situation of
affairs, much depends on their vigilance.



Major Box is appointed & requested in conjunction with the Engineers
of this Department & Col. Bull to oversee & forward the
fortifications at Fort Constitution. Lt. Col. Cornell is appointed
Dep. Assistant Adj. Genl. for this Division. The Qr. Mr.
Genl is directed to provide tools of all kinds necessary for a
Blacksmith's & Armorer's shop, large enough to do the business of this
part of the army. Many trangressions of genl orders happen for want
of their being read & explained to the men. The Genl directs that
all orders issued be read to the men in Regts or Companies, & that
every Captain provide himself with an orderly book that the men may be
fully informed of their duty. The adjts of regiments are to report
any neglect.

Oct. 2d.

The Brigrs. or officers commanding Brigades are requested to send
the Brigde Majors or some other proper officers to fetch the new
regulations of the army, & distribute them among the Regts of their
Brigades & the C. officers of each regt or corps are directed to
have them read--to have the rules & regulations read first to the
whole regiment drawn up for that purpose & then order the Captains to
read them again to each of their companies the day after they have
been read to the regts--to be continued the first Monday in every
month. Lt. Mills of Col. Hitchcock's Regt is requested to collect a
party of carpenters from either of the Brigades, regts or corps in
this Division of the army, that are willing to enter the work for the
same pay, that was allowed last campaign. Officers for the day. Major
Bailey--for fatigue Major Bartholomew.

Oct 4th.

A guard to mount to-morrow at 8 A.M. to relieve the guard over
Hackensack River--to take 3 days provision with them. Officers for the
Day Lt Col. Crary--for fatigue Lt Col. Culbertson.

Oct. 6th.

The Post to be carried out at any time when he arrives, night or day.
No person under guard in the main guard to be released without
permission from the guard. A fatigue party of 400 to complete the
fortifications at Fort Constitution--Cols. Durkee's, Bradley's,
Rolling's & William's Regts. to form a brigade under Genl
Roberdeau, until his Excellency's pleasure be further known. The D.
Adjt. Genl is directed to appoint a grand parade, where all
guards for different posts are to parade.

Oct. 7th.

A guard of 50 men to relieve the guard at Hoebuck's Ferry
immediately, to take 4 days provisions. The commanding officers of
Regts--in the English neighborhood are to take care that none of the
rails are burnt in their Regts for fire wood. Regts are to be
furnished with firewood daily, apply to Q.M. Genl for teams. A sub.
& 30 men to go immediately for the stock brought from Bergen.

Oct. 8th.

Application for leave of absence from camp for a short time on the
occasional business of the regt. is to be made to the Brigr Genl
or the commanding officers of Brigade--Brigrs are desired not to
grant liberty of absence unless on real business. The houses upon the
waterside, near the ferry are to be cleared of the present inhabitants
for the use of the guards & ferrymen. A cap. & 40 men well acquainted
with rowing to be drawn for the management of the ferryboats. This
party to be excused from other duty & to be continued in that employ.
All the Axes in the different regts are to be delivered to the Q.M.
Genl Col. Biddle, & he is to deliver an equal proportion to the
Regts retaining enough for the Public works. Cap. Olney of Col.
Hitchcock's Regt & Cap. Warner of Col. Little's are appointed to
assist in overseeing the fortifications & are to be excused from all
other duty. Commanding officers of Regts are requested to fix upon
proper places for Barracks, none to be nearer the fort than 50 rods.
The Genl desires comg officers to divide the regts into
messes of 8 men. The men must build timber huts, as boards are not to
be had. Boards are to be had only for the roof. The huts are to be 12
feet long by 9 wide, to have stone chimneys & to be ranged in proper
streets. The guard at the Bridge to be relieved immediately. The Cap.
of the Artillery is directed to examine the state of the amunition in
the magazine & report to the D. At. Qr. The Genl directs that
none of the troops go out of drum call, without liberty from the
Comg officer of the regt. The rolls of companies are to be
called 4 times a day. Men not to be found when the regts are called
to parade may expect to be severely punished & the officers if
negligent of their duty are to be arrested--Adjutant Colman is
appointed to do the duty of Brigade Major for Genl Nixon's Brigade
while Major Box is employed on the Fortifications.

Oct. 13th.

Gen. Nixon's & Gen. Roberdeau's Brigade are to draw & cook themselves
3 days provisions immediately. The guard to be relieved from Col.
Ewing's Brigade, the guards at Bergen to be excepted. The other two
Brigades to hold themselves in readiness to march at a moment's
warning. Cap. Spurr from Col. Hitchcock's regt is to oversee
fatigue parties employed on Fortifications. The Comy is desired to
kill all the fat cattle brought from Bergen, that the inhabitants
don't claim--take an account of all the marks & numbers & have their
value estimated by 2 or 3 good men. The sheep that are fit are to be
killed for the use of the Army. An exact account of their number &
marks and value is to be kept. The Qr. M. Gen. is directed to take
all horses brought from Bergen & not claimed & to employ such as are
fit in the service; the rest to be disposed of at Public Vendue. Lest
any should be injured that cannot claim his property, a record is to
be kept describing the natural & artificial marks & the value of each.



It is Gen. Greene's orders that my Brigade move over the Ferry
immediately. The regiments to leave a careful officer & 12 men each to
bring forward their baggage to King's Bridge, who is to take care that
none of it be left behind or lost. When the Regts are over the
ferry, they will march to Mt Washington & remain there till further
orders--You will hurry the march as fast as possible, as they must
cross the ferry this night--


To Dudley Colman, A.B.M.


The several regts in this Brigade are to draw 4 days provision &
have it cooked immediately. The Q.M. will apply to the assistant Q.M.
Genl for carriages to transport their provisions. Col. Varnum's
Regt to relieve Col. Nixon's at Froggs Point this P.M.

Oct. 16th.

Sir--You are to order Col. Varnum's regt to march immediately to
Froggs Neck to relieve Col. Ritzema's or Col. Malcolm's regt (which
of the two you find there not relieved). You will get a pilot from
Col. Nixon's regt to direct them thither.


To Dudly Colman, Brigade Major.


Sir--You will have a working party of 300 men & officers ready to go
to work as soon as the tools arrive, which I have sent for & you will
see that suitable guards are mounted by each regiment.


To D. Colman, B. Major.


MILES SQUARE, Oct. 19th.

Gen. Lee returns his warmest thanks to Col. Glover, and the Brigade
under his command, not only for his gallant behavior yesterday, but
for their prudent, cool, orderly & soldier like conduct in all
respects. He assures these brave men that he shall omit no opportunity
of showing his gratitude. The wounded are to be immediately sent to
Valentines Hill at the second Liberty pole where surgeons should at
once repair to dress their wounds. They are afterwards to be forwarded
to Fort Washington.

[No. 45.]


CAMP [MORRISTOWN?] Decr: 7th 1776.


You are to proceed from hence to a certain mill about 8 miles distant
where you are to take Post in the most advantageous manner possible,
with half your Party, and remain yourself: The other half you are to
detach under the most understanding, cool officer you can select. He
is to proceed to Harrington Township, where they are to collect, all
the serviceable horses, all the spare Blankets (that is to leave a
sufficient number to cover the People) they are to collect any spare
shoes, great Coats, to serve as Watch Coats--The People from whom they
are taken are not to be insulted; either by actions or language; but
told that the urgent necessity of the Troop, obliges us to the
Measure--That unless we adopt it, their liberties must Perish--That
they must make an Estimate, of what is taken and the Publick shall pay
them--The officer who commands the Party detach'd, above all, must
take care to advance a Party, to look out, on the Road of Hackinsack
in the Front of the Party who are collecting, that they may not be
surprised, whilst they are thus occupied--A Canadian and Monsr.
Vernajou will conduct you; when the whole is finished, you are to
march by another Road to Morristown: By a Road which will be
indicated: you are not to suffer any Country People to pass by you,
who might inform the Enemy of your motions--if the Collecting Party
should be attacked, they will naturally return but in good order to
your Post--the horses and necessaries collected are to be brought up
to Morris Town and then be disposed of by the General--

CHARLES LEE, Major-General.


     [Original in possession of Rev. Dr. John Chester,
     Washington, D.C.]

[No. 46.]


[Footnote 244: Capt. Bradford, of Rhode Island, was Aide-de-Camp to
General Lee at the time of the latter's capture, and gave this account
of the affair to the Rev. Dr. Stiles, then at Dighton, R.I.]

"Gen. Lee had advanced with his Division to Baskenridge, about
twenty-two miles from the Enemy's advanced Guards, where they lodged
the night of Dec. 12th, Gen. Sullivan being with the body of the
Division, & Gen. Lee in the Rear, or on the flank of the rear about 2
Miles from the body, having with him only his aid-de-camp, Mr.
Bradford, a Major with an express from Gen. Gates, a French Colonel, a
French Captain, the latter in our service, the former just from Paris
by the way of Dartmouth in Mass. with dispatches for Congress, &
perhaps a dozen guards. The house was surrounded on one side with a
wood, on the other an orchard. The Gen. had just sent forward Gen.
Sullivan, who marched with the Division about 8 o'clock in the
morning, tarrying himself to finish dispatches to Gen. Gates, which
having just done, dressed & sent for his horses, was ready to mount, &
would have been gone in 5 or 10 minutes, when about 10 o'clock they
were surprised with about 50 horse, which came on the house from the
wood & orchard at once & surrounding fired upon it. The French Col.
escaped & was pursued & overtaken. Gen. Lee looked out of the window
to see how the guards behaved, & saw the enemy twice with his hanger
cut off the arm of one of the Guards crying for quarter--the guard
behaved well, fired at first, but were rushed upon & subdued. The Gen.
sees then that they must submit, & after walking the chamber perhaps
10 or 15 minutes, told his aid-de-camp to go down & tell them Gen. Lee
submitted. Mr. Bradford went to the door & on opening it a whole
volley of shot came in the door--he spoke loud & opened again &
delivered his orders. Gen. Lee came forward & surrendered himself a
prisoner of war, saying he trusted they would use him like a
gentleman. Of this one of them gave assurance & ordered him instantly
to mount. He requested His Hat & Cloke and Mr. Bradford went in to
fetch it, but changing his clothes on his return they did not know him
from a servant & laying down the General's Hat and Cloke he escaped
back into the house. They immediately rode back in triumph with the

     [From the Stiles MS. Diary, Yale College Library.]

[No. 47.]



PHILADELPHIA[245] December 13 1776

[Footnote 245: Gen. Wolcott, at this date, was a delegate in Congress
from Connecticut.]


The 11th in the Evening a Detachment of the Enemy took possession
of Burlington, about 20 miles from this City on the Jersey shore. The
Rest of their Army are at Trenton, and upon the Banks of the River
above it; their numbers are uncertain, but are computed about twelve
thousand, and as their Designs, are undoubtedly to gain Possession of
this City, the Congress, upon the advice of Genls Putnam and
Mifflin (who are now here to provide for the Protection of the
Place,) as well as the Result of their own Opinion, have adjourned
themselves to Baltimore in Maryland, about 110 miles from this City,
as it was judged, that the Council of America, ought not to sit in a
Place liable to be interrupted by the rude Disorder of Arms, so that I
am at this moment, going forward for that place. Whether the Army will
succeed in their cruel Designs against this City, must be left to time
to discover. Congress have ordered the General to defend it to the
last extremity, and God grant that he may be successful in his

Whatever Event may take place, the American Cause will be supported to
the last, and I trust in God that it will succeed. The Grecian, Roman
and Dutch States were in their Infancy reduced to the greatest
Distress, infinitely beyond what we have yet experienced. The God who
governs the Universe and who holds Empires in His Hand, can with the
least Effort of His Will, grant us all that Security Opulence and
Power which they have enjoyed.

The present scene it is true appears somewhat gloomy, but the natural
or more obvious cause seems to be owing to the term of enlistment of
the Army having expired. I hope we may have a most respectable one
before long established. The business of war is the result of

It is probable that France before long will involve Great Britain in a
war who by unhappy Experience may learn the Folly of attempting to
enslave a People who by the ties of Consanguinity and Affection ever
were desirous of promoting her truest Happiness.

Gen. Howe has lately published a Proclamation abusing the Congress as
having sinister Designs upon the People and has offered to such as
will accept of Pardon upon an unlimited Submission, "Royal
Forgiveness." But who is base enough to wish to have a precarious Care
dependent upon the caprice of Power, unrestrained by any Law and
governed by the dangerous thirst of Avarice and Ambition?

My best love to my children and friends. May the Almighty ever have
you and them in his protection

yours with the most
  Inviolable affection


     [Original in possession of Frederick H. Wolcott, Esq.,
     Astoria, L.I.]




[No. 48.]



TRENTON, Jany 1st, 1777.


Have but a moment which shall embrace with Pleasure to inform you of
the present State of our Army and our late Success. After we had
recruited a few days of a fatiguing March of more than 250 Miles
(thro' all our Windings) Genl. Washington gave orders for us to be
every way equiped for Action. On the Evening of the 25th Ult. we were
ordered to March to a ferry [McConkey's] about twelve Miles from
Trenton, where was stationed near two Thousand Hessians. As violent a
Storm ensued of Hail & Snow as I ever felt. The Artillery and Infantry
all were across the Ferry about twelve O'clock, consisting of only
twenty one hundred principally New England Troops. In this Violent
Storm we marched on for Trenton. Before Light in the Morning we gained
all the Roads leading from Trenton. The Genl. gave orders that every
Officer's Watch should be set by his, and the Moment of Attack was
fixed. Just after Light, we came to their out Guard, which fired upon
us and retreated. The first Sound of the Musquetry and Retreat of the
Guards animated the Men and they pushed on with Resolution and
Firmness. Happily the fire begun on every Side at the same instant,
their Main body had just Time to form when there ensued a heavy
Cannonade from our Field Pieces and a fine brisk and lively fire from
our Infantry. This continued but a Short Time before the Enemy finding
themselves flanked on every Side laid down their Arms. The Resolution
and Bravery of our Men, their Order and Regulariety gave me the
highest Sensation of Pleasure. Genl. Washington highly congratulated
the Men on next day in Genl. Orders, and with Pleasure observed, that
he had been in Many Actions before, but always perceived some
Misbehaviour in some individuals, but in that Action he saw none.
Pennsylvania itself is obliged to acknowledge the Bravery of New Eng'd
Troops. I have a List from Head Quarters of the Killed and taken,
which was taken the day after the Action, since which many more have
been brought in: 1 Col. wounded since dead, 2 Lieut. Cols. taken, 3
Majors, 4 Capts. 8 Lieuts., 12 Ens'ns, 92 Serj'ts, 9 Musicians, 12
Drums, 25 Servants, 842 Privates, 2 Capt's Killed, 2 Lieuts. killed 50
privates Six Brass Field Pieces, One Mortar, and about 1500 Stand of
Arms. A large Number of Horses and a vast Quantity of Plunder of every
kind. And this, Sir, I will assure you with only the Loss of six or
seven on our side, this is no Exaggeration but simple fact, 'tis
impossible to describe the scene to you as it appeared. We immediately
retreated across the River and did not get to our Tents till next
Morning--two Nights and one day in as violent a Storm as I ever felt.
What can't Men do when engaged in so noble a Cause. Our Men's Time
Expired Yesterday, they have generally engaged to tarry six weeks
longer. My company almost to a man. Orders have now come for us to
march for Princetown. We have a Rumor that it was burned last night by
the Enemy, who we suppose are about retreating. Compliments to Miss
Adams & Children. Adieu and believe me to be sincerely yours,


     [_Legacy of Historical Gleanings._ By Mrs. C.V.R. Bonney.
     Vol. I., p. 57. Munsell, Albany. 1875.]

[No. 49.]


  Dec. 28, 1776, near 12 o'clock.

... Trenton is an open town, situated nearly on the banks of the
Delaware, accessible on all sides. Our army was scattered along the
river for nearly twenty-five miles. Our intelligence agreed that the
force of the enemy in Trenton was from two to three thousand, with
about six field cannon, and that they were pretty secure in their
situation, and that they were Hessians--no British troops. A hardy
design was formed of attacking the town by storm. Accordingly a part
of the army, consisting of about 2,500 or 3,000, passed the river on
Christmas night, with almost infinite difficulty, with eighteen
field-pieces. The floating ice in the river made the labor almost
incredible. However, perseverance accomplished what at first seemed
impossible. About two o'clock the troops were all on the Jersey side;
we then were about nine miles from the object. The night was cold and
stormy; it hailed with great violence; the troops marched with the
most profound silence and good order. They arrived by two routes at
the same time, about half an hour after daylight, within one mile of
the town. The storm continued with great violence, but was in our
backs, and consequently in the faces of our enemy. About half a mile
from the town was an advanced guard on each road, consisting of a
captains guard. These we forced, and entered the town with them
pell-mell; and here succeeded a scene of war of which I had often
conceived, but never saw before. The hurry, fright, and confusion of
the enemy was [not] unlike that which will be when the last trump
shall sound. They endeavored to form in streets, the heads of which we
had previously the possession of with cannon and howitzers; these, in
the twinkling of an eye, cleared the streets. The backs of the houses
were resorted to for shelter. These proved ineffectual; the musketry
soon dislodged them. Finally they were driven through the town into an
open plain beyond. Here they formed in an instant. During the contest
in the streets measures were taken for putting an entire stop to their
retreat by posting troops and cannon in such passes and roads as it
was possible for them to get away by. The poor fellows after they were
formed on the plain saw themselves completely surrounded, the only
resource left was to force their way through numbers unknown to them.
The Hessians lost part of their cannon in the town; they did not
relish the project of forcing, and were obliged to surrender upon the
spot, with all their artillery, six brass pieces, army colors, &c. A
Colonel Rawle commanded, who was wounded. The number of prisoners was
above 1,200, including officers,--all Hessians. There were few killed
or wounded on either side. After having marched off the prisoners and
secured the cannon, stores, &c, we returned to the place, nine miles
distant, where we had embarked. Providence seemed to have smiled upon
every part of this enterprise. Great advantages may be gained from it
if we take the proper steps. At another post we have pushed over the
river 2,000 men, to-day another body, and to-morrow the whole army
will follow. It must give a sensible pleasure to every friend of the
rights of man to think with how much intrepidity our people pushed the
enemy, and prevented their forming in the town.

His Excellency the General has done me the unmerited great honor of
thanking me in public orders in terms strong and polite. This I should
blush to mention to any other than to you, my dear Lucy; and I am
fearful that even my Lucy may think her Harry possesses a species of
little vanity in doing [it] at all.

MORRISTOWN Jan. 7 1777.

I wrote to you from Trenton by a Mr. Furness which I hope you have
received. I then informed you that we soon expected another tussle. I
was not out in my conjecture. About three o'clock on the second of
January, a column of the enemy attacked a party of ours which was
stationed one mile above Trenton. Our party was small and did not make
much resistance. The enemy, who were Hessians, entered the town
pell-mell pretty much in the same manner that we had driven them a few
days before.

Nearly on the other side of Trenton, partly in the town, runs a brook
[the Assanpink], which in most places is not fordable, and over which
through Trenton is a bridge. The ground on the other side is much
higher than on this, and may be said to command Trenton completely.
Here it was our army drew up with thirty or forty pieces in front. The
enemy pushed our small party through the town with vigor, though not
with much loss. Their retreat over the bridge was thoroughly secured
by the artillery. After they had retired over the bridge, the enemy
advanced within reach of our cannon, who saluted them with great
vociferation and some execution. This continued till dark when of
course it ceased, except a few shells which we now and then chucked
into town to prevent their enjoying their new quarters securely. As I
before mentioned, the creek was in our front, our left on the
Delaware, our right in a wood parallel to the creek. The situation was
strong, to be sure; but hazardous on this account, that had our right
wing been defeated, the defeat of the left would almost have been an
inevitable consequence, and the whole thrown into confusion or pushed
into the Delaware, as it was impassable by boats.

From these circumstances the general thought best to attack
Princeton, twelve miles in the rear of the enemy's grand army, and
where they had the 17th, 40th, and 55th regiments, with a number of
draughts, altogether perhaps twelve hundred men. Accordingly about one
o'clock at night we began to march and make this most extra
manoevre. Our troops marched with great silence and order, and
arrived near Princeton a little after daybreak. We did not surprise
them as at Trenton; for they were on their march down to Trenton, on a
road about a quarter of a mile distant from that in which we were. You
may judge of their surprise when they saw such large columns marching
up. They could not possibly suppose it was our army, for that they
took for granted was cooped up near Trenton. They could not possibly
suppose it was their own array returning by a back road; in short, I
believe they were as much astonished as if an army had dropped
perpendicularly upon them. However they had not much time for
consideration. We pushed a party to attack them. This they repulsed
with great spirit, and advanced upon another column just then coming
out of a wood, which they likewise put in some disorder; but fresh
troops coming up, and the artillery beginning to play, they were after
a smart resistance put totally to the rout. The 18th regiment used
their bayonets with too much severity upon a party they put to flight;
but they were paid for it in proportion, very few escaping. Near sixty
were killed on the spot besides the wounded. We have taken between
three and four hundred prisoners, all British troops. They must have
lost in this affair nearly five hundred killed, wounded, and
prisoners. We lost some gallant officers. Brigadier-General Mercer was
wounded: he had three separate stabs with a bayonet. A Lieutenant-Colonel
Fleming was killed, and Captain Neil of the artillery an excellent
officer. Mercer will get better. The enemy took his parole after we
left Princeton. We took all their cannon, which consisted of two brass
six-pounders, a considerable amount of military stores, blankets,
guns, &c. They lost, among a number of other officers, a Captain
Leslie, a son of the Earl of Leven and nephew to General Leslie: him
we brought off and buried with honors of war.

After we had been about two hours at Princeton, word was brought that
the enemy was advancing from Trenton. This they did, as we have since
been informed, in a most infernal sweat,--running, puffing, and
blowing, and swearing at being so outwitted. As we had other objects
in view, to wit, breaking up their quarters, we pursued our march to
Somerset Court House, where there were about thirteen hundred
quartered, as we had been informed. They, however, had marched off,
and joined the army at Trenton. We at first intended to have made a
forced march to Brunswick; but our men having been without rest, rum,
or provisions for two nights and days were unequal to the task of
marching seventeen miles further. If we could have secured one
thousand fresh men at Princeton to have pushed for Brunswick, we
should have struck one of the most brilliant strokes in all history.
However the advantages are very great: already they have collected
their whole force, and drawn themselves to one point, to wit,

The enemy were within nineteen miles of Philadelphia, they are now
sixty miles. We have driven them from almost the whole of West Jersey.
The panic is still kept up. We had a battle two days ago with a party
of ours and sixty Waldeckers, who were all killed or taken, in
Monmouth County in the lower part of the Jerseys. It is not our
interest to fight a general battle, nor can I think, under all
circumstances, it is the enemy's. They have sent their baggage to
Staten Island from the Jerseys, and we are very well informed they are
doing the same from New York. Heath will have orders to march there
and endeavor to storm it from that side. 'There is a tide in the
affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to victory.'

     [_Life, etc. of General Knox._ By Francis S. Drake. Boston,

[No. 50.]


ALLENTOWN January 2nd 1777.

This morning we were called up at 2 o'clock under a pretended alarm
that we were to be attacked by the enemy but by daylight we were
ordered to march for Trenton, and when we reached Crosswicks found
that the brigade had gone. We reached Trenton about 11 o'clock and
found all the troops from our different posts in Jersey, collected and
collecting there under General Washington himself; and the regular
troops were already properly disposed to receive the enemy, whose main
body was then within a few miles and determined to dispossess us.

Trenton stands upon the River Delaware, with a creek called the
Assanpink passing through the town across which there is a bridge.

The enemy came down on the upper side of this creek, through the town,
and a number of our troops were posted with Riflemen and artillery to
oppose their approach.

The main body of our army was drawn up on a plain below, or on the
lower side of the Assanpink, near the bridge, and the main force of
our Artillery was posted on the banks and high ground along the creek
in front of them.

Gen. Mercer's brigade was posted about 2 miles up the creek, and the
troops under Gen. Cadwallader were stationed in a field on the right
about a mile from the town, on the main road, to prevent the enemy
from flanking. We had five pieces of Artillery with our division and
about 20 more in the field, near, and at the town. Our numbers were
about five thousand, and the enemy's about seven thousand. The attack
began about 2 o'clock and a heavy fire upon both sides, chiefly from
the artillery continued untill dark.

At this time the enemy were left in possession of the upper part of
the town, but we kept possession of the bridge, altho' the enemy
attempted several times to carry it but were repulsed each time with
great slaughter. After sunset this afternoon the enemy came down in a
very heavy column to force the bridge. The fire was very heavy and the
Light troops were ordered to fly to the support of that important
post, and as we drew near, I stepped out of the front to order my men
to close up; at this time Martinas Sipple was about 10 sets behind the
man next in front of him; I at once drew my sword and threatened to
cut his head off if he did not keep close, he then sprang forward and
I returned to the front. The enemy were soon defeated and retired and
the American army also retired to the woods, where they encamped and
built up fires. I then had the roll called to see if any of our men
were missing and Martinas was not to be found, but Leut. Mark McCall
informed me that immediately upon my returning to the head of the
column, after making him close up, he fled out of the field.[246] We
lost but few men; the enemy considerably more. It is thought Gen.
Washington did not intend to hold the upper part of the town.

[Footnote 246: Sipple afterwards joined the Delaware Regiment under
Col. David Hall, and is said to have proved a brave and faithful

     [Original in possession of Cæsar A. Rodney, Esq.]

[No. 51.]


[Footnote 247: Captain Rodney marched with a Delaware company to the
relief of Washington in the dark days of the campaign. Four other
companies from Philadelphia, joined with his, formed a battalion under
Captain Henry--Rodney being second in command. He was with
Cadwallader's force during the battle of Trenton; and his vivid
description of the storm that night, and the condition of the river
[_Force_, fifth series, vol. iii.], has frequently been quoted by
historical writers. His interesting account of subsequent events, as
given above, is now published for the first time. It has been made the
subject of a highly interesting paper prepared and read by Cæsar A.
Rodney, Esq., of Wilmington, before the Historical Societies of
Delaware and Pennsylvania.]

January 3rd 1777.

... At two o'clock this morning, the ground having been frozen firm by
a keen N. West wind, secret orders were issued to each department and
the whole army was at once put in motion, but no one knew what the
Gen. meant to do. Some thought that we were going to attack the enemy
in the rear; some that we were going to Princeton; the latter proved
to be right. We went by a bye road on the right hand which made it
about 16 miles. During this nocturnal march I with the Dover Company
and the Red Feather Company of Philadelphia Light Infantry led the van
of the army and Capt. Henry with the other three companies of
Philadelphia Light Infantry brought up the rear. The van moved on all
night in the most cool and determined order, but on the march great
confusion happened in the rear. There was a cry that they were
surrounded by the Hessians, and several corps of Militia broke and
fled towards Bordentown, but the rest of the column remained firm and
pursued their march without disorder, but those who were frightened
and fled did not recover from their panic until they reached

When we had proceeded to within a mile and a half of Princeton and the
van had crossed Stony Brook, Gen. Washington ordered our Infantry to
file off to one side of the road and halt. Gen. Sullivan was ordered
to wheel to the right and flank the town on that side, and two
Brigades were ordered to wheel to the left, to make a circuit and
surround the town on that side and as they went to break down the
Bridge and post a party at the mill on the main road, to oppose the
enemy's main army if they should pursue us from Trenton.

The third Division was composed of Gen. Mercer's Brigade of
Continental troops, about 300 men, and Cadwalader's brigade of
Philadelphia Militia to which brigade the whole of our light Infantry
Regiment was again annexed.

Mercer's brigade marched in front and another corp of infantry brought
up the rear. My company flanked the whole brigade on the right in an
Indian file so that my men were very much extended and distant from
each other; I marched in front and was followed by Sargeant McKnatt
and next to him was Nehemiah Tilton. Mercer's brigade which was headed
by Col. Haslet of Delaware on foot and Gen. Mercer on horseback was to
march straight on to Princeton without turning to the right or left.

It so happened that two Regiments of British troops that were on their
march to Trenton to reinforce their army there, received intelligence
of the movements of the American Army (for the sun rose as we passed
over Stony Brook) and about a mile from Princeton they turned off from
the main road and posted themselves behind a long string of buildings
and an orchard on the straight road to Princeton.

The two first Divisions of our army therefore passed wide to the right
and left, and leaving them undiscovered went into Princeton. Gen.
Mercer's Brigade, owing to some delay in arranging Cadwallader's men
had advanced several hundred yards ahead and never discovered the
enemy until he was turning the buildings they were posted behind, and
then they were not more than fifty yards off.

He immediately formed his men, with great courage, and poured a heavy
fire in upon the enemy. But they being greatly superior in number
returned the fire and charged bayonets, and their onset was so fierce
that Gen. Mercer fell mortally wounded and many of his officers were
killed, and the brigade being effectually broken up, began a
disorderly flight. Col. Haslet retired some small distance behind the
buildings and endeavored to rally them, but receiving a bullet through
his head, dropt dead on the spot and the whole brigade fled in
confusion. At this instant Gen. Cadwallader's Philadelphia Brigade
came up and the enemy checked by their appearance took post behind a
fence, and a ditch in front of the buildings before mentioned, and so
extended themselves that every man could load and fire incessantly;
the fence stood on low ground between two hills; on the hill behind
the British line they had eight pieces of artillery which played
incessantly with round and grape shot on our brigade, and the fire
was extremely hot. Yet Gen. Cadwalader led up the head of the column
with the greatest bravery to within 50 yards of the enemy, but this
was rashly done, for he was obliged to recoil; and leaving one piece
of his artillery, he fell back about 40 yards and endeavored to form
the brigade, and some companies did form and gave a few vollies, but
the fire of the enemy was so hot, that, at the sight of the Regular
troops running to the rear, the militia gave way and the whole brigade
broke and most of them retired to a woods about 150 yards in the rear;
but two pieces of artillery stood their ground and were served with
great skill and bravery.

At this time a field officer was sent to order me to take post on the
left of the artillery, until the brigade should form again, and, with
the Philadelphia Infantry keep up a fire from some stacks and
buildings, and to assist the artillery in preventing the enemy from
advancing. We now crossed the enemy's fire from right to Left and took
position behind some stacks just on the left of the artillery; and
about 30 of the Philadelphia Infantry were under cover of a house on
our left and a little in the rear.

About 150 of my men came to this post, but I could not keep them all
there, for the enemies fire was dreadful and three balls, for they
were very thick, had grazed me; one passed within my elbow nicking my
great coat and carried away the breech of Sargeant McKnatts gun, he
being close behind me, another carried away the inside edge of one of
my shoe soles, another had nicked my hat and indeed they seemed as
thick as hail. From these stacks and buildings we, with the two pieces
of Artillery kept up a continuous fire on the enemy, and in all
probability it was this circumstance that prevented the enemy from
advancing, for they could not tell the number we had posted behind
these covers and were afraid to attempt passing them; but if they had
known how few they were they might easily have advanced while the two
brigades were in confusion and routed the whole body, for it was a
long time before they could be reorganized again and indeed many, that
were panic struck, ran quite off. Gen. Washington having rallied both
Gen. Mercer's and Gen. Cadwallader's brigade, they moved forward and
when they came to where the Artillery stood began a very heavy platoon
fire on the march. This the enemy bore but a few minutes and then
threw down their arms and ran. We then pushed forwards towards the
town spreading over the fields and through the woods to enclose the
enemy and take prisoners. The fields were covered with baggage which
the Gen. ordered to be taken care of. Our whole force met at the Court
House and took there about 200 prisoners and about 200 others pushed
off and were pursued by advanced parties who took about 50 more. In
this engagement we lost about 20 killed, the enemy about 100 men
killed and lost the field. This is a very pretty little town on the
York road 12 miles from Trenton; the houses are built of brick and are
very elegant especially the College which has 52 rooms in it; but the
whole town has been ravaged and ruined by the enemy.

As soon as the enemy's main army heard our cannon at Princeton (and
not 'til then) they discovered our manouvre and pushed after us with
all speed and we had not been above an hour in possession of the town
before the enemy's light horse and advanced parties attacked our party
at the bridge, but our people by a very heavy fire kept the pass until
our whole army left the town. Just as our army began our march through
Princetown with all their prisoners and spoils the van of the British
army we had left at Trenton came in sight, and entered the town about
an hour after we left it, but made no stay and pushed on towards
Brunswick for fear we should get there before him, which was indeed
the course our General intended to pursue had he not been detained too
long in collecting the Baggage and Artillery which the enemy had left
behind him. Our army marched on to Kingston then wheeled to the left
and went down the Millstone, keeping that River on our left; the main
body of the British army followed, but kept on through Kingston to
Brunswick; but one division or a strong party of horse took the road
to the left of the Millstone and arrived on the hill, at the bridge on
that road just as the van of the American Army arrived on the opposite
side. I was again commanding the van of our army, and General
Washington seeing the enemy, rode forward and ordered me to halt and
take down a number of carpenters which he had ordered forward and
break up the bridge, which was done and the enemy were obliged to
return. We then marched on to a little village called Stone brook or
Summerset Court House about 15 miles from Princeton where we arrived
just at dusk. About an hour before we arrived here 150 of the enemy
from Princeton and 50 which were stationed in this town went off with
20 wagons laden with Clothing and Linen, and 400 of the Jersey militia
who surrounded them were afraid to fire on them and let them go off
unmolested and there were no troops in our army fresh enough to
pursue them, or the whole might have been taken in a few hours. Our
army now was extremely fatigued not having had any refreshment since
yesterday morning, and our baggage had all been sent away the morning
of the action at Trenton; yet they are in good health and in high

MORRISTOWN January 6th 1777.

We left Pluckemin this morning and arrived at Morristown just before
sunset. The order of march, was first a small advance guard, next the
officers who were prisoners, next my Light Infantry Regiment, in
columns of four deep; next the prisoners flanked by the riflemen, next
the head of the main column, with the artillery in front. Our whole
Light Infantry are quartered in a very large house belonging to Col.
Ford having 4 Rooms on a floor and Two stories high. This town is
situated among the mountains of Morris County, about 18 miles from
Elizabethtown, 28 from Brunswick and 20 from Carroll's Ferry.

     [Originals in possession of Cæsar A. Rodney, Esq.]

[No. 52.]


"The following were the exact stations of Gen. Howe's army on the 6th
of January, 1777, from an authentic account.

At New York.--The first brigade of British consisting of the 4th,
15th, 27th, and 45th regiments; a squadron of light dragoons of the
17th; and three Hessian regiments, viz. Hereditary Prince, Cassel and

At Harlem.--The sixth brigade, British, consisting of the 23d, 44th,
and 6th regiments, and a brigade of Hessians.

At Amboy.--33d and 71st Regiments, and remains of 7th and 16th [?]
regiments; a detachment of dragoons, and the Waldeck regiment.

At Brunswick.--The guards, grenadiers, and light infantry. Second
brigade, British, consisting of the 5th, 28th, 35th, and 49th
regiments. Fourth brigade, British, consisting of the 17th, 40th,
46th, and 55th regiments, and the 42 regiment, which is not brigaded.
Also Donop's corps, Hessian grenadiers, and chasseurs.

At Bergen.--The 57th regiment, ordered to Amboy, and preparing to

At Rhode Island.--Third and fifth brigades of British, consisting of
the 10th, 37th, 38th, and 52d; of the 22d, 43d, 54th, and 63d
regiments; a battalion of grenadiers, and one of light infantry; a
troop of light dragoons; a detachment of artillery, and two brigades
of Hessians.

This account shews clearly what places Gen. Howe is in possession of,
and what he is not; that in Jersey he has only Brunswick and Amboy,
and in New York only York city and Harlem. All other places are in
possession of the Americans, who seem by the last accounts to be
endeavoring to cut off the troops at Brunswick."

     [_London Chronicle_, March 1-4, 1777.]





[No. 53.]


[Footnote 248: Of Colonel Huntington's regiment.]


... "I myself was so happy as to fall at first into ye hands ... of
ye 57th Regt who used me with some degree of Civility, altho,
some perticular Offrs were very liberal of their favourite Term
(Rebels) & now & then did not forget to Remind me of a halter, &c;
they did not Rob or Strip me of any of my Clothing, only took my Arms
& Amunition, & after keeping me in ye Field sometime, in Confinment
with several others under a Strong Guard, was sent off to Genll
Grants Quarters, at Gowaynes. In this March we passd through ye
Front of several Brigades of Hessians who were peraded on several
Emininences in order of Battle; they Indeed made a very Warlike
appearance, & as no power appear'd at yt [that] time to oppose them,
their whole attention seemed to be fixed on us, nor were they by any
means, sparing of their Insults; But their Offrs Esspacially,
Represented to ye life (as far as their Capacitys would admit)
ye conduct of Infernal Spirits, under Certain Restrictions; Having
pas'd through those Savage Insults, we at length came to a hill nigh
to the place where we at first engaged ye Enimy ye morning; we
were here met by a number of Insolent Soldiers among whom was one
Woman who appeared remarkably Malicious and attempted several times,
to throw Stones at us, when one of our Guard Informed me yt her
husband had been killed in this Day's Action; we were then conducted
down to a barn near ye water side, where we were drove into a Yard
among a great number of Offrs & men who had been taken before us; soon
after we came here, Capt. Jewett with a number of others were brought
in, & Confin'd with us; Capt. Jewett had Recd two Wounds with a
Bayonet after he was taken & Strip'd of his Arms, & part of his
Cloths, one in ye Brest & ye other in ye Belly, of wich he
Languished with great pain untill ye Thirdsday following when he
Died; Sargt Graves was also Stab'd in ye Thigh with a Bayonet,
after he was taken with Capt Jewett, of wich wound he recovered
altho' he afterward perrish'd in Prison with many hundred others at N.
York.... After being some time confined in this Yard, Capt Jewett &
some others who were wounded were ordered to some other place in order
to have their Wounds dress'd, & I see no more of them this Night....
Early next morning Capt Jewett came to us in excessive pain with
his wounds already dress'd, but yet notwithstanding ye applications
of several of ye Enimy's Cirgions, Especially one Docr Howe (a
young Scotch Gent) who treated him with great civility &
tenderness, he Languished untill ye Thirdsday following (viz: ye
29th of Augt at about 5 oClock in ye Morning) when he Expired, &
was Buried in an Orchard nigh sd House, at about 8 ye same morning,
with as much Deacence as our present Situation would Admit; I myself
[was] Indulg'd by Gnll Grant, at ye application of Majr
Brown, who Attended us in this place, to Attend ye Captains
Funeral; The aforesaid Majr Brown treated us with ye greatest
Civility & Complesance, during our confinment in this place, &
Endeavour'd to make our Accomodations, as agreable as possable;
Genll Grant also was so good as to send us (with his Compliments,)
two Quarters of Mutton well Cook'd, & several Loves of Bread, which
were Acceptable to us, as most of us had eat nothing since ye
Monday before."

     [From copy of original in possession of Mr. Chas. I.
     Bushnell, New York.]

[No. 54.]


[Footnote 249: Of Colonel Miles' regiment. The journal, McPherson
says, was "wrote at John Lott's, Flatbush, L.I."]


"Wm McPherson, Lieut. was taken Prisoner the 27th Day of August
by the Hathians [Hessians] and was taken to Flatbush, that evening and
staid there five days and then they marched us down to the river and
sent us aboard of one of their transports. Sept. the 15th. I am as
hearty as the time will admit. The Generals who were taken on Long
Island are Genl Sullivan, Lord Sterling. They were taken the 27th
of Augt. 1776. That day there were twenty-three thousand of the King's
troops on Long Island and about twenty-six hundred of the Continental
troops against them which was suffered very much. Sept. 22d. We
sailed from below the Narrows up near New York and there we ---- the
23d day. There was some firing from the Rowbuck & another small
vessel against our work on Paulus Hook which continued about half an
hour. Col. Miles got leave to go to Philadelphia this 26th of November
1776, from New York where he was prisoner. The 7th of October we all
left the Snow Mentor and were taken into New York and was put into a
close house there. All the officers signed their parole this day & got
a small bound to walk round to stretch their legs, which we found
grateful. Nov. 20, 1776, all the officers got leave to walk in the
bounds of the City of New York."

     [Original in the possession of Hon. Edward McPherson,
     Gettysburg, Penn.]

[No. 55.]



Thomas Foster of full age being duly sworn, deposeth and saith that he
was a soldier in the first battalion of the Pennsylvania Riflemen,
commanded by Colo. Miles; that he was made a prisoner on Long Island;
that immediately after he was made prisoner he was stripped by the
Hessians of all his clothes, except his frock and a pair of drawers;
that after they had stripped him, they put a cord about his neck and
hanged him up to the limb of a tree, where they suffered him to remain
until he was almost strangled; that they then cut him down and gave
him a little rum to recover his spirits; that they repeated this cruel
sport three times successively; that he has frequently heard it said
among the British troops that the Hessians hanged several of our
prisoners, and further this deponent says not.


examined and sworn in the presence of


     [Journal of the New York Provincial Congress, Vol. II.]

[No. 56.]



[Footnote 250: Captain Randolph was a very brave officer from
Woodbridge, N.J., who, during the war, undertook several hazardous
scouting expeditions. He belonged to the Continental army, was five
times wounded, twice made a prisoner, and finally killed, in July,
1780, in a skirmish near Springfield, New Jersey. He was the officer
who captured the famous Colonel Billop. He appears to have been with
Colonel Heard, when the latter was sent to seize tories on Long
Island, in January, 1776; in which connection the following letter to
his wife will be of interest:

... When we Shall Return Home is unceartain we have Been Busy a
Hunting up and Disarming the Tories ever Since we Have Been Here. Have
collected upwards of two Hundred Muskits with ammunition &c. We was
two nights at Jamaica where I had to take Jonathan Rowland an own
uncle to Roberts wife. Likewise Saml Doughty an acquaintance of
Roberts. Charles Jackson is well and Desires to Be Remembered to his
fammily and I Request of you to Show his wife this Letter. I Remain
yours &c.,


HEMPSTEAD, Jan. 24th, 1776.

P.S. We proceed from Here to Oyster Bay.]

MY DEAR SPOUSE--these with my Love to you and Children may informe you
of my present situation, which is that I am wounded in the head and
arm but not dangerous. Should be glad that you will send me some
necessary Clothing as I now remain in close confinement. I would not
have you make yourself uneasy about me as I have been treated with
the greatest kindness by Col. Prescott who commanded the party of
King's Troops whose hands it was my misfortune to fall into. Likewise
by most of the officers of the 28th and 35th Ridgements. I have been
before Lord Cornwallace, who I believe looks upon my conduct nothing
more than becoming a soldier--and Major Generl. Grant has for my
conduct in taking his steward and stores kindly sent me word that I
may send to him for any necessarys which I may want and shall be
wellcome to. I would request to procure some person to bring what
necessarys you may send to me and believe they will not be molested or
detained if received protection. I now conclude wishing you every
happyness these times can afford and remain your ever affectionate



P.S. Joseph Combes is well and hearty, and desires that his brother
Stephen may send him some clothes, but in particular to send a pair of
Buckskin Breeches.

  to the care of
   John Hampton

I make no doubt but every intelligence you have had concerning me has
been favorable and wish it was in my power to send you such
intelligence now--But must informe you in as few words as possible
that the wound in my head is verry painfull and dangerous and am now
close confined in the Provost Goal, By a positive order from Generl.
Howe. I would not have you make yourself uneasy about me as it will be
of But Little Service to either of us--But wish you every Happyness
the world can afford and remain your ever affectionate Husband,


NEW YORK Feb. 25th 1777.

P.S. Our men who are prisoners here is verry sickly and are Dying
Dayly--John Parker an Indian Israel dyed here a few days ago--Please
to send enclosed by some safe hand.

   East Jersey.

These with my love to you and Children may informe you that I remain
close Confined in the Provost Goal but in vain might attempt to
discribe in a particular manner the misserys that attend the Poor
Prisoners Confined in this Horrid place, they are dying dayly with
(what is called here) the Goal fever but may more properly be called
the Hungry fever which rages among the prisoners here confined in
goals they being deprived of allmost every necessary of Life. As to
the treatment I have received since a prisoner has been varrious
Sometimes like a Gentleman other times like a Ruffin, have been for a
week without a Surgeon to attend me. At other times have been attended
by eight or ten different Surgeons in one day, But have for three
weeks past had verry regular attendance. My wounds is in a fair way of
doing well and am in prety good Health. Being in great haste must
conclude, desireing you to make your self as happy as possible in your
present Situation and wait with patience until time brings a change. I
remain with sincere affection, ever your affectionate Husband,


NEW YORK, March 10, 1777.

P.S. David Tappin is confined in a Room where the Small Pox is and
Reuben Potter has been unwell for some days past.

     [Originals in possession of Captain John Coddington Kinney,
     Hartford, Conn.]

[No. 57.]


[Footnote 251: Captain James Morris was a Connecticut officer. He
first entered the service as ensign in Colonel Gay's Regiment, and was
engaged in the battle of Long Island. In the following year, as
lieutenant, he fought at the battle of Germantown, where he was taken
prisoner, and closely confined in Philadelphia until removed to Long
Island. When released, in 1781, he was detailed to Scammell's Light
Infantry Corps, and took part in the capture of Yorktown, Virginia.
One of his letters, written from Flatbush while prisoner, is as


Wednesday, the 17th inst., the American Prisoners of war left
Philadelphia. I embarked on board the Sloop Nancy, Capt. Hill. Sailed
as far as Billings Port; then went on board the Brig Minerva, Capt.
Smith, in order to sail for New York. After a passage of 12 days
arrived at New York, being the 28th inst. The 29th I was paroled upon
Long Island, and went to live at the House of Mr. John Lott. Our
treatment, both officers and soldiers, while on board the shipping,
was much better than I expected; our situation was as agreeable as
circumstances would admit. We had the liberty of any part of the ship,
and both officers and soldiers had a supply of provisions and a gill
of Rum per man per day.]

"I was put on board with the other prisoners of war [at Philadelphia]
and sailed down the river Delaware, and went to New York. We were 12
days on our passage. I was then put on my parole of honour and boarded
with a plain Dutch family in Kings County, at the west end of Long
Island. We were confined within the limits of said County.

At Flat Bush I became acquainted with a Mr Clarkson a man of
science and of a large property, he owned the most extensive private
Library that I had ever known in the United States, his wife had a
capacious mind and she was remarkably distinguished for her piety. Mr.
Clarkson made me a welcome visitor at his house and gave me access to
his library. He allowed me to take as many books as I chose and carry
them to my lodgings. I there lived two years and six months devoting
my time to reading. I read through a course of ancient and modern
history. My exercise was hand labour and walking. I tended a garden
one summer upon shares and my net profits were about twelve dollars.
The next summer I obtained the use of a small piece of Land and
planted it with potatoes from which my net profits were 30 dollars. I
was treated with great kindness by the family with which I lived. I
endeavored to be always on the pleasant side with them and to be sure,
not to be wanting in my attentions to my landlady. Here I learned that
the little nameless civilities and attentions were worth a great deal
more than they cost me. Here I was peculiarily situated to learn the
human character: for the inhabitants in this county were all attached
to the British Government and said the officers paroled there were all
rebels, and that they would finally be hung for their rebellion, so
that if any of us received any injury or met with any abuse from the
inhabitants we could have no redress we must patiently bear it. The
Dutch inhabitants were uncultivated yet many of them possessed
strength of mind and were intelligent. They were mostly strangers to
the sympathies and tender sensibilities which so much rejoiced the
heart of friends with friends and promote the happiness of society.
But notwithstanding I was thus secluded from my particular friends
and acquaintances yet I enjoyed my share of comfort and worldly
felicity. I felt no disposition to murmer and repine in my then
condition. Every day afforded me its enjoyments excepting a time when
I had a pretty severe attack with the ague and fever which reduced me
low. The whole term of my Captivity was three years and three months
lacking one day. I was exchanged on the 3rd day of Jany 1781. I was
taken from Flat Bush to New York and from thence conveyed to
Elizabethtown in New Jersey and set at liberty."

     [Original in possession of Hon. Dwight Morris, Bridgeport,

[No. 58.]


KINGS BRIDGE, August 29, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: I send to your care and safe keeping the following
prisoners of war, taken on _Long Island_, on the 27th instant viz:
Lieutenant _John Ragg_, of the Marines, Sergeant _David Wallace_,
Corporal _Thomas Pike_ and _Edward Gibbon_, _William Smith_, _Isaac
Hughs_, _Thomas Haraman_, _John Woodard_, _Edward Cavil_, _William
Williams_, _William Coortney_, _Stephen Weber_, _John Smith_, _Samuel
Morral_, _Thomas Sarral_, _Joseph Distant_, _Benjamin Jones_, _William
Jones_, _William Pearce_, _John Hopkins_, _Henry Weston_, _Evan
Evans_, and _John Morten_, Privates.

You will please to secure them in such manner as to prevent their
escape, observing the order of Congress in this respect.

I am, gentlemen, with Esteem,
  Your humble Servant
    W. HEATH, Major General.

To the Committee of the Town of Fairfield [Conn.]

     [_Force_, 5th Series, vol. i, p. 1215.]

[No. 59.]


[Transcriber's Note: For readability, the vertical text in the
following table has been reduced to abbreviations, as follows:

LC--Lt. Colonels
QM--Q. Masters
WM--Wagon Masters

Other text has been abbreviated as follows:

8/27--Augt. 27th
9/15-16--Sept. 15 & 16th
10/12--Octr. 12th
11/16--Novr. 16th
11/18--Novr. 18th

L.I.--Long Island
Y.I.--York Island
W.P.--White Plains
F.W.--Fort Washington
F.L.--Fort Lee]

               Gn Co LC Mj Ca Lt  En Ch QM Ad Su Cm Eg WM Vo Pr   WOUNDED

8/27    L.I.    2  3  4  2 18   3 11  3 --  1  3 -- -- --  3 1006 9 Officers,
                                                                  56 Privates.

9/15-16 Y.I.   --  1  2  3  4   7 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  354

10/12   W.P.   -- -- -- --  1   2 -- --  1 -- -- -- -- -- --   35

11/16   F.W.   --  4  4  5 56 107 31  1  2  2  5  2  1  1 -- 2637 6 Officers,
                                                                  53 Privates.

11/18   F.L.   -- -- -- -- --   1  1 --  1 --  3 -- -- -- --   99

        Total   2  8 10 10 79 160 43  4  4  3 11  2  1  1  3 4131


CHATHAM Jany 30th 1777

P.S. The original taken in New Jersey sent to Govr. Brooks.

A true copy taken from the Commissary General's, & brought from York
by Major Wells.

     [Original among Lieut.-Col. Henshaw's papers.]

[No. 60.]


[Footnote 252: The left-hand column, naming the regiments, with the
rank and number of officers captured, is taken from the report of
Joseph Loring, the British Commissary of Prisoners.--_Force_, 5th
Series, vol i., p. 1258. The names added opposite have been collated
from official rolls, published and in manuscript, unless otherwise
stated in notes.]


_Major General_ John Sullivan,
_Brigadier General_ Lord Stirling,
_Brigadier General_ Nathaniel Woodhull.[253]

[Footnote 253: Reference has already been made to Gen. Woodhull and
Col. Johnston in the chapter on "The Battle of Long Island."]


Penn. Rifle Reg't   1  Col. Samuel Miles,
Penn. Musketeers    1  Col. Sam. John Atlee,
New Jersey Militia  1  Col. Phillip Johnston.[254]

[Footnote 254: [Transcriber's Note: see previous footnote.]]


Penn. Rifle Reg't       1 [Miles']        Lt. Col. James Piper,

Penn. Militia           2                 { Lt. Col. Nicholas Lutz,
                                          { Lt. Col Peter Kachlein,

17th Continental Regt.  1 [Huntington's]  Lt. Col. Joel Clark.


Penn. Militia           1 [Lutz's]    Maj. Edward Burd,
17th Continental Reg't  1             Maj. Browne,[255]
22d Continental Reg't   1 [Wyllys's]  Maj. Levi Wells.

[Footnote 255: Huntington's regiment appears to have had no major at
this date; certainly none was taken prisoner. In the return of
prisoners exchanged Dec. 9, 1776, there is this memorandum in regard
to Maj. Browne: "Taken on Long Island, not in arms. It is preposed
that he be exchanged for Major Wells, of Connecticut."]


Penn. Rifle Reg't  2            { Capt. Richard Brown, 1st Batt.,
                                {  "    Wm. Peebles, 2d Batt.

Penn. Musketeers   4 [Atlee's]  { Capt. Thomas Herbert,
                                {  "    Joseph Howell,*
                                {  "    Francis Murray,*
                                {  "    John Nice.*

Penn. Militia      5            { _Lutz' Battalion._
                                { Capt. Jacob Crowle,
                                {  "  Joseph Heister,*
                                {  "  Jacob Mauser.*
                                { _Kachlein's Battalion._
                                { Capt. Garret Graff,*
                                {  "  Henry Hogenbach,*
                                {  "  Timothy Jayne.*

     The officers designated by the asterisk were exchanged Dec.
     9, 1776. See list in _Penn. Archives_, Second Series, vol.
     i., p. 426.

17th Continental       4                { Capt. Joseph Jewett,[256]
                                        {  "  Ozias Bissell,
                                        {  "  Jonathan Brewster,
                                        {  "  Caleb Trowbridge,
                                        {  "  Timothy Percival,
                                        {  "  Eben. F. Bissell.

Train of Artillery     1                Capt.-Lieut. John Johnston.[257]
Maryland Provincials   2 [Smallwood's]  Capt. Daniel Bowie.[258]

[Footnote 256: There is a discrepancy here. The English give four
Captains, while Huntington's return gives six. So also in Lieutenants
and Ensigns.]

[Footnote 257: This name does not appear on any roll, but no doubt
Johnston was the Captain intended, no other having been taken

[Footnote 258: Bowie was the only Maryland Captain taken, the rest
being accounted for. Possibly one of the Lieutenants--six having been
taken instead of five, as the English report--was rated by mistake as
a Captain.]


Provincial Rifle Reg'ts       11  { _1st Battalion._
                                  { 1st Lieut. William Gray,*
                                  {  "  John Spear,
                                  {  "  John Davis,
                                  {  "  George Wert,
                                  { 2d Lieut. Joseph Triesbach,
                                  {  "  Wm. McPherson,
                                  {  "  Luke Broadhead.*
                                  { _2d Battalion._
                                  { 1st Lieut. Matthew Scott,*
                                  {  "  Daniel Topham,
                                  { Lieut. Brownlee.
                                  { _Cunningham's Regiment._
                                  { Lieut. Patterson.

Penn. Musketeers               1  Lieut. Walter Finney.

Penn. Militia                  6  { _Lutz' Battalion._
                                  { Lieut. Stephen Baldy.[259]
                                  { _Kachlein's Battalion._
                                  { Lieut. Lewis,
                                  {   "    Medow [Middagh]
                                  {   "    Shoemaker.

17th Continental Reg't         6  { Lieut. Solomon Orcutt,
                                  {   "    Jabez Fitch, Jr.,
                                  {   "    Thomas Fanning,
                                  {   "    Solomon Makepeace,
                                  {   "    Nathaniel Gove,
                                  {   "    Jonathan Gillet.

Delaware Battalion             2  { Lieut. Jonathan Harney,
                                  {   "    Alex. Stewart.

1st Battalion N.Y.     }       5  { Lieut. Edward Dunscomb,
Continental [Lasher's] }          {   "    Robert Troup,*
                                  { Adj. Jeronimus Hoogland,
                                  { Lieut. Gerrit Van Wagenen,[260]
                                  {   "     Wm. Gilliland.

11th Battalion Continental     1  [Hitchcock's] Lieut. John Blunt.

New Jersey Militia             1  [Johnston's] 1st Lieut. John Toms.

1st Batt. Maryland          }  2  { Lieut. Samuel Wright,
Independents [Veazey's Co.] }     {   "    Edward De Courcy.

Long Island Militia            2  { Lieut. Coe,[261]
                                  {   "    ----.

Train of Artillery             1  Cadet John Callender.[262]

Maryland Provincials           5  { 1st Lieut. Wm. Sterret,
                                  {  "         Joseph Butler,
                                  { Lieut. Hatch Dent,
                                  {  "     Walter Ridgely,
                                  {  "     Walter Muse,
                                  {  "     Edward Praul.

[Footnote 259: There was but one Lieutenant taken in Lutz's Battalion.
See Rolls in _Force_, Returns of Col. Haller's regiment.]

[Footnote 260: Lieuts. Van Wagenen and Gilliland did not belong to
Lasher's battalion, but were taken with Dunscomb, Troup, and Hoogland,
and probably rated with them.]

[Footnote 261: In Onderdonk's Revolutionary Incidents it is stated
that Coe was a Lieutenant of the troopers, and was taken the day after
the battle. The other Lieutenant was taken at the time of Gen.
Woodhull's capture, but his name does not appear.]

[Footnote 262: Callender is doubtless meant. He was rated as a
Lieutenant afterwards, and was confined in officers' quarters.]


Penn. Musketeers        4  { Ensign W. Henderson,
                           {  "  Alexander Huston,*
                           {  "  Michael App,*
                           {  "  Septimus Davis.*

                           { Ensign Anthony Bradford,
                           {  "  Joseph Chapman,
                           {  "  Cornelius Higgins,
17th Continental Reg't  5  {  "  John Kinsman,
                           {  "  Elihu Lyman,
                           {  "  Joel Gillet.

Maryland Provincials    2  { Ensign Wm. Courts,
                           {  "  James Fernandez.


Adjutant    1 [Huntington's]  Adj. Elisha Hopkins.

Surgeons    3                 { _Miles' Battalion._
                              { Dr. John Davis,
                              { Dr. Joseph Davis.*
                              { _Huntington's Regt._
                              { Dr. Silas Holmes.

Volunteers  2                 { Lieut. David Duncan,
                              {  "     ---- Young.[263]

[Footnote 263: These were two Pennsylvania officers, and it is
supposed that they were serving as volunteers at the battle. Their
names appear in _Force_.]

[No. 61.]



KILLED.--Antony Wolf.
MISSING.--Samuel Everett, Amasa Pebody.


_Captain Kimball's Company._

MISSING.--Richard Wallen.

_Captain Symond's Company._

KILLED.--John Elliott.
MISSING.--Nath. Ramson, John Patten.

_Captain C. Olney's Company._

MISSING.--Caleb Herenden, Benjamin Foster, Daniel Williams, London
Citizen [a negro].

_Captain Bowen's Company._

MISSING.--William Deputrin.


_Captain Parker's Company._

KILLED.--Peter Barthrick.

_Captain Wade's Company._

MISSING.--Archelaus Puleifer.

_Captain Dodge's Company._

MISSING.--Elijah Lewis.


_Captain Tyler's Company._

MISSING.--Bartlet Lewis, Elisha Benton, Sergeants; Reuben Bates, Olive
Jennings, Joseph White, Jesse Swaddle, Corporals; Joseph Arnold, Joel
Ballard, Azariah Benton, Lemuel Lewis, Seth Rider, John Smith,
Jeremiah Sparks, Jonathan Witherd, Josiah Benton, Luke Kimball,
Jonathan Barnard, James Lindsey, Privates.

_Captain Jewett's Company._

MISSING.--Stephen Otis, Rufus Tracy, Roswel Graves, Sergeants; Nathan
Raymond, Peleg Edwards, Corporals; Joshua Blake, Billa Dyer,
Theophilus Emerson, Jaspar Griffin, Elisha Miller, Adam Mitchel,
Charles Phelps, Silas Phelps, Oliver Rude, Ebenezer Smith, Jacob
Sterling, Timothy Tiffany, Peter Way, Lebbeus Wheeler, Nathan Wood,
David Yarrington, Duron Whittlesey, William Eluther, Zadock Pratt,
Eliphalet Reynolds, Rufus Cone, Privates.

_Captain Trowbridge's Company._

MISSING.--Daniel Ingalls, Daniel Farnham, Moses Smith, Sergeants;
George Gordon, Levi Farnham, Corporals; Silas Bottom, Drum-Major;
William Bedlock, Alexander Brine, Joseph Clarke, John Colegrove, Luke
Durfee, George Forster, Caleb Green, John Gardner, Ebenezer Keyes,
John Kingsbury; Robert Lithgow, Benjamin Lounsbury, Ishmael Moffit,
Joseph Munsur, Daniel Malone, Solomon Mears, John Pollard, Stephen
Potter, Joseph Russell, Allen Richards, Monday Smith, David Saunders,
John Talmage, William Turner, John Thomas, Samuel White, John Winter,

_Captain Ozias Bissell's Company._

MISSING.--Ebenezer Wright, Howard Moulton, Sergeants; Freegrace
Billings, Nathan Barney, Abner Belding, Seth Belding, Daniel Church,
Lemuel Deming, George Edwards, Thomas Green, Jesse Judson, David
Lindsey, Michael Mitchel, Samuel Moulton, Joseph A. Minot, Giles Nott,
James Price, Jonathan Price, Benjamin Ripnor, Timothy Risley, Joel
Skinner, Daniel Thomas, Robert Wallas, Privates.

_Captain Brewster's Company._

MISSING.--Theophilus Huntington, Sergeant; Jabez Avery, William
Button, Corporals; Simon Armstrong, Jesse Barnet, Joseph Ellis, Asa
Fox, Samuel Fuller, Elijah Hammond, Solomon Huntley, Sanford Herrick,
Luther Japhet, John Lewis, Thomas Matterson, Rufus Parke, Amasa Pride,
Jehiel Pettis, Roger Packard, Samuel Tallman, John Vandeusen, Calvin
Waterman, John Williams, Privates.

_Captain Percival's Company._

MISSING.--Roger Coit, Uriah Hungerford, Rous Bly, [killed,] Sergeants.
Samuel Agard, Daniel Bartholomew, Silas Bates, John Bray, David Brown,
Solomon Carrington, John Curtis, John Dutton, Daniel Freeman, Gad
Fuller, Abel Hart, Jason Hart, Timothy Isham, Azariah Lothrop, John
Moody, Timothy Percival, Isaac Potter, Elijah Rose, Elijah Stanton,
Benjamin Tubbs, Abraham Yarrington, Jesse Roberts, Privates.

_Captain Fitch Bissel's Company._

MISSING.--Cornelius Russell, Eleazer House, Hezekiah Haydon,
Sergeants; Samuel Bordman, Aaron Porter, Elisha Boardman, Corporals;
Robert Newcomb, Drummer; John Atwood, Orias Atwood, William Craddock,
Ira Clark, Roderick Clark, Lemuel Fuller, Abner Fuller, Roger Tyler,
Carmi Higley, Erastus Humphy, Jonathan Halladay, John Willson, John
White, John Fletcher, Privates.

_Captain Hubbard's Company._

MISSING.--William Talmage, Samuel Skinner, William Parsons, Ebenezer
Coe, Sergeants; Eleazer Brooks, Samuel Buck, Jr., Cornelius Coverling,
Aaron Drake, Benjamin Hills, Alexander Ingham, Elias Leet, Levi
Loveland, Elijah Roberts, Reuben Shipman, Samuel Strictland, Seth
Turner, Nathan Whiting, Job Wetmore, Privates.


_Captain King's Company._

MISSING.--Moses Whitney, James Barker, Privates.

_Captain Bartlet's Company._

MISSING.--Cornelius Warren, Private.


_Captain Pettibone's Company._

MISSING.--William Gaylord, Private.

_Captain Scott's Company._

MISSING.--Eliezur Loveland, Private.

_Captain Wright's Company._

MISSING.--Joel Taylor, Private.

_Major Holdridge's Company._

MISSING.--Abner Rider, Sherman Shadduck, Elijah Smith, Joseph Watrous,

_Captain Mills' Company._

MISSING.--Robert Lusk, Jonathan Ingham, Privates.

COL. MILES' REG'T.--[PENN.][264]

[Footnote 264: The returns of the losses in the Pennsylvania
regiments, as here given, are copied from the original manuscript
rolls in the public archives of that State. I am indebted to the Hon.
John A. Linn, Assistant Secretary of the Commonwealth, Harrisburg, not
only for the authenticated copies, but for several of the documents in
Part II., and for much other information respecting the troops from

(Two Battalions.)

_First Battalion.--Captain Farmer's Company._

MISSING.--Robert Garrett, Drummer; Alexander Anderson, John Barger,
Henry Cordier, Creewas Bastian, Cornelius Dauel, George Dillman,
George Edwards, Jacob Engelhart, Chushan Foy, Philip Feese, George
Garling, Benjamin Hackett, Lawrence Homan, Nicholas Hause, Martin
Haynes, Jonathan Hager, Jacob Koppinger, Adam Kydle, Conrad Meserly,
George Miller, Jr., Adam Swager, Jacob Shifle [wounded], Francis
Shitz, Jacob Shutt, Jacob Slottner, Goodlip Voolever, Henry Wise, John
Young, Privates.

_Captain Brown's Company._

MISSING.--James Anderson, Sergeant; William Lever, Drummer; Hugh
Barkley, Hezekiah Biddle, William Bradley, Peter Carmichael, Samuel
Crosson, Peter Develin, Timothy Driskil, Adam Growss, Alexander
Holmes, Robert Huston, John McGriggor, Christy McMichael, William
Moore, Jonathan Nesbit, Richard Roberts, Nathanael Scott, Degory
Sparks, Robert Stokes, Privates.

_Captain Long's Company._

MISSING.--Thomas Higginbottom, Sergeant; Henry Donely, Drummer; James
Nelson, Fifer; John Beatty, Thomas Christopher, Abraham Dunlap, John
Elliot, Jr., John Elliot, Sen., Benjamin Harverd, Patrick Kelly,
Daniel McLean, Hugh Mulhalon [wounded], John Williams, Privates.

_Captain Albright's Company._

MISSING.--Thomas Wilson, Robert Tate, James Geddes, Sergeants; Andrew
Boned, Alexander Boyd, Edward Carleton, James Cuxel, Thomas Fosler,
Hugh Gobin, Jacob Helsley, John Henary, Philip Kennedy, William
Kilpatrick, Thomas Knee (or Karee), Conrad Lead, Henry McBroom, Hugh
McClughan, John McElnay, James McFarland, Bartholomew McGuire, Jacob
Newman, John Rinehart, Henry Shadon, Charles Spangler, Charles Stump
[wounded], John Swartz, George Wampler, Edward Wells, Thomas Williams,

_Captain Shade's Company._

MISSING.--Isaac Gruber, Sergeant; Henry Baker, Henry Bollabaker, John
Bower, Henry Goodshalk, Jacob Isenhart, Adam Kerchner, George Keibler,
John Lee, John McAry, Lorentz Miller, Christopher Neighhast, John
Simmins, Elias Schwartz, Frederick Tickard, Henry Weaver, Privates.

_Captain Weitzell's Company._

MISSING.--John Gordon, Sergeant-Major; Thomas Price, Sergeant; William
Allison, Peter Brady, Andrew Carter, Robert Caruthers, Henry Gass,
John Hardy, Dennis Huggins, Martin Kershller, Joseph Madden, William
McCormick, Patrick McVey, Robert Morehead, Andrew Ralston, John Rice,
Jacob Speiss, James Watt, Privates.

_Second Battalion.--Captain Murray's Company._

MISSING.--Thomas Dudgeon, John Galloway, Daniel McCoy, Thomas
Plunkett, Privates.

_Captain Peebles' Company._

MISSING.--P. Heylands, Sergeant; James Carson, Drummer; Edmuad Lee,
Fifer; James Atcheson, Samuel Dixon, Samuel Montgomery, David Moore,
James Moore, James Mortimore, John Neil, Robert Nugent, Patrick
Quigley, Thomas Rogers, William Witherspoon, Privates.

_Captain Marshall's Company._

MISSING.--Robert Andrews, Robert Slemen, Privates.

_Captain Erwin's Company._

MISSING.--James Dugan, John Justice, William Lindsay, Samuel Roddy,
Sergeants;[265] Daniel Brownspeld, Jeremiah Gunnon, John Guthry,
William Guthry, John Henry, Philip Kelly, Andy McKenzie [a volunteer],
William Moore, William Mull, James Nelson, William Nelson, Stephen
Singlewood, Charles Stamper, John Stoops, William Twifold, Angus
Wilkinson, Privates.

[Footnote 265: One of these sergeants escaped, but the rolls do not
show which one.]

_Captain Grubb's Company._

MISSING.--George Brown, John Hehm, Robert Henderson, Joseph McFarland,

_Captain Christ's Company._

MISSING.--Matthew Whitlow, Jeremiah Geiss, Sergeants; Paul Frederick,
Yost Fuchs, Privates.


_Captain Anderson's Company._

MISSING.--Francis Ferguson, William Harper, John Madden, William
McCormick, Hector McGowan, John Moore, Benjamin Nain, Hosea Rigg,
Edward Wood, Privates.

_Captain Lloyd's Company._

MISSING.--William Nemrich, Sergeant [wounded]; Jesse Moore, Fifer;
Michael Clary, Michael Derry, Folk Matthias, Archibald Graham, James
Hidden, Robert Kinen, Adam Kingfield, Patrick McCullough, James Moore,
Edward Murphy, William Powel, James Tyrer, Richard Wallace, William
Watson, Privates.

_Captain Murray's Company._

MISSING.--Joseph Atkinson, James Davis, William Gillespie, John
Guthrie, Thomas Logan, Thomas McConnell, John McEnrae, John Moody,
Patrick Mullan, David Robinson, Privates.

_Captain McClellan's Company._

MISSING.--James Mitchell, Sergeant [wounded]; Joseph Moor, Corporal
[killed]; John Calhoon, James Elder, Michael Kenaday, Robert Love,
Justin McCarty, James McClure, Daniel McElroy, James McElvay, William
McIlvain, Thomas Mitchel, Thomas Moore [wounded], William Murray
[wounded], O'Trail Morris, Privates.

_Captain Herbert's Company._

MISSING.--Eleazer Crain, John Everhart, John Ingram, George Ridge,
Boston Wagoner, Michael Weaver, Privates.

_Captain De Huff's Company._

MISSING.--Michael Loy, Jacob Marks, Christian Mentzer, Patrick
Mulrang, Peter Wile, Godlip Wiseman, Privates.

_Captain Nice's Company._

MISSING.--Edward Barnhouse, Edward Baxter, Michael Domiller, John Gee,
John Huston, Robert Jones, Edward Justice, Richard Robeson, Michael
Stucke, Privates.

_Captain Howell's Company._

MISSING.--Michael Carmodey, John Ervine [killed], John Gilkey, James
Gallagher, William Jones, William McMaunagel, William Tweedy,


_Captain John Arndt's Company._

MISSING.--Andrew Hessher, Andrew Reefer, Sergeants; Thomas Sybert,
Martin Derr, George Fry, Lawrence Gob, Anthony Frutches, Peter Froes,
John Harpel, Jacob Dufford, Joseph Stout, Mathias Stidinger, Peter
Beyer, Peter Lohr, Bernhard Miller, Richard Overfeld, Jacob Weid
Knecht, Henry Bush, Sr., Peter Kern, Philip Bush, Abraham Peter.


_Captain Goodwin's Company._

MISSING.--Clement Maxfield, Martin Nash, Privates.

_Captain Wells' Company._

MISSING.--Joseph Bidwell, Private.

_Captain Wilson's Company._

MISSING.--Benjamin Frisby, Private.


MISSING.--Maygot, Cheney, Marret, Upham, Fling, Alderman, Humphry,
Gillet, Martin, Shawn, Sasanan, Tassett, Privates.


In the few following sketches the writer has simply incorporated such
facts of personal interest as have come to his knowledge while
preparing the work.

As for the generals who took part in this campaign, Washington,
Stephen, and Mercer were from Virginia; General Beall, of Maryland,
commanded part of the Flying Camp from that State; Generals Mifflin
and St. Clair were from Pennsylvania--also Generals Cadwallader,
Roberdeau, and Ewing, who commanded Pennsylvania "Associators" for a
short time (Roberdeau also having a brigade under Greene at Fort Lee);
Generals Stirling and Heard, from New Jersey; Generals James and
George Clinton, McDougall, Scott, and Woodhull, from New York;
Generals Putnam, Spencer, Wadsworth, Wolcott, and Parsons, from
Connecticut; General Greene, from Rhode Island; Generals Heath, Nixon,
Fellows, and Lincoln, from Massachusetts; and General Sullivan, from
New Hampshire. General Lee was born in Wales, had served in the
British army, and settled in Virginia. General De Fermoy was a

CALLENDER, CAPTAIN JOHN.--This officer, who behaved so well on Long
Island, was the son of Eliezer Callender, of Boston. At the close of
the war he became a merchant in Virginia, and died at Alexandria, in
October, 1797.

CLARK, LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JOEL.--Lieutenant Fitch states that Clark,
who commanded Huntington's regiment at the battle of Long Island, and
was taken prisoner, died about one o'clock on the morning of December
19th, after a long sickness, and was buried in the New Brick
Church-yard [now Park Row], in New York. Officers followed his remains
to the grave.

DOUGLAS, COLONEL WILLIAM.--Born in Plainfield, Conn., January 17th,
1742. Afterwards lived in Northford. Served as Putnam's
orderly-sergeant in the French and Indian War. In 1775 joined
Montgomery, who put him in charge of the flotilla on Lake Champlain,
in view of his nautical experience. In 1776 he raised a regiment for
the army at New York, where, as appears in the narrative, he proved
himself a thorough soldier. In 1777 he raised a Continental regiment,
but his health broke down, and he died May 28th of that year. His
death was a loss to the service, as he was a man of faith, character,
and personal courage. The regiment he raised was given to the famous
Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs.

DUNSCOMB, LIEUTENANT EDWARD.--Born May 23d, 1754, in New York. Died
November 12th, 1814. Graduate of Columbia College in 1774. He was son
of Daniel Dunscomb, a firm friend of the colonial cause. After his
capture at the Jamaica Pass, August 27th, he was confined on a prison
ship and fell sick, but recovered, and on his exchange rejoined the
army, where, in 1780, he appears as Captain of the Fourth New York
Line. After the war he became clerk of the United States Courts. He
was also a vestryman of Trinity Church, and a trustee of Columbia
College. The tradition in his family is that he was asked to be
Hamilton's second in the duel with Burr, but declined in disapproval
of the practice.

FISH, MAJOR NICHOLAS.--Born in New York, August 28th, 1758; died June
20th, 1833. He was at Princeton a short time, but leaving college,
studied law with John Morin Scott, whose brigade-major he became in
1776. Fish afterwards served with the New York Line through the war,
and as major of light infantry under Hamilton at Yorktown. In 1786 he
became adjutant-general of New York, was afterwards an alderman of the
city and president of the Cincinnati. He was the father of the Hon.
Hamilton Fish, ex-Secretary of State.

GAY, COLONEL FISHER.--Of Wadsworth's brigade. He came from Farmington,
Conn., having served also at the siege of Boston. His regiment was for
some time on Long Island, but the colonel had been sick, and either
died or was buried on the day of the battle, August 27th.

HALE, CAPTAIN NATHAN.--The most authoritative account of his capture
and death is given by Hull, who was captain with him in Webb's
regiment. Lossing states that he was hanged from an apple-tree in
Rutgers' orchard. Hale was a young graduate of Yale; came from
Ashford, Conn. The sketch of his life by I.W. Stuart, Hartford, 1856,
contains the particulars of his career. See page 262, Part I.

HAMILTON, CAPTAIN ALEXANDER.--See chapter on "The Two Armies."
Hamilton was stationed in New York at the Grand Battery and Fort
George, and doubtless participated in the firing on the ships whenever
they passed up either river. At White Plains his guns did good
execution, also in the subsequent actions in New Jersey. In March,
1777, he became aid to Washington with rank of lieutenant-colonel, and
particularly distinguished himself at Monmouth, and afterwards as
commander of a light infantry battalion at Yorktown. He had few if any
superiors among the younger officers of the Revolutionary army.

1735, and removed to Leicester in 1745. He served in the French war
under Amherst. The Lexington alarm he answered promptly, and marched
to Boston at the head of his militia regiment. The Massachusetts
Provincial Congress appointed him adjutant-general of the army
mustered around Boston, and he held that position until relieved by
General Gates in July. He was actively engaged through the entire
campaign in 1776, being in the midst of the fighting on Long Island,
at Harlem Heights, and at Princeton. At the close of the campaign he
retired from the service. A full and interesting sketch of him,
together with his Order Book of 1775, has lately been published by the
Massachusetts Historical Society. Colonel Henshaw died February 20th,

HUGHES, COLONEL HUGH.--Of Welsh extraction. Taught a select grammar
school, in 1765, in the French Church Consistory Rooms in Nassau
Street, New York. He served most efficiently in the quartermaster's
department during much of the war, and died in 1802, seventy-five
years of age.

JOHNSTON, CAPTAIN JOHN.--After partially recovering from his severe
wounds received at the battle of Long Island, Captain Johnston took up
the artist's profession, and painted several historical portraits,
among them that of Samuel Adams and his wife. He also painted his own,
which is in possession of his grandson, Mr. J.J. Soren, of Boston.

KNOWLTON, LIEUTENANT-COLONEL.--Born in West Boxford, Mass., November,
1740, and removed to Ashford, Conn. He served in the French war as
private in Captain Durkee's company. A full and accurate sketch of him
may be found in the _New England Historical and Gen. Register_ for
January, 1861, by Ashbel Woodward, M.D., of Franklin, Conn.

LASHER, COLONEL JOHN.--Born March 3d, 1724, probably in New York. A
merchant of some wealth. He lost four houses in the fire of September
21st, 1776. On the expiration of the term of service of his battalion,
he was elected a lieutenant-colonel of one of the New York Continental
regiments, but declined. He died in New York at an advanced age. See
references to him in the chapter on "The Two Armies."

LITTLE, COLONEL MOSES.--Frequently mentioned in the account of the
campaign. He was one of the "Descendants of George Little, who came to
Newbury, Mass., in 1640"--the title of a handsome little work compiled
by Mr. George T. Little, and printed in 1877. During the retreat
through New Jersey, Colonel Little was sick at Peekskill, and could
not participate with his men at Trenton and Princeton. He rendered
further service at various times during the war.

McDOUGALL, GENERAL ALEXANDER.--Born in Scotland in 1731; died in New
York, June 8th, 1786. It is understood that a biography of this
officer is in the course of preparation. As he was so closely
identified with the Revolutionary struggle, it could be made a
valuable work, if his papers are all preserved. He was a leader of New
York's "Liberty" party before 1776, and served continuously through
the war.

MILES, COLONEL SAMUEL.--Born March 22d, 1739, probably in
Philadelphia. Served in the French war. After the Revolution, held
positions as Judge of the High Court of Errors, member of the
Governor's Council, and Mayor of Philadelphia. He died at Cheltenham,
Montgomery County, Pa., December 29th, 1805.

PARRY, LIEUTENANT-COLONEL CALEB.--Killed on Long Island. See notice of
him on page 196, Part I. A genealogy recently prepared by Richard
Randolph Parry, Esq., of Philadelphia, contains much interesting
personal history of the family.

PIPER, LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JAMES.--He was lieutenant-colonel of Miles'
First Battalion, and "a very worthy gentleman." Taken on Long Island,
and died in New York not long after the battle. Captain Peebles, of
Miles', Captain Bowie and Lieutenant Butler, of Smallwood's, and
Lieutenant Makepeace, of Huntington's, who were all wounded and taken
prisoners, died afterwards in New York, says Fitch.

Harmanus Rutgers, killed on Long Island. He was connected with the
army much of the time in the Commissary of Musters Department. Rutgers
College takes its name from him. He left many Revolutionary papers,
which have been unfortunately lost.

SCOTT, GENERAL JOHN M.--Born in New York in 1730; died September 14th,
1784. He was the only child of John and Marian Morin Scott, and fourth
in the line of descent from Sir John Scott, Baronet of Ancram, County
Roxburgh, Scotland, who died in 1712. At the age of sixteen he
graduated at Yale College in the class of 1746, and took up the
profession of law in New York, where he rose steadily in practice and
reputation. With Wm. Smith, the historian of New York, and Wm.
Livingston, he became identified with the Whig element in the colony,
and at an early date advocated principles which paved the way for the
final opposition to ministerial measures. These three--Smith,
Livingston, and Scott--became leaders at the bar, and the two latter
also in politics. Scott's residence stood at about the corner of
Thirty-third Street and Ninth Avenue, as appears from Ratzer's
official map of the city and island in 1766-67, and contained 123
acres. At that date it was some three miles out of town. From papers
still preserved it appears that, very soon after the Revolution, this
fine estate, which had become embarrassed, was sold for $8250, and
that as early as 1813 it was worth $100,000. Scott associated himself
with enterprises that contributed to the progress and social
advancement of the city, becoming in 1754 one of the founders of the
Society for the Promotion of the Arts, and also of a City Library.
From 1757 to 1762 he was alderman of the Out-ward of New York. He
contributed to the _Watch Tower_ and _Reflector_, and was the author
of several official and literary papers and reports during his
lifetime. When the Revolutionary troubles opened, he was made one of
the committee of one hundred citizens in 1775, took a foremost part
against England's designs, and, as a powerful public speaker in favor
of the colonial cause, might be called the Samuel Adams or James Otis
of New York. As stated in the text, he became a member of the
provincial committee and Congress in 1775-76, and brigadier-general of
State troops in March, 1776, taking active part in the campaign around
his native city. At the close of the year he offered his last month's
salary to those of his troops who would remain in the service a few
weeks longer, and served himself a month without pay. In 1777 he was
appointed secretary of the State, and continued in the public service
in that capacity and as State senator and member of Congress until his
death. His remains lie buried in Trinity Church-yard, near the line of
Broadway, north of the church.

SELDEN, COLONEL SAMUEL.--Of Hadlyme, Conn. Son of Samuel and Deborah
Dudley Selden. Born January 11th, 1723. His grandfather was Thomas
Selden, one of the original founders of Hartford. A genealogy of the
family is in the course of preparation by Mr. Henry M. Selden, of
Haddam Neck. Colonel Selden was taken prisoner in the Kip's Bay
retreat, being prostrated by the exertions of the day. He was confined
in the present Register's building, in the City Hall Park, where he
died of fever, "on Friday P.M., October 11th, about three o'clock." In
the latter part of his sickness he was attended by Dr. Thacher, a
British surgeon, who paid him every attention. He was buried in the
Brick Church-yard. See chapter on "The Two Armies" for further
reference. Among this officer's great-grandsons are Chief-Justice
Waite, Hon. Lyman Trumbull, General McDowell, Judge Selden of
Rochester, Colonel Joseph Selden of Norwich, and many others, the
descendants being numerous.

SMITH, CAPTAIN ROBERT.--Born in New York in 1752; of Scotch ancestry.
Entered the counting-house of his brother, Alex. Robertson Smith, a
wealthy merchant. In 1776 he raised a company of Scotsmen and sons of
Scotsmen, and joined Malcom's New York Regiment. He was on Long Island
with Scott's brigade, and at White Plains received a severe contusion
from a spent shot. Obliged by ill-health to retire from the service
for a time, he appeared again as a volunteer at Monmouth, and fought
on foot, having given up his horse to a general officer. After the war
he settled in Philadelphia, where he was a bank director for
forty-eight years, holding also other offices of trust. He was a man
of liberal disposition, a Presbyterian elder, and gave freely for all
charitable purposes.

STIRLING, GENERAL LORD.--This officer's name was properly William
Alexander. His father claimed the title of the Earl of Stirling, and
he himself continued it. There is this description of the general in
Surgeon Waldo's diary, kept at Valley Forge _(Historical Magazine_,
vol. v.):

"Major-General Lord Stirling is a man of a very noble presence, and
the most martial Appearance of any General in the Service; he much
resembles the Marquis of Granby--by his bald head--the make of his
face, and figure of his Body. He is mild in his private conversation,
and vociferous in the Field."

TILGHMAN, CAPTAIN TENCH.--Aid to Washington. Born near Easton, Talbot
County, Md., December 25, 1744; died April 18th, 1786. From Maryland,
Tilghman went to Philadelphia, became captain of a city military
organization, and joined Washington as volunteer secretary and aid in
August, 1776. He served with his chief through the war, participating
in many battles, and having Washington's closest confidence. His rank
as lieutenant-colonel was dated from April, 1777, by his own desire,
that he might not outrank Hamilton and Meade, who had been appointed
aids earlier in the year. His descendants preserve many relics of his
Revolutionary service.

TROUP, LIEUTENANT ROBERT.--His father was an officer in the British
Navy, and died before the Revolution. Troup graduated from Columbia
(old King's) College in 1774, and after his capture on Long Island as
one of the patrol at the Jamaica Pass was exchanged in December
following, with a few others. In March, 1777, he accepted a
captain-lieutenancy in the artillery, offered by Knox, but soon after
joined General Gates' staff. In May, 1778, Gates wrote to Laurens,
President of Congress:

"Having neglected when I left York to recommend a proper person for
D.A. General [deputy adjutant-general] to the army under my command, I
beg to mention Lieut Col: Robert Troup, and desire the Favor you will
propose him to Congress for that office; my knowledge of his Honor,
Merit, Integrity induces me apart from any personal regard, thus
earnestly to wish his promotion."--_MS. Letter._

After the war, Troup studied law in New York, became intimate with
Hamilton and Burr, and was one of the very few who retained his
friendship for the latter after the duel. Colonel Troup was appointed
the first United States District Judge for New York.

VAN WAGENEN, LIEUTENANT GERRIT H.--Son of Huybert Van Wagenen and
Angenietje Vredenburg, was born in New York at No. 5 Beekman Slip (now
Fulton Street), 1753, January 21st. He went to Canada in August, 1775,
as second lieutenant in the Eighth Company of the First Regiment of
New York State troops under Colonel McDougall. Was at the storming of
Quebec, in the columns of General Montgomery. In May, 1776, he was
sent to New York, and then to Philadelphia, in charge of some
prisoners. On returning to New York and finding that the British were
landing on Long Island, he offered his services to General Sullivan,
and was sent by him with four other officers to the Jamaica Pass, as
described in the chapter on the battle. The party were all taken
prisoners, and he continued a prisoner twenty-two months, when he was
exchanged. He then received an appointment in the Commissary of
Prisoners Department, and continued in that office about three years.
(For a full account of his services, see the "Gen. and Biog. Record,"
vol. viii., page 44). In 1783, March 11th, he married Sarah, daughter
of Derrick Brinckerhoff and Rachel Van Ranst. He now engaged in the
hardware business with his father at No. 5 Beekman Slip, where the
business had been carried on by his father since about 1760. The
volume entitled "New York during the Revolution" says, under date of
1767, "In Beekman Slip, near Queen Street, was the extensive hardware
store of Huybert Van Wagenen, whose sign of the golden broad axe was
so often referred to in the annals of the period." He lived at Beekman
Slip till 1811, when he removed to 69 Gold Street, near Beekman, and
in 1821 removed with his family to Oxford, Chenango County, where he
died, 1835, November 20th.

WEBB, LIEUTENANT-COLONEL S.B.--Born in Wethersfield, Conn., December,
1753. He went to Boston on the Lexington alarm, and was at Bunker Hill
as Captain Chester's lieutenant. He became aid to General Putnam and
then to Washington in 1776. In 1777 he raised a Continental regiment
in Connecticut, and served as its colonel to the end of the war,
though for two years he was a prisoner on parole. His lieutenant-colonel
was Ebenezer Huntington, and major, John P. Wyllys, both young
officers in this campaign. Colonel Webb resided in New York until
1789, and then removed to Claverack, where he died December 3d, 1807.

WOODHULL, GENERAL.--There is a good sketch of General Woodhull in
"Thompson's History of Long Island," vol. ii. In regard to his
capture, Lieutenant Jabez Fitch, of Huntington's regiment, says in his
narrative: "On ye 6th [of Sept.] Genll Woodhull, of ye Long Island
malitia, was sent from ye Mentor to ye Hospital at Newatrect [New
Utrecht]; he was an aged Gentleman, & was taken by a party of ye
Enemy's light Horse at Jameca, & altho he was not taken in arms, yet
those Bloodthirsty Savages cut & wounded him in ye head & other parts
of ye body, with their Swords, in a most Inhuman manner of which
wounds he Died at ye Hospital; and altho ye Director of their affairs
took but little care to preserve his Life yet they were so generous to
his Lady, as to endulge her with liberty to carry home ye General's
corpse and bury it with Deacence."



The outlines and topography of this "Plan" have been compiled from
Ratzer's and United States Coast Survey maps. Bernard Ratzer was a
British Engineer, ranking as lieutenant in the Sixtieth Royal American
Regiment of Foot in 1756. In 1767-8, he made an official survey of New
York and part of Long Island with many details, the accuracy of which
is beyond question. There is an advertisement in the _Connecticut
Gazette_ for October 25th, 1776, in which Samuel Loudon (late printer
and bookseller in New York, but now in Norwich) offers for sale
"Ratzer's elegant map of New York and its Invirons from Actual
Surveys, showing the present unhappy seat of War." This survey on Long
Island extends nearly to the line of the hills. All beyond is
reproduced from maps of the coast survey, farm lines, and Brooklyn
maps. The whole represents the ground almost exactly as it lay in
1776. One correction should be made at the Jamaica Pass. The name
belongs to the dotted roundabout line which represents the original
pass, the straight road having been cut afterwards.


Now published for the first time, and quite important as confirming
the Hessian map in vol. ii. of the Society's "Memoirs." The
fortifications at Red Hook are undoubtedly exactly reproduced. Taken
in connection with General Greene's orders, the sketch is valuable,
enabling us to locate the works. The drawing, of course, is not
precise, but the names and relative positions are enough as long as we
have Ratzer to follow in the matter of outline and topography. The
writer is indebted to the librarians of Yale College, Profs. Van Name
and Dexter, for the favor of tracing the sketch from the original.


This is a one-half reduction from the original in the possession of
Mr. Stauffler, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who has kindly furnished
the writer with a tracing. It was drawn by John Ewing, Colonel Hand's
brother-in-law, but in topography is far out the way. It contains,
however, several important items in the references, which are noticed
in the text.


So far as known, no contemporary map exists showing the whole of
Manhattan Island, except the very small and inaccurate sketches in
Stedman, Sparks, and some other works. The one presented in this
volume is believed to be the first to give the entire island, with its
roads, settlements, and topographical features, as it lay in 1776. In
the compilation, Ratzer and Montressor have been followed as far as
they go--namely, from the Battery to about Fiftieth Street. From this
point to King's Bridge the map of the commissioners who first laid out
the island into streets in 1814 has been adopted. This is official,
and gives the old roads as they existed during the Revolution. The
Bloomingdale and King's Bridge roads are laid down in the present map
as the commissioners have them, the surveys being made by Randall. The
fortifications at Harlem Heights are from Sauthier's English map as
given in New York Hist. MS. and Stedman.


Reference has been made to the topography of this battle-field in a
note in Chapter VI. The outlines are taken from Randall's city map,
and the ground has been frequently visited by the writer. Point of
Rocks has been partly cut away, but the main features in the vicinity


In this outline map, a bird's-eye view is presented of the entire
position in this vicinity. Details will be found in the larger maps.
Care has been taken to give the outlines, roads, and relative
distances with accuracy. The plan is a photographic reduction of
Ratzer's, Randall's, and Coast Survey charts.


[The portraits are those of representative officers--men who rendered
good service, not only during the campaign, but, in the case of three
of them, during the war. Lasher's and Hand's have never been
published; and the other two are not found in any general work. They
are given here (two of them, at least) as contributions to the list of
Revolutionary portraits. All have been specially photographed and
transferred to steel by Mr. Egloffstein's process, for the present

COLONEL LASHER'S portrait is enlarged from a finely-painted and
well-preserved miniature in the possession of Mrs. Kernochan, of New

COLONEL HAND'S portrait is in the possession of his granddaughter,
Mrs. S.B. Rogers, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

COLONEL GLOVER'S portrait appeared first in the publications of the
Essex Institute at Salem, Massachusetts.

COLONEL HUNTINGTON'S portrait appears in the Huntington family
_Memoir_. The original is a miniature by Trumbull, in possession of
General Huntington's descendants at Norwich.


[The pages refer to Part I., unless otherwise indicated.]


ADAMS, ABIGAIL, on the Long Island defeat, 201.

ADAMS, JOHN, describes New York, 38;
  on Long Island defeat, 201.

AMERICA, success assured for, 292.

AMSTERDAM, rise of stocks at, on news from Long Island, 200.

ANGELL, MAJ., at Princeton, 295.

  British at house of, 244.

ARMY, AMERICAN, described, 104-132;
  roster of, 126-131;
  on Long Island, 154, 208;
  reorganized at New York, 228;
  at Trenton, 289.

ASSANPINK CREEK, Washington outgenerals Cornwallis at, 293, 294.

ATLEE, COL., sketch of, 113, 129;
  crosses to Long Island, 144;
  at the battle, 163, 164;
  near "Battle Hill" in Greenwood, 170, 171;
  taken prisoner, 190;
  loss in regiment, 204.



BADLAM, CAPT., examines Hamilton, 110.

BAILEY, COL., 117, 127.

BALDWIN, COL. L., 117, 127;
  of Connecticut, 131.

  Congress removes to, 287.

BANCROFT, GEORGE, historian, quoted, 188, _n._;
  blames Putnam for defeat on Long Island, 192, _n._, 292.

BARTLETT, of New Hampshire, on Long Island defeat, 200.

BATTLE HILL, Greenwood, 170, 196.

BAURMEISTER, MAJ., describes Brooklyn, 46;
  narrative of, Part II., 95.



BAXTER, COL., at Fort Washington, 277;
  killed, 280.


  guard at, 146, 155;
  British at, 180.

BLOCKJE'S BERGH, location, 164.


BLOOMINGDALE, described, 43;
  British at, 244.

BOERUM, LIEUT., on Long Island, 65.

BOSCAWEN, MRS., letter from, on Long Island battle, 178.

BOSTON, evacuated, 61.


BOX, FORT, 68, 69.

BOX, MAJ., 70, 130.

BRADFORD, CAPT., account of Lee's capture, Part II., 146.

BRADLEY, COL., 120, 129.

BREUKELEN, ancient name, 45.

BREWER, COL., 130.

BRITISH, plan of campaign, 31-33;
  arrive at New York, 93;
  on Staten Island, 94;
  army, strength of, 132;
  list of generals, 133;
  order of battle, 134-137;
  land on Long Island, 139-140;
  at Bedford, 180;
  attack New York, 231;
  occupy New York, 245;
  position at close of campaign, Part II, 162. See HOWE.

BRODHEAD, LIEUT.-COL., 113, 185, 191;
  letter from, Part II., 63.

BROADWAY in 1776, 35, 38.


BROOKLYN in 1776, 44-48;
  work, 67, 69, _n._, 78;
  alarm posts fixed, 82;
  to be held, 82;
  prepared for siege, 83;
  situation at, 209-213;
  retreat from, 213, 214.

BROWN, CAPT., on fall of Knowlton, 255.

BURD, MAJ., captured near Red Lion, 161;
  letter from, Part II., 48.

BURGOYNE, GEN., suggests plan of campaign, 32.

  at retreat from New York, 238.


CADWALLADER, LIEUT.-COL., at Fort Washington, 277;
  at Trenton, 290.

CALLENDAR, JOHN, record at Long Island, 198;
  sketch of, Part II., 187.

CANADA, Sullivan ordered to, 63.

CARPENTER, CAPT., at battle of Long Island, 167;
  killed, 169, 198.

CARRINGTON, GEN., quoted, 133, 203, _n._

CARY, LIEUT.-COL., aide, 126;
  Colonel S., 127.

CATHERINE, QUEEN, declines to lend England troops, 29, 30.


CHATTERTON'S HILL, location, 273;
  battle at, 274, 275.

CHESTER, COL., 120, 129;
  at Brooklyn, 144;
  at White Plains, 273;
  orders to, Part II., 145;
  letter from, Part II., 98.

CITADEL, on Long Island, 77 _n._

  on Long Island, 163;
  sketch of, Part II., 187.

CLINTON, SIR H., Southern expedition, 49;
  leads flanking column on Long Island, 161;
  interrogates prisoners, 178;
  at New York, 233.

CLINTON, GEN. GEO., sketch of, 109;
  brigade, 128;
  at Harlem Heights, 256.

CLINTON, GEN. J., 109, 127.

  orders _de_, 75.


COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, in 1776, 44, 55.

CONGRESS, CONTINENTAL, Committee confers with Lee and New York
Congress, 54;
  votes not to injure New York, 230;
  on river obstructions, 265;
  retires to Baltimore, 287.

CONNECTICUT, troops from, 105, 119, 125.

CONTINENTAL TROOPS, 18, 105, 116, 122.

COOKE, GOV., of Rhode Island, receives Washington, 61, 62.

CORNELL, LIEUT.-COL., 79, 155, 185.

  on Long Island, 140, 141;
  in flanking column on Long Island, 161;
  fights Stirling, 187;
  attack on New York, 233;
  at Fort Washington, 278-280;
  at Trenton, 293.

CORTELYOU HOUSE, fight around, 187.

COWENHOVEN, LIEUT.-COL., of Long Island, 111.

  at battle of Harlem Heights, 252;
  Princeton, 295.

CUYLER, MAJ., of Howe's staff, carries news of Long Island battle to
England, 199.


DAWSON, H.B., quoted, 193, _n._

DEANE, SILAS, on Long Island battle, 200.


DELAWARE, troops from, 105, 114, 123, 125.

DELAWARE RIVER, retreat to, 288;
  Washington crosses on Christmas eve, 291.

DE LANCEY, O., captures General Woodhull, 199.

DEMONT, ADJ., deserts to British, 281 _n._


DONOP, COL., 136;
  on Long Island, 184;
  at Harlem Heights, 257;
  in New Jersey, 288, 299.

DOUGLAS, COL., 77, 120, 121, 129;
  on Long Island, 189;
  attacked at Kip's Bay, 232-234;
  retreat from, 234;
  at Harlem Heights, 256;
  at White Plains, 273;
  letters from, Part II., 66;
  sketch of, Part II., 187.

DRAKE, COL. S., regiment, 57, 58, 109, 127.

DUER, HON. WM., correspondence with Tilghman, 266-271, 298.

DUNSCOMB, LIEUT. EDWARD, captured on Long Island, 177;
  replies to Clinton, 178;
  sketch of, Part II., 188.

DURKEE, COL., 116, 119, 129, 154, 289.

DYER, MAJ., 128.


EAST RIVER, fortified, 54-55;
  obstructions in, 300.

EUSTIS, SURGEON, letter from, Part II., 129.

EVELYN, CAPT., captures American patrol on Long Island, 177, 179;
  mortally wounded, 271, _n._

EWING, GEN., at Trenton, 290.

EWING, LIEUT., letter from, Part II., 49;
  John E., letter from, Part II., 50.


FELLOWS, GEN., 117, 127;
  at Kip's Bay, 235;
  brigade in a panic, 236.

FIELD, T.H., quoted, 72, 188, 192, 203, 211, _n._, 223.

FISH, MAJ., quoted, 78, 110, 127;
  letter from, Part II., 127;
  sketch of, Part II., 188.

FITCH, LIEUT., narrative, Part II., 167.

FLATBUSH, 141, 142;
  guard at, 146;
  skirmishes at, 146, 152;
  troops at, 155;
  retreat from, 183, 184.

FLATLANDS, British march from, 180.

FLEMING, CAPT., killed at Princeton, 294.


FORMAN, COL., regiment of, 112, 130.

FORT GEORGE, described, 36, 55, 56, 87.

  firing in front of, 212.

FORT WASHINGTON, _see_ Washington.

FOSTER, PRIVATE, deposition, Part II., 169.

FREDERICK THE GREAT, on America, 28.



GAY, COL., on Long Island, 102, 120, 129;
  sketch of, Part II., 188.

GIST, MAJ., 115;
  on Long Island, 187, 188.

GEORGE, KING, speech on the American revolt, 19;
  applies to Russia for aid, 29;
  obtains Hessians, 30, 31;
  statue pulled down, 93;
  on news of battle of Long Island, 199.

GLEASON, CAPT., killed at Harlem Heights, 260.

GLOVER, COL., 117, 127;
  on Long Island, 208;
  at the Long Island retreat, 218, 221;
  brigade fights light infantry, 271;
  at Trenton, 289;
  letter from, Part II., 99.

GOOCH, CAPT., letter from, Part II., 88.

GORDON, historian, blames Sullivan for the Long Island defeat, 194;
  on the retreat from Long Island, 215, 216, _n._

GORDON, MAJ., 130.

GOVERNOR'S ISLAND, occupied, 66;
  works, 89;
  evacuated, 300; Part II., 38, 41, 70, 116.

  marsh, retreat across, 187.

GRAHAM, COL., 128.


GRANT, GEN., 160, 161;
  opposite Stirling on Long Island, 166.

GRANT, LIEUT.-COL., British officer, killed on Long Island, 171.

GRAVESEND BAY, British land at, 140.

GRAYDON, CAPT., quoted, 210.

GRAYSON, COL., aide, 126;
  at Long Island retreat, 222.

GREENE, FORT, 68, 71;
  Col. Little at, 82.

GREENE, GEN., ordered to New York, 62;
  brigade, 63, 64;
  ordered to Long Island, 64;
  orders to, 78;
  orders from, 80, 82;
  promoted, 102;
  taken ill, 102;
  relieved on Long Island, 103;
  division of, 130;
  on Long Island defeat, 200;
  division on Long Island, 208;
  on burning New York, 229;
  at Harlem Heights battle, 251;
  Duer's opinion of, 267;
  at Fort Washington, 278;
  and the loss of, 281-285;
  at Trenton, 289;
  orders on Long Island, Part II., 5;
  letter from, Part II., 100.

GREENE, MAJ., of Virginia, mortally wounded, 273.

GREENWICH, described, 43.

GREENWOOD CEMETERY, mentioned, 143, 166, 170, 173, 196, 197.


GRIFFITH, COL., regiment at Harlem Heights battle, 256.


HALE, CAPT., executed as spy, 262;
  letter from, Part II., 131;
  sketch of, Part II., 188.

HAMILTON, ALEXANDER, appointed Captain, 110;
  at White Plains, 274;
  sketch of, Part II., 188.

HANCOCK, JOHN, on the importance of the campaign, 13;
  appeal for troops, 106.

HAND, COL., on Long Island, 65;
  regiment of, 112, 113, 130;
  falls back before British on Long Island, 141;
  on picket on Long Island, 159;
  at Throg's Neck, 266;
  skirmish near Mamaroneck, 273;
  at Trenton, 290;
  at Princeton, 295;
  letter from, Part II., 48.

HARLEM, described, 42.

HARLEM HEIGHTS, American retreat to, 243, 244;
  battle of, 246-262;
  battle-field described, 258, _n._;
  losses at battle of, 259-261;
  works at, 263, 264;
  Americans evacuate, 271.

HARRISON, COL., Secretary to Washington, 126.

HASLET, COL., sketch of, 114, 129;
  regiment at battle of Long Island, 163, 166, 168, 203;
  on the situation at New York, 226;
  surprises Rogers, 273;
  killed at Princeton, 294;
  letters from, Part II., 51, 156.

HAY, MAJ., 114, 129, 204, 205.

HEARD, GEN., arrests tories, 81;
  brigade on Long Island, 102, 112, 130.

HEATH, GEN., at New York, 61, 63, 64;
  division of, 127;
  on the Long Island retreat, 218;
  Washington to, 226;
  at White Plains, 273.

HEISTER, GEN., arrives at Staten Island, 95;
  crosses to Long Island with Hessians, 160;
  in Long Island battle, 184;
  Stirling surrenders to, 189.

HENLEY, MAJ., 127;
  killed, 261.

  on Long Island, 185, 186;
  at Harlem Heights battle, 261;
  at Princeton, 295;
  letters from, Part II., 44, 47;
  sketch of, Part II., 188.

  arrive at Staten Island, 95;
  number in Howe's army, 133;
  brigades, 136;
  march into battle on Long Island, 184, 185;
  not closely engaged, 185, _n._;
  in attack on New York, 233;
  captured at Trenton, 292.

HEYER, COL., 58, 108.

HINMAN, COL., 131.


HITCHCOCK, COL., regiment escorts Washington, 62;
  on Long Island, 65;
  alarm post, 82, 118, 130;
  regiment at Harlem Heights battle, 261;
  at Trenton, 290;
  at Princeton, 295;
  thanked by Washington, 296;
  death of, 296;
  letters from, Part II., 75.

HOGELAND, A., farm, 43;
  battle on farm of, 248.

HOGELAND, LIEUT., on Long Island, 177.

HOLMAN, COL., 127.


HORN'S HOOK, fort, 55;
  troops at, 228.

HOWE, ADMIRAL, arrives at the Narrows, 94, 300.

HOWE, GEN., arrives at New York, 94;
  as civil commissioner, 96;
  letter to _Mr._ Washington, 97;
  plan of attack on Long Island, 160, 161;
  report of Long Island losses, 202;
  red riband to be sent to, 199;
  at White Plains, 273-276;
  demands surrender of Fort Washington, 277;
  campaign plans baffled, 296.

HUDSON RIVER, indefensible, 56;
  defences, 298.

HUGHES, COL., quartermaster, 110;
  ordered to collect craft for Long Island retreat, 218, 219, _n._;
  sketch of, Part II., 189.

HULL, CAPT., at Trenton, 291, 292;
  letter from, Part II., 151.


HUMPHREYS, COL., on retreat from New York, 239, 244;
  extract from writings of, 89.

HUNTINGTON, COL., 119, 120, 128, 163, _n._;
  regiment at battle of Long Island, 163, 166, 171;
  loss of, 190, 203.

HUNTINGTON, CAPT., letter from, Part II., 84.

HUTCHINSON, COL., 117, 128;
  and the Long Island retreat, 218, 221.


  Declaration of, read, 93;
  established, 298.

INDEPENDENCE, FORT, location, 264.

INDEPENDENTS, New York, battalions of, 107, 108.


JACQUET, LIEUT., killed on Long Island, 198.

  British at, 176;
  American patrol captured at, 177;
  surprise at, 182, 191, 193.

JAY, JOHN, appointed colonel, 110;
  on destroying New York, 229.

JAY, HON. JOHN, centennial address, 246, _n._


JEWETT, CAPT., mortally wounded, 197;
  sketch of, 197.

JOHNSTON, CAPT. J., wounded, 198;
  sketch of, Part II., 189.

JOHNSTON, COL., regiment of, 112, 130;
  mortally wounded on Long Island, 196;
  sketch of, 196.



KACHLEIN, LIEUT.-COL., 114, 129;
  at battle of Long Island, 163, 166.

KEITH, MAJ., 127.

KENNEDY HOUSE, headquarters, 86, _n._

KING'S BRIDGE, location, 41;
  troops at, 228.

KING'S BRIDGE ROAD, described, 41.

KING'S COUNTY, inhabitants work on forts, 60.

KIP'S BAY, 231, 232;
  Colonel Douglas at, 232;
  ships cannonade, 232-234;
  troops panic-struck, 234-236;
  criticism on, 240.

KNOWLTON, LIEUT.-COL., crosses to Long Island, 154;
  at Harlem Heights, 247;
  reconnoitres the enemy's position, 247, 248;
  mortally wounded, 254;
  where buried, 261;
  sketch of, Part II., 189.

KNOX, COL., 67, 98;
  regiment of, 117, 131;
  at Trenton, 290, 293;
  letters from, Part II., 152.

KNYPHAUSEN, GEN., arrives, 276;
  attacks Fort Washington, 278.


LASHER, COL. J., 58;
  regiment at Bayard's Hill redoubt, 88, 107, 108;
  on Long Island, 144;
  sketch of, Part II., 189.


LEE, GEN. CHAS., sent to New York, 49;
  sketch of, 50;
  letter to from New York committee, 51;
  enters New York, 53;
  inspects, 54, 57;
  goes South, 58;
  plan of defence, 66;
  Long Island tories, 81;
  Duer's opinion of, 269, _n._;
  captured by British, 288, _n._

LEE, FORT, 264;
  evacuated, 287.

LEEDS, celebrating Long Island victory, 200.

LEITCH, MAJ. ANDREW, at battle of Harlem Heights, 251;
  wounded, 254;
  where buried, 261.

LEWIS, COL., 131.

LIMERICK, celebrating Long Island battle at, 200.

  at Princeton, 295.

LITTLE, COL., regiment escorts Washington, 62;
  on Long Island, 65;
  alarm post, 82, 117, 130;
  describes skirmish on Long Island, 212;
  order-book, Part II., 5;
  letters from, Part II., 42;
  sketch of, Part II., 189.

LIVINGSTON, P., mansion, 47;
  council held at house of, 213.

LIVINGSTON, R.R., correspondence, 268.

LIVINGSTON, GOV. WILLIAM, announces movements of enemy, 143.

LIVINGSTON. MAJ. W.S., 129, 130.

LONDON CHRONICLE, extracts from, Part II., 133.

LONG ISLAND, Dutch population, 44;
  works on, 55;
  attack expected, 101;
  troops from, 110;
  topography, 142;
  battle of, 137-206;
  regiments on, 154, _n._;
  news of the battle in England, 199;
  American and British loss on, 195, 202-206;
  brigades at, 208;
  retreat from, 207, 213;
  origin of, 215, _n._;
  orders for retreat, 219, 220;
  fog on, 223, _n._;
  [Transcriber's Note: missing word], 298.

LOSSING, B.F., quoted, 86, 89.

LOTT, A.P., appointed Colonel, 110.

LUTZ, LIEUT.-COL., 114, 200;
  loss in regiment of, 204, 206.



McDONOUGH, MAJ., on Long Island, 166;
  wounded, 169.


McDOUGALL, GEN., 107, 130;
  superintends retreat from Long Island, 221;
  at White Plains, 274, 275;
  regiment at Trenton, 289; Part II., 189.

McGOWAN'S PASS, location, 41.

McPHERSON, LIEUT., Journal, Part II., 168.

MAGAW, COL., 113, 128;
  on Long Island, 208;
  at Fort Washington, 277;
  refuses to surrender, 278;
  surrenders, 280.

MALCOM, COL. W., 60, 108, 127.

MAMARONECK, British near, 272.

MANHATTAN ISLAND, described, 40.

MANSFIELD, LORD, made Earl on news from Long Island, 199.

MARRITJE DAVIDS FLY, locality, 260.

MARTIN, COL., 112, 130;
  wounded on Long Island, 152.

MARTIN, PRIVATE, narrative of, Part II., 81.

MARYLAND, troops from, 105, 114, 125;
  engaged on Long Island, 187;
  conduct of, 188, _n._;
  captured, 188, 189.

MASSACHUSETTS, troops from, 105, 125.

MATTHEWS, GEN., at Fort Washington, 278.

MAWHOOD, LIEUT.-COL., at Princeton, 294, 295.


MERCER, GEN., sketch of, 116;
  troops ordered to Powle's Hook, 208;
  at Fort Washington, 278;
  at Trenton, 289;
  mortally wounded at Princeton, 294.

  on Long Island, 208;
  and the Long Island retreat, 216, 217, _n._, 218;
  commands covering party, 222.

MILL, burned at Long Island battle, 188, _n._

MILES, COL., 113, 123, 129;
  crosses to Long Island, 144;
  surprised, 180, 181;
  fight in woods, 182;
  retreats, 185;
  taken prisoner, 186;
  loss of regiment, 204;
  sketch of, Part II., 189.


MONROE, LIEUT. JAMES, at Trenton, 292.

MONTRESSOR, CAPT., on Brooklyn works, 73, _n._;
  Long Island retreat, 224, _n._

MORGAN, DR., 126.

MORRIS, CAPT., Journal, Part II., 172.

MORRIS, LEWIS, appointed Brigadier-General, 110, _n._

MORRIS, MAJ., 129.

MORRIS MANSION, headquarters, 86, 230.

MORRISTOWN, Americans encamp at, 296.

MORTIER HOUSE, headquarters, 86.


MOYLAN, COL., 126.

MURRAY, MRS., entertains British generals and aids Putnam's escape
from New York, 239, 240.

MURRAY, ROBERT, residence, 235.

MURPHY, HON. H.C., on name of Brooklyn, 45.


NARROWS, Colonel Hand at, 65;
  British at, 94, 95.

NEAL, CAPT., killed at Princeton, 294.


NEWCOMB, COL., 112, 130.

NEW ENGLAND, troops from, 105, 116;
  New England men criticised, 240-243.

NEW JERSEY, troops from, 105, 111, 130;
  retreat through, 287.

NEW ROCHELLE, British near, 271, 272.

NEW YORK, war brought to, 33, 34;
  in 1776, 35-40;
  in 1876, 48;
  occupation of, 48;
  Committee of Safety and Lee, 51-53;
  Lee occupies, 53;
  works at, 84-90;
  barricades, 90;
  troops from, 105, 106, 125;
  can it be held, 225;
  British attack, 231;
  position of army at, 232;
  retreat from, 234-240;
  loss of, 245;
  great fire at, 262;
  American losses in and around, 285, 286.

NICHOL, COL., 128.

NIXON, GEN., on Long Island, 102;
  brigade of, 130;
  posts troops on Long Island, 148;
  brigade at battle of Harlem Heights, 251, 260.

NORTH CASTLE, heights of, Washington retreats to, 275.

NORTH RIVER, indefensible, 56;
  obstructions in, 298.



OLNEY, LIEUT., 119, 185, _n._

ONDERDONK, H., mentioned, 179.

ORDERS, Greene's, Part II., 5;
  Sullivan's, Part II., 27;
  Washington's, Part II., 30;
  scattering orders by Lee, Spencer, Greene, and Nixon, Part II., 141.

OUT-WARD OF NEW YORK, described, 41.



PALFREY, COL., Paymaster-General, 126.

PARLIAMENT, proceedings in, on American affairs, 19-33;
  votes to suppress the rebellion, 24.

  killed on Long Island, 171, 196;
  sketch of, 196; Part II., 190.

PARSONS, GEN., 119, 128;
  brigade crosses to Long Island, 148;
  on duty, 155;
  at battle of Long Island, 163, 165;
  covers Stirling's left, 170, 171, 189;
  escapes, 190;
  quoted, 200;
  in Kip's Bay affair, 235;
  panic in brigade of, 236;
  letters from, Part II., 33.

PATTERSON, LIEUT.-COL., British Adjutant-General, interview with
Washington, 98.



PECK, MAJ., 128.

PELL'S POINT, British land at, 271.

PENNSYLVANIA, troops from, 105, 112, 125.

PERCY, EARL, at Long Island, 176;
  at Fort Washington, 278-280.


PHILADELPHIA, Howe's designs upon, frustrated, 296.

PHOENIX, British ship, runs the batteries, 99, 100.

PIPER, LIEUT.-COL. J., sketch of, Part II., 190.

PLATT, MAJ., 130.

POPHAM, LIEUT. WM., captures British prisoners on Long Island, 300.

  panic at, 242, _n._

PRESCOTT, COL., on Governor's Island, 67, 116, 117, 130;
  at Kip's Bay, 236;
  at Throg's Neck, 266.

PRICE. MAJ., Maryland troops under, at Harlem Heights, 256.

PRINCETON, battle of, 294-296;
  effect of, 296, 297.

PRISONERS, list of, Part II., 174, 175, 176, 180.

PROSPECT PARK, Battle Pass in, 156, _n._

PUTNAM, FORT, 68, 72, 296.

PUTNAM, GEN., ordered to New York, 61, 63;
  occupies Governor's Island, 66;
  division of, 126;
  takes command on Long Island, 148-150;
  instructions to, 151;
  orders Stirling to meet Grant on Long Island, 162;
  responsibility for Long Island defeat, 191-195, _n._;
  at Kip's Bay, 235;
  exertions on the retreat, 237-239, 256;
  at Fort Washington, 278.

PUTNAM, COL. R., 72, 118, 126;
  reconnoitres White Plains, 272;
  at Chatterton's Hill, 273;
  journal of, Part II., 136.


RALL, COL., at Fort Washington, 278-280;
  captured at Trenton, 292.

RANDOLPH, CAPT., letters from, Part II., 170.

RANGERS, noticed, 246, _n._;
  engaged at Harlem Heights, 246-255.

RAWLINGS, COL., at Fort Washington, 277-279.

READ, COL., 127.

RED HOOK, location, 47;
  works, 67, 75;
  Varnum at, 76.

RED LION, location, 143;
  skirmish near, 161.

REED, ADJ.-GEN., interview on flag of truce, 97, 126;
  on New England troops, 241, _n._;
  at battle of Harlem Heights, 250-253;
  reconnoitres in Westchester, 272.

REED, W.B., on the retreat from Long Island, 217, _n._

REMSEN, MAJ. A., on Long Island, 111.

REMSEN, COL., 102, 110, 131.

RHINELANDER, F., letter on New York, 57, _n._

RICHARDSON, COL., regiment at Harlem Heights battle, 256.

RITZEMA, COL., 107, 130;
  at White Plains, 274, 275.

RHODE ISLAND, troops from, 118, 125.


  journal of, Part II., 158.

ROSE, British ship runs the batteries, 99, 100, 230.

RUSH, DR., on Long Island defeat, 200.


RUTGERS, H., of New York, killed on Long Island, 198.

RUTGERS, COL. H., sketch of, Part. II., 190.


SAGE, COL., 129.

ST. CLAIR, GEN., at Trenton, 289.

SANDY HOOK, light destroyed, 60.

SARGENT, COL., 117, 128;
  brigade at battle of Harlem Heights, 251;
  at Trenton, 289.

  at the Long Island retreat, 222.

SCOTT, GEN. J.M., mansion, 43;
  noticed, 108;
  brigade of, 127;
  crosses to Long Island, 189, _n._;
  on the situation at Brooklyn, 210;
  at the council to retreat, 213, 214;
  brigade at Kip's Bay affair, 237;
  letter from, Part II., 36;
  sketch of, Part II., 190.

SELDEN, COL., 121, 129;
  regiment on Long Island, 189, _n._;
  taken prisoner at Kip's Bay, 244, _n._;
  sketch of, Part II., 191.

SHEE, COL., 113, 128;
  on Long Island, 208.

SHEWKIRK, PASTOR, excitement in New York, 53;
  diary of, Part II., 101.

  letter on Governor's Island, 60, 120, 121, 129;
  crosses to Long Island, 144;
  describes skirmish, 152;
  on American loss at Long Island, 205;
  on the skirmishing at Brooklyn, 211;
  in retreat from New York, 237;
  at White Plains, 273;
  letters from, Part II., 57.

SLOAN, LIEUT., killed on Long Island, 198.

SMALLWOOD, COL., 115, 123, 129;
  regiment at battle of Long Island, 163, 166, 168, 187;
  loss of, 203;
  at White Plains, 275.

SMITH, COL. J., 127.

SMITH, COL. JOSIAH, on Long Island, 102, 110, 131.

SMITH, CAPT. R., 108;
  sketch of, Part II., 191.

SMITH, WILLIAM, Lee's engineer, 54, 75.

SMITH, WILLIAM, historian, quoted, 36.

SMYTH, J.F.D., traveler, describes New York, 39;
  on Long Island population, 45;
  describes Hell Gate, 47, _n._

SPENCER, GEN., ordered to New York, 62;
  brigade, 63, 64;
  division 128, 208;
  at White Plains, 273.


STARK, COL., at Trenton, 289.

STEPHEN, GEN., at Trenton, 289.

STERLING, LIEUT.-COL., at Fort Washington, 280.

STILES, DR., History of Brooklyn quoted, 45.

STILES, PRES., map, 69.


STIRLING, GEN., at New York, 58;
  orders, 60;
  brigade, 63;
  to grenadier company, 85;
  crosses to Long Island, 148, 149;
  takes position on Long Island, 162, 164, 165, 172, 183;
  retreats, 186, 187;
  fights Cornwallis, 187;
  at White Plains, 273;
  at Trenton, 289;
  sketch of, Part II., 191.

STRONG, MAJ., 131.


SULLIVAN, GEN., ordered to New York, 61;
  brigade, 63;
  ordered to Canada, 63;
  at Long Island, 103;
  thanks his troops on Long Island, 147;
  superseded by Putnam, 148-150;
  sends out patrol, 159;
  goes out to the Flatbush Pass, 173, 183;
  retreats from, 184;
  taken prisoner on Long Island, 186;
  question of the Long Island defeat, 194;
  division on Long Island, 208;
  at Trenton, 289;
  at Princeton, 296;
  orders on Long Island, Part II., 27.

SUYDAM, CAPT., on Long Island, 111.




TALLMADGE, MAJ., account of Long Island battle and White Plains, Part
II., 77.

TAPPAN BAY, ships at, 100.

TAYLOR, LIEUT., killed on Long Island, 198.

THOMAS, COL., 128.

  Gracie's Point, 89.


THOMPSON, GEN., at New York, 61.

THORNE, MAJ., 1, 71, 111.

THROG'S NECK, British land at, 265.

TILGHMAN, CAPT., aide, 126;
  at Harlem Heights battle, 258;
  correspondence with Duer, 266;
  letters from, Part II., 85;
  sketch of, Part II., 192.

TORIES, on Long Island, 80;
  Lee's course, 81;
  Greene's, 81;
  Tory-riding, 92;
  enlist in New York, 267, 268.

TRENTON, Rall stationed at, 288;
  battle of, 287-292;
  effect of, 296, 297.

TROUP, LIEUT. ROBERT, captured on Long Island, 177;
  sketch of, Part II., 192.

  orders for Long Island retreat, 218;
  letters from, Part II., 40, 41.

TRUMBULL, GOV., 50, 119.

TRYON, GOV., 51.

TUPPER, LIEUT.-COL., commands American fleet, 91;
  attacks British ships, 100.

TYLER, COL., 129.



VANDEWATER, B., farm, 43;
  battle on farm of, 248.


VAN DYCK, CAPT., and grenadier battery, 85.

VAN WAGENEN, LIEUT. G.H., on Long Island, 177;
  sketch of, Part II., 192.

VARNUM, COL., on Long Island, 65;
  at Red Hook, 76;
  alarm post, 82, 118, 130.

  killed on Long Island, 169, 197.

VIRGINIA, troops from, 116;
  at Trenton, 289.


WADSWORTH, GEN., brigade, 129;
  on Long Island, 189, _n._;
  at Kip's Bay, 237.

WALDRON, CAPT., on Long Island, 65, 111.

WALLABOUT, settlement, 44;
  bay, 47.

WALPOLE, HORACE, on Long Island defeat, 199;
  on Washington, 297.

WARD, COL. A., 51, 57, 58, 59, 128.

WARD, COL. J., 117, 129;
  at Long Island battle, 188, _n._

WASHINGTON, GEN. GEORGE, sends Lee to New York, 49;
  to Stirling, 58;
  at Providence, 62;
  Lady Washington, 63;
  Gen. Washington at New York, 63;
  headquarters in New York, 86;
  orders to troops on enemy's arrival, 95;
  Howe's letter to _Mr._ Washington, 97;
  inspects position on Long Island, 152, 153;
  on Long Island during battle, 189;
  at Brooklyn, takes no rest, 212;
  council for retreat, 213;
  decides to retreat from Long Island, 215, _n._, 219, _n._;
  orders for the retreat, 219, 220;
  anxiety at New York, 226;
  letter to Heath, 226;
  at battle of Harlem Heights, 250;
  at White Plains, 273;
  at fall of Fort Washington, 278;
  responsibility for fall of, 281-285;
  orders at Trenton, 290, 292;
  at Assanpink Creek, 293;
  at Princeton, 293;
  Walpole on his generalship, 297.

WASHINGTON, FORT, location, 263;
  British march to, 276;
  attack upon, 279;
  fall of, 280;
  loss at, 281.

WASHINGTON, CAPT. WILLIAM, at Trenton, 290, 292.

WATERBURY, COL. D., 51, 57, 59.

WATERBURY'S battery, 55, 87.

WEBB, COL. C., 119, 120, 130;
  at White Plains, 27;
  at Trenton, 289.

WEBB, LIEUT.-COL., aide, 126;
  at White Plains, 275;
  at Trenton, 291;
  sketch of, Part II., 193.

WEEDON, COL., regiment engaged at Harlem Heights, 251.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, operations in, 265-276.


WHITE PLAINS, battle of, 273-275.


WOLCOTT, GEN., king's statue and bullets, 93, 121, 131;
  writes from Congress on the war, 297;
  letter from, Part II., 147.

WOLVERTON, CAPT., on Long Island, 82.

WOODHULL, GEN., on Long Island, 111, 131;
  captured and wounded, 199;
  prisoner, 206;
  letters from, Part II., 73;
  sketch of, Part II., 193.

WYLLYS, COL., 119, 120, 128;
  on Long Island, 156, 181-185.

WYLLYS, MAJ., 129;
  prisoner at Kip's Bay, 243, _n._


YORK, corporation of, votes address on news from Long Island, 199.


Page 37, line 26--The old City Hall stood at the corner of Nassau and
Wall streets, site of present Sub-Treasury Building.

Page 119, line 1--Lieutenant-Colonel Cornell became member of the
Board of War, not Commissary-General.

Page 243, line 10--But one of the regiments suffered as much as any

Page 280, line 21--Rall's column reached Fort Washington first.

Page 289, line 31--Read December 25th.

Page 291, line 5--Read December 25th.

Page 295, line 23--Read Cadwallader's _and_ Mercer's men.

Part II., page 99, third line in Glover's letter--Read [Randall's] for

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