George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Nathanael Greene, 4 August 1776

From Brigadier General Nathanael Greene

Camp on Long Island Augt 4[1776]

Dear Sir

Col. Hand Reports 21 Sail seen off last Evening, Eight arrivd at the Hook this morning and thirteen coming in.1

The Enemies Guard Boats pattroled much higher up the Bay than usual last Night.

I apprehend a couple of Guard Boats are necessary to Pattrole from Red to Yellow Hook across the Bay leading to Rappelyeas Mills, providing there are Boats to spare.2

Inclosd is a return of the Officers of Col. Hands Riffle Regiment.3 as the return made me by Col. Hand is not as intelligible as I could wish I shall send and get another as soon as may be. I must beg your Excellencys Pardon for suffering the return to escape my memory, and neglecting makeing it agreeable to your Orders some days past.

I shall send in a list of the Names in a few hours of the persons proper to be takeen up on this Island. I am with respect Your Excellencys Most Obedient Servant

Nath. Greene


1Ambrose Serle, who was on Lord Howe’s flagship Eagle off Staten Island, writes in his journal entry for this date: “In the Afternoon the Renown of 50 Guns and the Flora of 32 Guns, with 22 Sail of Convoy, came into the Harbor. We have had so many Arivals of late, that the Rebel Commanders, we learn, give out to their People, that we send Ships down in the Night, which come up in the Course of the next Day, as a manoeuvre to intimidate them” (Tatum, Serle’s Journal description begins Edward H. Tatum, Jr., ed. The American Journal of Ambrose Serle: Secretary to Lord Howe, 1776–1778. San Marino, Calif., 1940. description ends , 54). The transports in the convoy carried mostly Highlanders of the 42d and 71st regiments but included some Hessians (see Marriot Arbuthnot to Lord George Germain, 8 July 1776, in Clark and Morgan, Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964—. description ends , 5:966–68; see also GW’s second letter to Hancock of 7 Aug.).

2Gowanus Bay, a cove on the eastern shore of Long Island, is flanked on the north by Red Hook and on the south by Yellow Hook (now called Owl Head). Yellow Hook lay directly across the Narrows from the Watering Place on Staten Island where most of the British fleet was anchored.

3This return has not been identified.

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