George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Adam Stephen, 23 April 1777

From Major General Adam Stephen

Chatham [N.J.] 23d April 1777


The next important Intelligence I reced from N. York—was of a Certain Conquest of America before October.

Betts of 100 Gu[i]neas to 1, that Gl Howe would be in philadelphia the 1st of May.

The Scarcity of timber & plank at York has prevented the finishing of the Bridge of Boats.

Naval Stores So Scarce that they Cannot fit out their transports for their Return home.

Tar 5 Gu[i]neas per Barrel—Flour very plenty, & twelve months Salt provisions for 20,000 Men Sailors Scarce & Sickly aboard ther Ships.

On the 16th Between 40 & 50 Sail of Vessels Saild, as was reported aboard the Ships, & in the City, for Hallifax under Convoy of the Tartar—Uncertain whether there were troops aboard or not—It is Said they went for Coal & forrage.1

Twelve large Ships arrivd at York from England on the 21st, Uncertain What they had on board—The Number of Tory Regiments at Bergen Confirmd.

The Preston Commodore Hotham has taken a privateer Brig of 16 Guns fitted out at Charleston S. Carolina.2

It is Said that Delancy Brigade has Orders to Embark for S. Carolina.

They Intend to Waggon their boats from Brunswick Three goes into Each other & all into a Waggon—Their Horse, Grenadiers & light Infantry on the flanks of the Convoy—May Heaven Blast their purposes! We cannot Boast of the Arm of flesh, So many Arms are Weakly from Inoculation & otherwise.

They Say the Continental Army Consists of 5,000 men, & that no more Can be raisd for Continental Money. I have the honour to be sr your most Obt

Adam Stephen

P.S. This will be deliverd to Your Excellency by Capt. Mathews of the 4th the fittest Officer I am acquainted with for a Major of a Regimt or Brigade.

LS, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169. The LS was enclosed in GW’s letter to Hancock of this date.

1The Tartar sailed from New York for Halifax and Quebec on 15 April with a convoy that included fourteen transports sent to Nova Scotia to bring back forage from the Bay of Fundy and several other transports carrying officers and recruits to Canada (see Lord Howe to Cornthwaite Ommanney, 12 April, 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 , 8:327–28, and Lord Howe to Philip Stephens, 23 April, ibid., 407–9).

2The Defence, a fourteen-gun South Carolina navy brig commanded by Capt. Thomas Pickering, was captured off Cape Henlopen, Del., on 2 April by the British warships Roebuck and Perseus. The Defence arrived at New York on 18 April (see the journals of the Perseus and Roebuck, 2 April, ibid., 256–57, and the journal of the Eagle, 18 April, ibid., 366–67). The Preston, the flagship of Commodore William Hotham, who commanded the British squadron off the Delaware capes, had been obliged to return to New York in early April to refit. Hotham moved his flag to the Daphne on 4 April and to the Roebuck on 7 April (see Lord Howe to Philip Stevens, 31 Mar. 1777, ibid., 230–34; the journal of the Preston, 4 April, ibid., 270–71; and Andrew Snape Hamond’s narrative, 22 Mar.—12 April, ibid., 330–31).

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