From Matthias Williamson, Jr.
Elizabeth Town [N.J.]
24th June 1777
May it please your excellency
I have thought proper to trouble your Excellency with the following Intelligence receiv’d by three different ways from staten Island to day— by persons whom I think may be credited—that the greatest part of the fleet from N. York Harbour has removed to the Watering place & Princes Bay where the Baggage & troops passing from the Jersies are constantly Embarking1—by a person return’d from N. York which he left Yesterday Afternoon where he has been secretly sent by Means of Passes from Colo. Biddle we learn that New York was fir’d last Friday Night in five different places but soon discover’d & put out—the Offenders not known2—A Transport cut down for a floating Battery has twenty Six 24 & 18 pounders lies off the Grand Battery in the River—Another which they have been fitting for the same purpose, is neglected & Unfinish’d Genl Howe arrived at New York on sunday Afternoon the Whole of which day they were employ’d in removing the wounded soldiers from the docks to the Hospitals there,3 said to amount to five Hundd Men by a Lieut. wounded in the Arm—Colo. Campbell of the 57th Regimt of British Troops Garrisons N. York with the Assistance of the Inhabitants4—Fifty of which are Oblig’d to do duty every day—the Intelligence I have been able to gain from time to time I have communicated to Colo. Biddle, the distance at which I suppose him to be is the reason of addressing myself to your Excelly I am &c.
Sign’d Matt. Williamson Jun.
Copy, enclosed in GW to Hancock, 25 June 1777, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169. The copy in DNA:PCC, item 152 is in the writing of GW’s aide-de-camp John Fitzgerald.
1. This intelligence is confirmed by British officer Archibald Robertson in his diary entry for 22 June 1777 (see GW to Hancock, that date, n.1; see also Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends , 138).
2. The previous Friday was 20 June 1777.
3. The previous Sunday was 22 June 1777.
4. John Campbell, who was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the British army in February 1762, became lieutenant colonel of the 57th British Regiment in 1773. He was appointed aide-de-camp to the king with the rank of colonel in the army in May 1777 and brigadier general in America in July 1777 (see Kemble Papers description begins [Stephen Kemble]. The Kemble Papers. 2 vols. New York, 1884-85. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vols. 16–17. description ends , 1:457, 461). He was promoted to major general in the regular army in February 1779. Campbell became colonel of the 57th Regiment in August 1780 and remained in America until the end of the war.