George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Matthias Ogden, 24 July 1777

From Colonel Matthias Ogden

Elizth Town [N.J.] 24th July [1777]


This morning three OClock I had a person from the Island—This information is, that the whole of the Fleet sailed in the forenoon of yesterday, that they were joined by the shipping from New-York before they sailed, that he was on board the Centurion & saw them standing to sea as far as he could see them1—there were upwards of 200 Sail, there are no shipping behind nor have any gone up either the North or East River—he thinks the floating Battery is with them but did not distinguish her with the Fleet, tho he saw her come down to the fleet before they sailed—There have been several marchings of Troops to Kingsbridge & the 22nd two full Brittish & one Hessian Rigements landed from the fleet and marched to Kingsbridge tho he cannot guess with any certainty how many there are at that place—I shall certainly have accounts, this evening, tomorrow evening & the next. I am with due respect & esteem Your Excellencys humble servant

M: Ogden


1British officer Stephen Kemble’s journal entry for 23 July 1777 confirms that the British fleet sailed from Sandy Hook on that date: “Reported the Fleet Sailed out of the Hook; nothing alse Extraordinary” (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 , 1:126). H.M.S. Centurion, commanded by Capt. Richard Brathwaite, was a 50–gun warship containing 350 men (see Lord Howe’s list of ships of war, transports, etc., 9 July, in 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 , 9:250–51). Maj. Gen. Charles Lee had been placed on the Centurion in early June for “greater Security” (extract of a letter from an officer on board the Eagle, 9 June 1777, ibid., 78–79).

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