From Major General Philemon Dickinson
Elizabeth Town [N.J.] Novemr 6th 1777
This moment I received an Express from an Officer stationed on the South Amboy Shore, informing me, that a Fleet consisting of thirty six Sail, left the Narrows Yesterday Morning, at 10. OClock with a fair Wind—some of them appear’d to [be] very large, & deeply laden’d.1
I have a Person now on Staten Island, who will return about Midnight, expect to be more particularly informed by him—anything of consequence, your Excellency shall receive without loss of time.
Genl Winds is return’d within 20 Miles of this Post, the Times of most his Men expire in a few Days—A Sussex Battalion consisting of about 160, men, have 20 days Duty to perform in Camp, those I have orderd the most direct Road to Red-Banks, there to join Genl Forman.
Part of the relief that was order’d to this Post, shall this Day order to take the same Route.
I am preparing a Waggon Load of the Woodbridge Oisters, they are too fresh, but are Oisters, as such, hope they will be acceptable, shall send them on in a few Days to Head-Quarters, when I shall beg your Excellency’s acceptance of them. I have the honor to be, Your Excellency’s Most Obt
ALS, DLC:GW; copy (extract), enclosed in GW to Henry Laurens, 8 Nov., DNA:PCC, item 152; copy (extract), DNA:PCC, item 169. When making the extract, which consisted of all but the letter’s final paragraph, GW’s aide-de-camp Richard Kidder Meade inadvertently dated it “Head Quarters White Marsh 8 Nov.” The error was repeated when the extract was copied.
1. In his diary Hessian officer Johann Conrad Döhla, among those being transported, noted that on 5 Nov. “we sailed from Staten Island, and on the same evening, with good wind, we reached the open sea. Our fleet consisted of forty sail, and we were accompanied by the warships Experiment, sixty-four guns, and the Bristol, fifty guns. Altogether the troops amounted to four thousand men” (Döhla, Hessian Diary description begins Johann Conrad Döhla. A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution. Translated and edited by Bruce E. Burgoyne. Norman, Okla., and London, 1990. description ends , 57–58). The British force, commanded by Gen. Thomas Spencer Wilson, entered the Delaware Bay on 10 Nov. and, according to British officer Archibald Robertson, included “the 7th, 26th and 63d Regiments, two Battalions of Anspach, about 300 Jagers, 4 or 500 Convalescents and recruits, and the 17th Regiment of Light Dragoons, and 70 of the Guards” (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 , 154–55). The troops debarked at Billingsport on 18 Nov. (Döhla, Hessian Diary description begins Johann Conrad Döhla. A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution. Translated and edited by Bruce E. Burgoyne. Norman, Okla., and London, 1990. description ends , 59). Generals Israel Putnam and David Forman also included intelligence about the fleet in their letters to GW of 7 Nov., as did James Potter when writing to GW on 11 November.