From Colonel Israel Shreve
Evesham [N.J.] May 4th 1778.
Since I Wrote yesterday I have been better Informed as to the Enemys Situation at Coopers Point near the Ferrys, Several Gentlemen that was at the Ferrys when the Enemy Crossed, and Rode Down again in the afternoon within Sight of their Centin⟨els⟩.
they Landed Early in the morning Said to be two thousand Commanded by Sir Wm Erskin, an inhabitant that they took at Landing, Since Set at Liberty Informs, he Saw a Large Number of intrenching tools they Brought over, in the afternoon they were forageing the uper Side Coopers Creek five miles from the River; a Number of horse was with the forageing party.
we now Suppose they will fortify the point, and Endeavour to Ravage the Country, which as yet abounds in provisions far beyond Expectation.1
They will Cover the Disaffected who Chuses hard Money for their produce, I Shall be obliged to keep my Small fource Divided as we Shall have Billingsport and those at the point to Watch.
If your Excy Could Spare one Brigade it mig⟨ht⟩ Save a Country from Ravage, that otherwise can Nearly furnish provisions for that Brigade.
If the Enemy Should attempt to march and Distroy Batsto furnice,2 and the Vessels at the port of Eggharbour they might Accomplish it in four Days with foot, and in ⟨Less⟩ time with a party of horse, which they may now Land under Cover. I hope your Excy will Excuse my mentioning these facts, which is Submited by your Humble Servt
I. Shreve Colo:
1. Capt. John Montresor of the British engineers wrote in his journal on 3 May: “At 6 this morning (Sunday) calm and fine weather. I proceeded to the Jersies with the 55th and 63d Regt. and 12 Philadelphia Horse and began the Defenses on the Confluence of the Delaware and Cooper Creek by 4 Redoubts and flanked by the Cornwallis Galley”; on 6 May he wrote, “Finished our Works in the Jersies” (Scull, Montresor Journals description begins G. D. Scull, ed. The Montresor Journals. New York, 1882. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vol. 14. description ends , 488–89; see also Gruber, Peebles’ American War description begins Ira D. Gruber, ed. John Peebles’ American War: The Diary of a Scottish Grenadier, 1776–1782. Mechanicsburg, Pa., 1998. description ends , 178, and Whinyates, Services of Francis Downman description begins F. A. Whinyates, ed. The Services of Lieut.-Colonel Francis Downman, R.A., in France, North America, and the West Indies, between the Years 1758 and 1784. Woolwich, England, 1898. description ends , 58; Downman recorded that the two British regiments crossed the river on 2 May).
2. Batsto Furnace in what is now the village of Batsto in Burlington County, N.J., was located on the Batsto River just above the forks of the Little Egg Harbor River, about fifteen miles from the mouth of the latter river and thirty miles southeast of Woodbury, New Jersey. The ironworks, among the most important in the state, was owned and operated at this time by Philadelphia merchant Joseph Ball. When Ball offered the site for sale in 1783, it included a furnace “sufficiently large and commodious to produce upwards of 100 tons of pigs and castings per month,” a “Rolling and Slitting Mill,” a “Saw Mill and small Grist Mill,” a “Forge with four fires and two hammers,” tenements, dwelling houses, storehouses, workshops, a coal house, and a “commodious Mansion house” (Pennsylvania Gazette [Philadelphia], 2 July 1783).