George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Horatio Gates, 6 July 1778

From Major General Horatio Gates

White plains July 6th 1778.


This moment I had the Honour to receive Your Letter, dated Brunswick the 3rd Instant; and do most heartily Congratulate Your Excellency, upon the glorious News it Contains. I shall Order Colonel Hay to have every thing in readiness, for passing Your Army Cross the River at Kings Ferry.

Inclosed I have the Satisfaction to send Your Excellency, the latest, and best Intelligence from New York.1 I have the honor to be, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most Obedt Humble Servant

Horatio Gates

LS, DLC:GW; Df, NHi: Gates Papers.

1Gates enclosed an examination of Polly Mitchell, who had left New York on 3 July. She stated: “That M. Gen. Tryon’s Division, consisting of about 600 Men, were posted on Long Island, at the Head of the Flye, between New-Town & Flushing—That his Quarters were at Waters’s, and Delancey’s at Furman’s. That ten or twelve Wagons were employed, the other Day, in carrying Gen. Tryon’s Baggage to New-York, where it was generally supposed he would soon embark it for Great Britain. That they were endeavouring to raise a Troop of Light Dragoons at Jamaica.

That a British Regiment was encamped at Brooklyn. That they were busy in repairing the Works on Brooklyn Heights—That two new Redoubts were erected on the Bedford Road—That two Anspach Regiments were posted on Long-Island, opposite Hell-Gate—That a Party is employed in the Woods, near Herrick’s on Long-Island, in cutting Timber for Block houses, & framing them. That since Major Monckrief & Mr Bache were taken from Flatbush, they have kept strong Guards there, & will not suffer any of our Prisoners to be out of their Houses at Night—That a Majority of the Inhabitants on the Island are our firm Friends, & wait, with great Impatience, for an Opportunity of Joining our Army.

“That there were no more Troops in the City of New-York than were barely sufficient for the ordinary Guards—That there was a Generally a tolerable plenty of fresh Provisions in the Markets—That the Citizens were healthy—that they, as well as the Officers of the Army, were exceedingly distressed on Account of the gloomy State of their Affairs, and particularly the late Action in New-Jersey—that between 4 & 500 of the B. Army, wounded, had been brought into the City & it was currently reported that they had near 400 killed—That the B. Army was encamped on the Heights of Neversink, and were soon expected in New-York—That all the Ships, Boats & Craft in the Harbour, had been impressed, & sent to Sandy Hook the Day before she left the City. That the Commissioners had arrived, and Gov. Johnstone was frequently insulted by the Name of Rebel in the Streets. That many warm Tories affirmed and believed that the Commissioners had Authority to withdraw the Fleets & Armies, in order to settle a Peace—That few supposed the Campaign would be continued—if it was, the Scenes of Action would certainly be in the States of N. York & Connecticut. That they were not embarking, in the Harbour of N. York, any Cannon, military Stores, Horses &c.—That Bunker’s, or Bayard’s Hill was demolished—That the Grand Battery was in no State of Defence—That there was an Encampment at Greenwich; but could not ascertain the Number of Men there—That they had made no Alteration in the Works at Paulus Hook, neither had they thrown up any new ones there—That Lt Col. Trunbull, with between 2 & 300 of the New Levies, was posted there—That she dined lately with a Captain of Transport, in Appearance a good Whig, who sailed from England in April last—That he informed her two thousand Recruits would be all the Reinforcement the British Army would receive this Year—That a Ship arrived, a few Days ago, from England in which came two Letters flatly contradictory to each other—One mentioned that a War between France & England was inevitable—the other that there was not the least Prospect of it. That the Refugees from Philadelphia, particularly, were constantly visiting our Prisoners, in the City, and shewing them every Mark of Humanity. That they flattered themselves this Conduct would regain them the Esteem & Affection of their Countrymen—That our Prisoners confined in ships were treated with the most rigorous Severity, and die in great Numbers” (DLC:GW).

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