George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General William Winds, 9 July 1778

From Brigadier General William Winds

Head Quarters Elizabeth Town [N.J.] July 9. 1778

Dear General

At this Critical Juncture I Cannot Delay a Moment In transmiting to your Excellency, Every Interesting piece of Intelligence, that Comes to My Ear, leaving it to you to Compare them with Accounts you may recieve through Other Hands & Make a proper Digest of the Whole.

Two Men returned last Night to this place from Staten Island, one of them was Yesterday in New York, they had two Days to Collect the Intelligence Which follows—Nine Regiments are landed on Staten Island from Middletown, Who are Encamped on the Heights Near the Watering place, the Numbers landed at New York, are far Short of those on Staten Island, but the pieces of Dislocated Carriages &c. landed there is Immense, tis said, there were the pieces of 1500 Waggons, besides Other Carriages, on & near the Warfs, & Yesterday there was Nothing Doing towards puting them together. The Grea[te]st part of the British troops from New Jersey landed on Long Island, all the British General Officers were Assembled at New York supposed to be In Council, This Agrees with the report Made by the Officer Who went from here to Staten Island with a flag Yesterday, (vizt) that He was Informed by the Officer Who recd him that the Generals Were Gone to New York, Wherefore he Could not Accomplish the Business he went on.

One of the first abovementioned Men Declares that he was in a friends House on Staten Island, When some British Officers Came in & took the room Next the one he was in, that he overheard their Conversations, part of Which was as follows, one of them Acknowledged the Regt he belonged to had lost upwards of 80 Men in their March through New Jersey: by Desertion, Capture, Killed In Action, & Died by the Heat, Another Allowed the loss of his Regiment to be Great but Did not Mention Numbers, they Agreed that they Never saw Men so Much fatigued as their Army In General, & that it would take some time Yet to recover it. that they Should Do Nothing More untill the Arrival of another Packett, Which they feared Would bring Orders for their Going to the West Indies, but if not, they Should Make some Other Grand push, Altho they Could not see any Advantage that Could possibly Arise from such a Measure, tho Great Evils May. a Violent hot press in New York the Night before last in Which they picked up about 400 Men & forced them on board the Men of War, among them Many who were no seamen.1

I have now to Acknowledge the Rect of Your Excellencys favr Through Col: Tilghman, Which Came to hand since the Above was wrote2 Your Excellency May rely on Recieving Every piece of Intelligence that I Can possibly Collect. I am Dr Genl Your Most Obdt Humb. servt

Wm Winds

Inclosed are two late New York Papers for your Excellencys Amusement.3


1British officer Stephen Kemble wrote in his journal for 8 July: “Advice received that the Andromeda had been off the Capes of Delaware, and saw ten Sail of the line, French. Lord Howe proposed to the Transports to turn out Seamen Volunteers to Man the Fleet, 1,000 offered in a few hours for the Service” ( 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 , 1:155). Brig. Gen. James Pattison’s journal of military operations noted that “a hot press of Seamen began … but was soon put a stop to, upon a sufficient Number of Men from the Transports turning out as Volunteers to serve in the Fleet” (Ritchie, “New York Diary,” description begins Carson I. A. Ritchie, ed. “A New York Diary [British army officer’s journal] of the Revolutionary War.” New-York Historical Society Quarterly 50 (1966): 221–80, 401–46. description ends 265).

2The “favr Through Col: Tilghman” has not been found.

3The enclosed newspapers have not been identified.

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