George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major Ebenezer Gray, 30 September 1778

From Major Ebenezer Gray

Norwalk [Conn.] Septr 30th 1778


By Leiutt Brewster who returned last evening from Setocket, and also by a Gentn who came from N. York last Friday,1 & to this Place from Huntington Yesterday, I have the following Intelligence, both Stories agreing, (Lt Brewster’s Informant left N. York the same Day the other did,) that for 4 or 5 Days before they left N. York Troops were Constantly imbarking from the City to the Narrows where the transports lay, in which Time they Judge they saw about 3000 imbark—The Ship Carpenters are all impressed to work in the Kings Yard repairing the Shipping. The Transports Ships are still fitting for Sea. Lord Howe hath sailed for England and Admiral Gambier hath the Command of the Brittish Fleet and that last Wednesday about 3000 of the Enemy under the Command of Sir Willm Erskine crossed from the City to Powles Hook supposed to be going to N. Jersey.2

There is Two Fleets lying in sight of this Place—one in Huntington, of about 28 Sail taking in wood for Rhode Island, the other in Cold spring Harbour of about 20 Sail loading with Wood for New York.3

Governor Tryon hath been about 70 miles Eastward fro<m> New York, with a Guard of about 200 m<en &> Horse of Queens County, swearing those whom he did not sware before, he was to be at Huntington Yesterday on his return, it is the Universal Opinion both of the Inhabitants of the City and Iland that the Brittish Army will shortly leave New York—I have one Boat on the Iland which I expect will return tomorrow and shall send Two more this Evening if the Weather permits, if any Intelligence can be had, I shall give your Excellency the earliest Notice. I am Your Excelly Most Obedt & Hume Servt

Ebenr Gray Major

ALS, DLC:GW. Gray wrote in the lower-left corner of the addressed cover: “per Lt Lawrence.”

1The previous Friday was 25 September.

2The previous Wednesday was 23 September. This intelligence may be a confused report of the crossing of Lieutenant General Cornwallis’s foraging party to New Jersey on 22 September. Brig. Gen. William Erskine apparently did not participate in that expedition, taking part instead in the advance to Philipse’s house on the east side of the Hudson River that occurred on 24 Sept. (see Baurmeister, Revolution in America description begins Carl Leopold Baurmeister. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784, of Adjutant General Major Baurmeister of the Hessian Forces. Translated and annotated by Bernhard A. Uhlendorf. New Brunswick, N.J., 1957. description ends , 217).

3For the cutting of firewood on Lloyd Neck, Long Island, near Huntington, see Caleb Brewster to GW, 15 Sept., and note 1 to that document. Cold Spring Harbor is on the west side of Lloyd Neck.

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