To Major General Horatio Gates
Fishkill 3d October 1778
General Mcdougall forwarded Major Grays letter to you, to me.1 I have no account from General Scott of any troops having lately gone from New York to the Narrows. The party that went to Jersey were reinforced, and perhaps that might have occasioned the mistake.
I do not apprehend any attempt agt this Army, but to be prepared for contingencies, I am to desire, if the Enemy should make a debarkation in force which may seriously threaten your left Flank, you will fall back to Fredericksburg, at which place we can concentre our force.2
I have just seen a Philada paper of the 29th Sepr which mentions that a Vessel had arrived at Baltimore in 13 days from Martinico, and brings an account that the French had taken possession of Dominica and had sent down 4000 Men agt Jamaica.3 If this is so we shall soon have a confirmation of it. I am Sir Your most obt Servt
p.s. some troops went from New York to Staten Island abt the time Majr Gray mentions.
LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, NHi: Gates Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The postscript is not included on the draft or the Varick transcript.
2. The first version of this paragraph that Tilghman wrote on the draft manuscript reads: “I do not apprehend any attempt against this Army, at the distance at which we now lay; but to be prepared for contingencies, it will be well enough to settle some general plan. If the Enemy should move towards your left, I would have you immediately to fall back to Fredericksburg, at which place we can concentre our force.” Tilghman then altered the paragraph to read as it does on the LS, except for writing “our left flank” instead of “your left Flank.”
3. This report appears in the Pennsylvania Packet or the General Advertiser (Philadelphia) for 29 September. The French had captured the British West Indies island of Dominica on 7 Sept. (see the articles of capitulation of that date, in the Pennsylvania Packet or the General Advertiser for 17 Oct.), but the report was in error in saying that they had sent “a well appointed body of four thousand chosen troops, properly accommodated, . . . against the island of Jamaica.”