From Major General Stirling
Aquakanoc [N.J.] Octobr 8th 1778
I wrote your Excellency Yesterday by Colonel Craig, General Maxwell now sends you the Intelligence he has Just received from Major Howell1 I hope to have something more explicit from thence tomorrow as two Messengers besides an Officer have been sent for every particular that has lately happened with regard to the Sailing of Ships. I am afraid the Major has not kept a good look out as he Mentions Nothing of the fleet which Sailed under Convoy of the Ship General Robertson &c. went in.2 the two deserters which Came in this Morng say it is now publicly talked of that the ten Regts are to go to the West Indies, they say that they are Already Compleated by drafts from other Regts without allowing prisoners with us to be estimated as part of their Strenght, and that thier Respective Granadier & light Infantry Companies are to Join their Regts.3
Two deserters of the 40th are this Moment Come in from Staten Island, they say their Incampment is in Sight of the light House, that all the Ships of the Line lay near the hook Yesterday except Ad: Byron’s Ship a 90 Gun lays out side the hook.4 Ad: Parker Comds in the Bay & about the Narrows, that the fleet was extreemly Sickly some Ships of the line not haveing 50 Men fit for duty, they Call the disorder the black Scurvy; the Spirit of desertion is Universal in their Army Since it has been publickly known that the ten Regts are going to the West Indies, theirs is one of them, that their Officers Baggage is on board the transports that they have all been Measured for linnen Vests & drawers which are all made but not delivered out, they Confirm that these Regiments are all Compleated by drafts from others, that they expect to Sail in a few days. I am your Excellency’s Most Obt Humble Servt
2. Maj. Gen. James Robertson deferred going to England (see Henry Clinton to George Germain, 11 Aug. 1778, in Davies, Documents of the American Revolution description begins K. G. Davies, ed. Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783; (Colonial Office Series). 21 vols. Shannon and Dublin, 1972–81. description ends , 13:335). He remained in America until 1783.
3. Hessian major Carl Leopold Baurmeister wrote in his dispatch of 21 Oct. 1778 that “Yesterday, the 10th, 45th, and 52nd English Regiments were distributed among ten other British regiments” (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 , 215; see also 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 , 1:156, and 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 , 220). The ten regiments ordered to go to the West Indies under the command of Maj. Gen. James Grant were the 4th, 5th, 15th, 27th, 28th, 35th, 40th, 46th, 49th, and 55th. Also included in the expedition were two artillery companies and fifty light horse (see 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 , 87–88; Mackenzie Diary description begins Diary of Frederick Mackenzie Giving a Daily Narrative of His Military Service as an Officer of the Regiment of Royal Welch Fusiliers during the Years 1775–1781 in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. 2 vols. Cambridge, Mass., 1930. description ends , 2:416; 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 401; André, Journal description begins John André. Major André’s Journal: Operations of the British Army under Lieutenant Generals Sir William Howe and Sir Henry Clinton, June 1777 to November 1778. 1930. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 99–100; and 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 , 222). The grenadier and light infantry companies, which had previously been detached from their respective regiments to operate together as special grenadier and light infantry battalions, received orders on 17 Oct. to rejoin their regiments (see 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 , 226).
4. Admiral Byron’s flag ship was the Princess Royal.