George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Samuel Holden Parsons, 16 November 1778

From Brigadier General Samuel Holden Parsons

Horseneck [Conn.] 16th Novr 1778

Dear General

Inclosd I send you several Examinations taken of Persons who lately left New York.1 Ld Cathcart’s Corps I am informd have Orders to sell all except European Horses.

I am obliged to continue a few Days longer on the Sea Coasts before I return to Camp; the Small Parties of the Enemy exceedingly distress the Inhabitants in this Vicinity, If a Brigade could be posted near the Coast it would Prevent those Ravages and I beleive 1500 or 2000 Men will be a Sufficient Body to Oppose any Force the Enemy can throw out from the City. if any Troops should be Stationd on the Sea Coast this Winter, I must again intreat your Excellency’s Permission for my Brigade to be orderd this Way, as I cannot without great Injury to my own Private Affairs be absent from the Sea Coast this Winter; if any Command should be thought necessary on or near the Sea Coast I would beg the Favor of such Command; I hope to be at Camp by the End of this Week. as the Season has now arriv’d when if Nothing Special Prevents I Suppose your Excellency would choose the Troops Should be in winter Quarters, if therefore your Excellency will indulge my Brigade in taking their Quarters in or near this State I would beg your Orders for the Purpose. I am with Esteem & Respect yr Excellency’s Obedt Se<rvt>

Saml H. Parsons


1The enclosed intelligence report records a “Mrs Jarvis” as stating “That the Fleet fell down to Staten Island Sunday the 8th Inst.: the Hessians imbarkd the 5th with their Cannon & Baggage. some of the Officers applied to know whither they should take on Board their Clothing and were told to take both thick & other Clothing. the reputed Numbers in the fleet were 10,000. the Regt of Guards & 71st were left but twas said the 71st were to imbark. their Destination not known. the Commissaries of Forage have Orders to seise all Forage for the King’s Use; that large Quantities of wood are collected; that the Report in New York and which gains Beleif is that there’s to be a Garrison in New York this Winter which will leave it in the Spring if not reinforcd. Ld Cathcart’s Legion is on Long Island at Jericho, Robinson’s Regt at Hallet’s Cove: few Troops in the City The Merchants expose their Goods to Sale as Usual. she has not heard of any who are Shiping off their Goods.

“From the Bridge tis Said Emmerick’s Corps are Hutted for the Winter in the Side of the Hill by Vamiliar’s near the New Bridge. some Foreign Troops & some others on York Island near Kings Bridge; the Jaggers near Fred. Cortland’s; that the Queen’s Rangers are to be Station’d on Long Island” (DLC:GW).

One “Mr Cockran” reported that he “Left New York Tuesday the 10th Inst. was Boatswain of the Alfred when taken. Says a Fleet has saild for the West Indies consisting according to Report of about 10,000 or 15,000 Men that another Fleet has fallen down to the Hook consisting of About 4000 according to Report bound to St Augustine, that this Fleet had not saild the 10th Inst. That there remain but few Troops in New York. There remaind a Number of Shipping in New York, but their Yards & Topmasts struck & no Appearance of preparing for Sea; that the Reports are various about a Design to Leave New York this Winter; Three Vessels are taking in the Refugee Families and are bound to the Musquito Shore; there are Heads of Families & Children. Some of the New Recruits are bound to the Same place.

“On Advice receivd that the outward bound Fleet from Cork was taken by the French the Fleet in New York are put on Short Allowance & the Troops were to be put on the same Allowance when on Board” (DLC:GW).

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