From Major General Stirling
Elizabeth Town [N.J.] Novr 17: 1778:
The fleet of Transports &c. which for some days past have been at the hook, Came up last Night to the Watering place within the Narrows and were at Anchor there this Morning. I cannot Account for this Manuver any other Way than Supposing the Grand fleet under Admiral Byron has Met with some disaster, and that they have received Accounts of Count de Estangs Sailg As some Evidence of the former, it is Certain that two Ships of the Line and one of 40. Guns dismasted Are Arrived at New York, two others whose Size I have not Yet learnt are also very much damaged; these with the Loss of the Somerset will take off Ad: Byrons very great Superiority.1 I have nothing to Add but that I am very Sincerely your Excellencys Most Humble Servant
ALS, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169.
1. One of the dismasted ships that arrived in New York was the Bedford of 74 guns (not the nonexistent Norfolk, contrary to some American reports), and the other was a ship of 64 guns; see 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 , 2:419, and 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 , 1:166.