Samuel Culper, Jr., to John Bolton
10 [New York]. July 29, 1779.
Since my last1 the number of the Enemy within these lines have not been augmented by any arrivals. The Romelus, Daphne & Deleware did not sail as I advised you, owing, I believe, to the unexpected account of your taking the Garrison at Stony point The account was truly alarming to the Torys—However, like true Philosophers, they soon resonated themselves to it by saying that it wou’d tend to their advantage in the end, as it wou’d tend to rouse the Brittish Troops, which in their opinion is all that’s wanted to put a final end to the War. General Clinton, I am told, was much alarmed. He left New-Yk the next evening attended with all the Horse (himself mounted on the lowest & meanest amongst them) which was then in Town, and it is said, declared that he wou’d make W. pay for it.2
The Greyhound Frigate, with Lord Cornwallis, General Patterson late adjt Genl of the Army, & Col: Stewart son of Lord Bute, arrived the 21st Inst3 nothing can be collected, more than from News papers, as no private letters came by her. It is generally believed by the Torys that the Fleet (said to have on board 5000 Troops for N. Yk, & 2000 for Carolina) sailed before the Greyhound4 The most inteligent of the Torys expect a Spanish War, and affect to wish it, as they suppose that England has at this time a Fleet much superior to the united Fleets of France & Spain.
The Le Blond Frigate arrived on Monday last from Penobscot with Dispatches, in consequence of which (it is said) Sir Geo: Collier with the Raisonable sails to-morrow; I cannot learn whither any other Ship goes with him.5 The movements of the Troops in consequence of the taking of Stony point, has prevented my obtaining an account of their situation—The 54th Rigt marched in town from the Bridge on monday last.6 A number of Transports are order’d to be ready to take on board Troops, said to be the 54th Regt, Queens Rangers & Lord Rawdons Corps, and to be commanded by Lord Cornwallis—it is said by some of the officers that they are intended for Carolina—This is also the general opinion. I believe they are bound to the southward, as I heard a Pilot, belonging to Cape Fear No. Carolina, say that he expected to go with them.
General Vaughan is positively going home,7 and some say Genl Clinton.
It is positively said that preperation are making to Fortify Governors Island, the Narrows at Stratton [Staten] Island, the Gorge at Fort Knyphausen,8 to repair the Fortifications at Paulus Hook, & the Battery at New-York; all of which places are to be put in the best state of defense.
The times now are extreamly difficult, guard boats are kept out every night in the North & East Rivers to prevent any boats9 from passing, & I am inform’d that some persons have been searched on Long-Island; therefore, whenever you think that my intiligence is of no service, beg you will notify me, ’till which time I will continue as usual. Privateering flag very much. I have recd your Dictionary, and will be glad to have the stain as soon as possible,10 when shall endeavour to find some shorter route to forward my Letters. I am, sir, Your Hbl. Servant.
Samuel Culper, Junior
ALS, DLC:GW. GW enclosed an extract (not identified) from this letter in his letter to John Jay of 2 Aug. (DLC:GW). John Bolton was an alias for Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge. An undated notation beneath the signature, in the writing of Abraham Woodhull, reads: “on the 7th August 40 [post rider] is orderd here again.”
2. British officer Archibald Robertson’s diary entry for 16 July reads: “This morning Major Benson Arrived at York with an account of the Rebels having taken Stoney Point at 12 o’clock last night. …
“This Evening I left York with The Commander in chief and got to Philips’s about 1 morning 17th” (Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries, description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends 199).
3. For the departure of the Greyhound on 4 June and its arrival at New York City with Lt. Gen. Charles Cornwallis, Brig. Gen. James Paterson, and Lt. Col. Charles Stuart, see William Heath to GW, 28 July, and n.4 to that document; see also GW to John Taylor, 27 July.
4. Robert Townsend probably refers to a naval squadron that sailed from Portsmouth on 1 May and arrived at New York in late August, bringing 3,800 troops (see 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 17:72, 124, and Willcox, American Rebellion, description begins William B. Willcox, ed. The American Rebellion: Sir Henry Clinton’s Narrative of His Campaigns, 1775–1782, with an Appendix of Original Documents. New Haven, 1954. description ends 126, 138, 140; see also GW to John Jay, 24-27 Aug., and Robert Howe to GW, 27 Aug. [both DNA:PCC, item 152]).
5. The entry for the previous Monday, 26 July, in the diary of a British officer stationed in New York City in part reads: “The Blonde, Man of War arrived from Halifax in 12 days & brought advice of General Maclean having landed & taken post at Penobscot, in Maquebigusduce River” (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 431). Commodore George Collier sailed with a squadron of warships on 3 Aug. that successfully relieved pressure on Fort George in Penobscot Bay from an expedition organized in Massachusetts (see 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 432; William Heath to GW, 28 July, and n.6 to that document; GW to the Massachusetts Council, 3 and 4 Aug. [M-Ar]).
6. A British officer stationed in New York City noted in his diary entry for this date, 26 July: “The 54th Regiment of Foot march’d into New York to reinforce the Garrison” (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 431).
7. Maj. Gen. John Vaughan departed for England on 24 Aug. (see Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries, description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends 202).
8. Fort Knyphausen was the British name for Fort Washington.
9. At this place on his manuscript, Culper, Jr., first wrote “person.” He then struck out that word and wrote “boats” instead.
10. For Tallmadge’s “Dictionary,” a code book for use of the Culper spies, see Tallmadge to GW, 25 July, and n.2 to that document. Townsend acknowledged receipt of the invisible ink, which employed a stain, in a letter from Culper, Jr., to Bolton, 6 Aug. (DLC:GW; see also GW to Tallmadge, 25 July, and n.2 to that document).