Head quarters, Highlands March 5th 1782.
A person from Morrissania acquainted me yesterday morning, that he was informed by an officer, about ten or twelve days since, that a council of war was then sitting—that the question under consideration was, whether to evacuate New York or Charlestown.
Captain Pray, who is continued in the guard-boats, to observe the motions of the enemy and collect intelligence, has just written me, that he was yesterday on the east side of the river towards Philips’s, where he was credibly informed, that the enemy begun last Saturday to cut a canal from the North to the East river—that the canal is to be sixty feet deep and five rods wide—It is about two miles out of the city—Two thousand men were at work, three hundred of which were inhabitants of the city—the same number they were to furnish daily: That a fleet of light transports sailed from New York some days since, said for Charlestown to bring the troops from that place. Perhaps your Excellency may have received the same, or more particular intelligence; but I thought it my duty to communicate this by the first conveyance. I have the honor to be With the highest respect Your Excellency’s Most obedient servant
P.S. I have lately reported no occurrences to Congress presuming your Excellency will communicate to them such of those I report to you, as you think proper.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.