George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Major General John Sullivan, 23 August 1776

From Major General John Sullivan

Long-Island Augt 23d 1776.

Dr Genll

This Afternoon the Enemy formed & attempted to pass the Road by Bedford a smart fire between them and the Rifle Men ensued, the Officer sent off for a Reinforcement which I ordered down Immediately, a number of Musketry came up to the Assistance of the Rifle Men whose fire with that of our field peices caused a Retreat of the Enemy our Men followed them to the House of Judge Lefferds, where a number of them had taken Lodgings drove them out and Burnt the House and a number of other Buildings Contiguous, they think they kill’d a number & as Evidence of it they produce three Officers Hangers a Carbine & one Dead Body with a considerable Sum of Money in Pocket, I have ordered a party out for Prisoners to night— we have driven them half a Mile from their former Station, these things argue well for Us and I hope are so many preludes to a General Victory.1 Dr Genl I am wt. much Esteem Yr Very Huml. Servt

Jno: Sullivan

Copy, in Samuel Blachley Webb’s writing, enclosed in GW to Hancock, 24 Aug. 1776, DNA:PCC, item 152; LB, MHi: Sullivan Papers; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169. The text of Webb’s copy is fuller than the LB and apparently closer to the text of the letter that GW received and read.

1For other accounts of this day’s skirmishing about the village of Flatbush, see Extract of a Letter from New York, 24 Aug., in Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 1:1144; Sabine, Fitch’s New-York Diary description begins W. H. W. Sabine, ed. The New-York Diary of Lieutenant Jabez Fitch of the 17th (Connecticut) Regiment from August 22, 1776 to December 15, 1777. New York, 1954. description ends , 26–27; James Chambers to his wife, 3 Sept. 1776, in Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 2d ser., 10:306–8; and the diary of a Hessian officer in Lowell, Hessians description begins Edward J. Lowell. The Hessians and the Other German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War. 1884. Reprint. Williamstown, Mass., 1970. description ends , 60–61. The road running north from Flatbush to Bedford went through one of the four strategically important passes in the Heights of Guana, beyond which lay the American line of forts and parapets that defended Brooklyn. The houses that the Americans burned in Flatbush belonged to Leffert Lefferts, Jeremiah Vanderbilt, and Evert Hegeman.

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