To James Duane1
[West Point] Aug 28th. 1779.
I with pleasure snatch a moment agreeable to your request to inform you of the events which have taken place since you left us. A York paper of the 24th announces the arrival of the Russell of 74, which parted three days before from Arbuthnot’s fleet, which was of course momently expected. Subsequent intelligence gives us the arrival of the whole fleet. This comes through different channels, & is believed;2 but we have no particulars. Wayne is still safe.3
Northern news says that Sir George Collier having appeared in Penobscot River put our grand fleet to the rout.4 They were run ashore, abandonned, & burnt—the troops and seamen safe. Col Jackson’s Regiment,5 which had been sent as a reinforcement, landed at Portsmouth. This account comes in a letter from Genl Gates to Col. Hay.6 To counterbalance the bad in a degree, he tells me three of our Continental frigates were arrived at Boston with six sail out of ten of the Jamaica fleet which had fallen into their hands, containing 5000 Hhds of Rum & sugar.
I have the honor to be, Very faithfully & Affecty Yr most Obedt. Servt.
Hon Mr Duane
JCH Transcripts description begins John C. Hamilton Transcripts. These transcripts are owned by Mr. William H. Swan, Hampton Bays, New York, and have been placed on loan in the Columbia University Libraries. description ends ; ALS, Lloyd W. Smith Collection, Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, New Jersey.
1. Duane was a delegate to the Continental Congress from New York.
2. The British fleet arrived at New York on August 25, 1779.
3. On September 10, 1779, Duane wrote to H: “You say Wayne is still safe: let him keep a sharp look out, for I still hold the opinion that Sir Henry Clinton is bound in honour to chastise him [for his attack on Stony Point].”
4. On July 28, 1779, an expedition organized by the state of Massachusetts and consisting of more than forty vessels, attacked the British post at Castine, Maine, on Penobscot Bay. The attack failed, and the American forces were subsequently dispersed by British warships commanded by Collier.
5. Henry Jackson, colonel of one of the Sixteen Additional Regiments, who had been sent by Gates to aid the expedition.
6. Lieutenant Colonel Udny Hay, deputy quartermaster general.