George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Horatio Gates, 27 May 1778

From Major General Horatio Gates

Fish Kill [N.Y.] 27th May 1778.


General MacDougall has made me the inclosed Return of the Strength of the Enemy’s Army, in, and about New York; which I have the Honour, by this Conveyance, to transmit to Your Excellency.1 The General seems thoroughly Satisfied, that the Return is a true State of the Enemy’s Army in this Neighbourhood: After this, I have not the Smallest doubt, but Your Excellency will provide immediately, for the proper Security of the North River. I am now assured, my Supplies of provissions, will be Constant, and Ample. I was Yesterday honour’d with the Receipt of Your Excellency’s Letter of the 18th Instant, & have forwarded the packet to Colonel Ethan Allen, by a Safe hand. Colonel Wigglesworth will deliver Your Excellency a Message, the purport of which, it might be imprudent to write.2 I am, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Hume Servt

Horatio Gates

ALS, DLC:GW; ADfS, NHi: Gates Papers.

1The enclosed undated “State of the Enemy’s Strength in New York and it’s Dependencies” indicates a total of 6,303 enemy troops. As to the British regular regiments, 400 men of the 35th Regiment were stationed at “Brooklin Long Island,” 300 men of the 38th Regiment at “City New York,” 350 men of the 45th Regiment at Fort Washington, 200 men of the 52d Regiment and 400 men of the 57th Regiment at “York Island,” 90 men of the 59th Regiment at “New York,” and eight companies of the 71st Regiment, or 320 men, at Long Island, for a total of 2,060 British troops. Five Hessian regiments of 250 men each, or 1,250 men, were also supposed to be on “York Island,” and 100 “Anspachers” were on Staten Island.

The list also calculated a total of 2,893 Loyalists, or “New Levies,” divided as follows: “Trumbull’s York Volunteers,” 130 men, were at Paulus Hook, New Jersey. Brig. Gen. Oliver Delancey’s Brigade was distributed in three battalions: the 1st Battalion, 190 men under Delancey, at Kingsbridge; the 2d Battalion, 200 men under Col. George Brewerton, also at Kingsbridge; and the 3d Battalion, 120 men under Col. Gabriel Ludlow, “Near Hempstead Long Island.” Brig. Gen. Montfort Browne’s Brigade was in four battalions: 300 men of the 1st Battalion under Brown, 500 men of the 2d Battalion under Col. Edmund Fanning, 210 men of the 3d Battalion under Lt. Col. John Bayard, and 243 men under Col. Beverly Robinson, all “near Kingsbridge.” In addition, 1,000 men of the “New Corps under Genl [Cortland] Skinner” were at Staten Island.

McDougall wrote and signed this note at the bottom of the list: “The Strength of those Corps, I have Collected from Deserters, & friends to our Cause, who have come from Long Island, & New York. The Strong British Regiments, are reported to be as they are Stated by Officers of ours on Long Island. The Strength of Robinson’s Regiment is unquestionably what it is put down at; as I have examined Several Serjeants who have detailed the duty of it. The Force on Staten Island, is estimated less than it is Supposed to be, by those in its’ Vicinity; but I do not believe it exceeds, 1,100” (DLC:GW).

2The message has not been identified.

Index Entries