George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General William Winds, 8 July 1778

From Brigadier General William Winds

Head Quarters Elizabeth Town [N.J.]
July 8. 1778

Dear General

I am happy in the present Oppertunity of Informing you from the Authority of a Gentleman of Veracity, Who left long Island the Night before last & New York Yesterday: from long Island he saw the Whole of the british fleet leave Middletown & Come into the Narrows, after Which they Divided Into three Divisions, one of Which Landed their troops on Staten Island, another on Long Island, the third at New York, he thinks the Divisions Nearly Equal & is well Assured the troops were all Landed last Night,1 he Asserts that Yesterday there was the Greatest Confusion Imaginable among the British troops at New York, the Occasion uncertain.

A flagg boat to & from Staten Island this Day Discovered a large new Encampment on the Hills Near the Watering place, which Alone would satisfie me that troops were lately landed there. Your Excellencys Most Obdt Humb. servt

Wm Winds


1British general Henry Clinton’s general orders for 5 July had directed: “The First & Second Brigades of British are to Encamp near the watering place, on Staten Island, but are not to land Until they Receive their Tents. The 16th & 17th Regiments of Dragoons & the Three Provincial Troops, the Guards, Flank Companies of 22nd & 43rd & Marines Queens Rangers & all the Hessian Corps are to be posted on New York Island, the Rest of the Army will be Station’d Near Utrecht on Long Island” (Brigade of Guards Orderly Book, DLC:GW; see also Kemble Papers description begins [Stephen Kemble]. The Kemble Papers. 2 vols. New York, 1884-85. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vols. 16–17. description ends , 1:603). Brig. Gen. James Pattison’s record of British movements reports the same locations but a different distribution of troops for the British landings of 6 July: “The 16th & 17 Regiments of Dragoons, the 3rd. and 4th Brigades of British Infantry & all the Provincial Corps, except the Queen’s Rangers, at New Utrecht, where the Infantry encamp’d, but the Regiment of Dragoons … proceeded to Jamaica.

“The 1st. & 2nd. Brigades of British Infantry desembark’d on Staten Island.

“The Brigade of Guards, Queen’s Rangers, Hessian Grenadiers & the Brigades of Sterne & Walworth, encamp’d on different Parts of N. York Island” (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 265; see also Scull, Montresor Journals description begins G. D. Scull, ed. The Montresor Journals. New York, 1882. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vol. 14. description ends , for another report of the British dispositions).

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