From James Caldwell
Springfield [N.J.] July 23. 1778.
The Comy General having requested me to convey to the Count D’Estaing Your Excellencys present, I hurried the Cattle down & got them on board in time. For fear of some delay I went down myself and the Count in politest terms desired me to return his thanks to your Excellency for the seasonable Present, and told me that as he had a supply of sheep & Poultry in another way, he woud not have those sent on Board directd by your excellency, till I shoud receive further orders from him. The next morning, Yesterday, the fleet got under way.
By faithful men from New York, I am informed the Transports are watering, & the common report is that they woud get home if they could, The inhabitants suffer for Provetions & only hope for relief by a superior fleet from England. Officers openly curse the Ministry, & the noise increases.
The report at the Hook is that part of your Army is to return & the Troops from the fleet to land & join them—That the fleet sail out for a blind & decoy. Howe will probably be perplexed—Although he well knows that large ships cannot come in to disturb him, & he has nothing to fear from small ones. With kindest wishes & all due respect, Your Excellencys most obedt and very huml. sert