George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General John Sullivan, 10 September 1778

From Major General John Sullivan

Providence Septemr 10th 1778

Dear General

I can only Inform you at present that the Enemy have Left Bedford but are Still Hovering Round the Shore they have Burnt ten Dwelling Houses all the Stores & all the vessels but one in Bedford Sir Henry Clinton Left them at New London & Returned to New york in a Frigate Major General Gray Commands the Party which Consists of one Regt of Light Infantry & one of Granadiers of Six hundred men Each And two Brigades Consisting of Eight Regiments viz. the 15: 42, 33d: 64: 17: 37 46th & 44th a Searjent has Deserted from them with an orderly Book which gives this Information. Lord Howe with a Fleet of Seventeen Sail of the Line is Standing off & on before Newport Harbor—from the Declaration of the Inhabitants of Newport of a Number of prisoners Exchanged & from the Declarations of Gentlemen who have been on the Island as well as the Similar Declarations of a Number of Deserters the Enemy had between a Thousand & fifteen hundred killed & wounded in the Action of the 29th a Woman who Lived in the Hospital & is said to be a Woman of veracity Says She Saw the Returns of the Surgeon which Amounted to a Thousand & Sixty one1 it is agreed on all hands that Three hundred & twenty were killed & mortally wounded on the field. I beg your Excellency to Transmit a Copy of this Letter to Congress & believe me to be with the most profound Respect your Excellenceys most obedt Servt

Jno. Sullivan

ALS, DLC:GW. GW enclosed a copy of this with his first letter to Henry Laurens of 12 Sept., and it was subsequently published in newspapers by order of Congress (Pennsylvania Evening Post, 16 Sept., and others).

1The published version of this letter altered the preceding sentence to hide the sex of Sullivan’s informant. Whether the copy that GW sent to Congress was altered has not been determined.

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