From Brigadier General Charles Scott
Near Bedford [N.Y.] October 6th 1778
I recd Your favor of Yesterdays date Late last night—I can hardly Suppose that the Fleet could possably have Saild without our Hearing of it. however every thing possable Shall Be immediatly don in order to know with Certainty whether that is the Case, particular attention Shall also be paid Respecting the disease.
Capt. Leavenworth who was expected on Sunday last, is not Yet Come.1 I am afraid he has ventured two fare and has fallen into the Hands of the Enemy. if he Should not be taken I make no doubt He will be able to give a Satisfactory Account of those Matters Your Excellency Mention, Respecting the Fleet &c. we have a report among the Better Sort of Inhabitance that there has been a Second inguagement Between the French & British Fleets at Sea—the latter Defeeted and lost Twenty one Sail. this Report is said to Come from Long Island and preety Generally believed. I hant had the Smallest hint of it From any Deserters, tho the Question has been particularly ast of all, as also with reguard to the Sailing of any Vessels. Inclosd Your Excellency will Receive a Memorandom of Accounts taken from Deserters.2 You Will observe they are from Different Corps and from Right to left of their Incampment, all of which nearly agree. I have Sent this day a Country man and One of my officers over the North River to the hites Opposit York Island there to Stay and watch the Motions of the enemy and inform me from time to Time of their movements. I am Your Excellencys Obt Servant
2. The enclosed “Memorandum of Intelligence from deserters” reads: “Octr 2nd[,] two Hessians—That ten thousand expected to embark for the West Indies—Transports wooded and water’d & in readiness to sail on the shortest notice.
“Octr 3rd[,] two of Emericks corps[.] They agree in the report of the Number of troops orderd for the West Indies—and add that the 10th 45th & 52nd Regiments were drafted to complete those orderd for embarkation.
“Octr 4th[,] Two of 28th Regt[.] Agree in every particular with the former, and report that they are certain from their own knowledge that the Hay from the Jerseys was stord on board Transports & none brought to York.
“4th Octr[,] Two from 49th Regt[.] Agree with those of the 28th and add that their Regiment had orders, and they believ’d the same were deliver’d to the other troops to march back from their post on Valentines hill for embarkation—This they give as the reason of their desertion—Although those orders were countermanded the same evening.
“The Stores of the Brigade with the baggage of their commanding Offr were put on board eight days before their desertion—That the Carpenters drafted from their Regt were dismiss’d—That they had left works on Laurel hill not near half finish’d—Their Quarter mastr and some others were call’d to York in a great hurry about the 22nd of Septr—They suppose to inspect the embarkation of the baggage. They farther say, that this design is not kept private, and that their Colo. a few days ago mention’d it to the Officers on the parade in hearing of all the Soldiers. That both the 28th & 49th Regts receiv’d drafts from the 10th 45th & 52nd—No expectation of Winter clothing, and that fascines were put on board many of the transports.
“Acct of a Young lad, a Tory taken at West Chester by Colo. Parker.
“At the late meeting, The Refugees were requested to embody themselves, chuse Officers, and go off with the Brittish Army, but they seem’d to have no inclination to do it—The tories are very uneasy about the departure of the Brittish troops and differ among themselves about the matter propos’d.
“Some say they will not be embody’d & that they will throw themselves on the mercy of their Country, whilst others are afraid and determin’d to go off with the Army—500 of the refugees met Colo. Robertson—His and Fannings Corps are gone to Rhode Island” (DLC:GW). For the meeting of the Loyalist refugees in New York on 22 Sept., see Scott to GW, 25 Sept., and note 5 to that document. Maj. Gen. James Grant’s West Indies expedition, which consisted of ten British regiments including the 28th and 49th regiments of foot, sailed from Sandy Hook on 3 November.