From Brigadier General Charles Scott
Near Bedford [N.Y.] October 18th 1778.
9 OClock in the evening
I am informd by Mr Hutcherson a very good Man and pruty generally known by our officers who has been Prisoner on long Island he has made his escape from the Provost guard where he was confin’d as a Spie but with the Assistance of the officer of the guard has got off. that Cols. Fannings & Robertsons Corps who lay at the head of the fly Between Flushing and new Town Received orders last thirsday Evening to Strike their tents and march with all their Bagage on fryday morning for Brooklands ferry.1 the officer of the Guard who befrendid him in his escape, told him that they Wear to imbark at the ferry for the west indies. these orders Was brought by a Dragoon who he heard telling the officers that the troops wear imbarking in the North River and Sound as Fast as possable, and that Transports wear Sent to Staton Isld To take in the troops there—all the Vessels that wear refiting at white stone was orderd immedeatly to York, and that he saw them last night halled off in the Stream in order to sail the First fare wind. he thinks there are near one hundred of them this is the fleet that Carryed the troops to the eastward some time ago. he says they have been busey watering some time.
General Clinton has been trying to imbody the Refugees to Garrison New York, but to no effect. very fiew seems willing to undertake it. he heard a person by the Name of Kusam (who is a leading man among them) say that Genl Clinton thaught they wear ignorant enough to be caut in a Snare. But he was Mistaken. all the Stock that was brought from the east End of the Island has been Salted up and put on Board I this moment Recd Your favour of this days date the Matter Respecting the Comasary I am an intier Stranger to I recolect to have heard somthing of Colo. Butlers Confining a Sealman Yesterday for some insolent Message he sent the Colo. By his Servant. but as I was very busey I paid but little attention to it. but I think he was immediatly releeced again. I shall inquier into it in the Morning. particular attention Shall be paid to the farther Contents of Your letter. I am Your Excellencys Obt Servant
1. Col. Edmund Fanning’s Loyalist corps, the King’s American Regiment, had gone to Newport, R.I., the previous summer and remained there until June 1779. Col. Beverly Robinson’s Loyal American Regiment apparently was on Manhattan Island at this time (see Henry Lee to Scott, 30 Oct., in Scott to GW, 30 Oct., n.1). “The fly” is a corruption of the Dutch term “da vly,” which means “the swamps or marshes” (Adams, The Hudson description begins Arthur G. Adams. The Hudson: A Guidebook to the River. Albany, 1981. description ends , 261). The previous Thursday and Friday were respectively 15 and 16 October. Fanning (1739–1818), a native of Long Island, N.Y., who had graduated from Yale in 1757, had moved in 1759 to Orange County, N.C., where he became a militia officer, a lawyer and judge, an active land speculator, and a recorder of deeds. He drew the ire of the backwoods political protesters called Regulators because of the high registration fees that he charged. A close friend and political ally of Gov. William Tryon, Fanning commanded a wing of the provincial force under Tryon that defeated the Regulators at the Battle of Alamance in May 1771, and when Tryon became governor of New York later that year, Fanning accompanied him as his private secretary. He raised the King’s American Regiment in New York during the winter of 1776–77 and commanded it until it was disbanded in Canada in 1783. He served as lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia 1783–86 and governor of the Island of St. John (subsequently called Prince Edward Island) 1786–1804.