George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Anthony Wayne, 21 July 1780

From Brigadier General Anthony Wayne

New Bridge [N.J.]
21st July 1780 9 OClock P.M.

Dear General,

being convinced that our field pieces were too light to make the wished Impression on the Block house by Bulls ferry, from an experience of more than an hour (at no greater Distance than from 50 to 70 Yards)—during which time both Officers & men evinced a Degree of bravery seldom equalled—but never excelled1—and seeing the Enemy in motion On york Island & their shipping under way—together with certain accounts of the Embarking a very large body of troops from Voluntines hill,2 it was unanimously Determined in a Council of War on the field to withdraw the Artillery & fall back by easy degrees to this place—to prevent the Disagreeable consequences of being shut up in Bergen Neck.3

we accordingly moved off after burning the flat’s & boats laying at the Landing & Driving the Cattle from that Country which was part of our plan.

our loss is from 50 to 60 killed & Wounded which we carried off without the least molestation. I will have the honor of transmitting your Excellency the particulars tomorrow.

I think it my duty to mention that the Enemy are in full motion on the North river, chief part of their troops Embarked4—as they have completed their foraging in East & West Chester—may not good policy Induce them to take post between the Liberty pole & this place in order to render that Essential article very Difficult for your Excellency to procure in case of a Siege.

I will shift my ground about two in the morning & fall back towards camp. Interim I am your Excellency’s most Obt Hume Sert

Anty Wayne

ALS, DLC:GW; ADf, in private hands. A note signed by Wayne on the cover reads: “⅌ Dragoon who is to pass.”

1Wayne was reporting on his attack on the Loyalist blockhouse at Bull’s Ferry, N.J. (see GW to Wayne, 20 July, and notes 1 and 3 to that document). For Wayne’s full report, see his letter to GW of 22 July.

2These movements were reported to Wayne by Capt. Zebulon Pike of the 4th Continental Dragoons (see Pike’s letter of this date, written at 9:00 A.M., in DLC:GW).

3Bergen Neck is the area of land between Bergen, N.J., and Bergen Point.

4This movement also was reported by Pike (see Pike’s second letter to Wayne of this date in DLC:GW). Wayne misinterpreted these movements as a response to his attack (see Wayne to GW, 22 July). The British were embarking some of the troops from their encampment near Philipse Manor and Valentine’s Hill, N.Y., for an attack on the French army at Newport (see GW’s second letter to Rochambeau, 27 July, n.3). On this date British officer Archibald Robertson wrote in his diary: “42d Regiment, 3 Battalions Hessian Grenadiers, and a Detachment of Yagers embark’d in Transports at Philipsburgh” (Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends , 235–36).

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