George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Robert Howe, 26 July 1780

From Major General Robert Howe

Highlands [N.Y.] 26th July 1780

Dear Sir

I inclose your Excellency the Feild Returns I have received1—I expect them all in to Day & they shall be forwarded to Morrow2—I recd your Favor demandg them the Day before yesterday,3 & instantly issued Orders thereupon—I have scarcely a moment to add that all you require shall be most faithfully performed.

The Enemy are certainly intending, at least did intend some Enterprize—The inclosed is an Extract from the Letter of a confidential Correspondent dated the 25th Inst:4—Mr Ezard who was Envoy for Congress at Berlin is now with me,5 & Col. Sears—they intend for Head Quarters to Morrow. About three thousand Arms came from Albany—one half without Bayonets6—Not so many Arms I am persuaded are missing, as you Sir imagine, tho’ too many are gone, I shall set about the Inquiry you wish7—the Order is out already, & every Measure shall be pursued—Be assured Dear Sir, few or none have gone off since I commanded, of which the Army can testify—Genl Poor will account for his to-Morrow. I am Dear Sir (in great Haste) but with all imaginable Respect Your Excellency’s most obedient Servant

R. Howe

P.s. I have directed the Recruits to be Distinguish’d in the Returns which will give them to your Excellency at one View[.] two Flags sent Down to carry Persons at the request of Governor Clinton have been detaind this ten days which plainly Indicates the Enemy have some operation they wish to Conceal.

LS, with postscript in Howe’s writing, DLC:GW. GW acknowledged receipt of this letter when he wrote Howe on 28 July.

1A field return for the 2d Connecticut Brigade (composed of the 1st, 2d, 5th, and 7th regiments) dated 25 July reported 548 recruits received and a total strength of 974 officers and men, with 302 rank and file fit for action and 452 recruits without muskets (DLC:GW). The other field returns enclosed by Howe have not been identified.

2For the transmission of additional field returns, see Howe to GW, 28 July.

4Howe enclosed an undated extract: “That three or four British and Hessian Regiments, Embarck’d last Friday at Philips’s, and fell immediately down to the Hook, and it is said went out to Sea with Admiral Graves, who its Reported is gone to Rhode Island with Eight Ships of the line, Six only of which he brought in with him.

“That a number of Troops have embarck’d at Frogs-Neck and Cross’d over to Long Island, but there numbers or Corps is not Mention’d, nor the time when they embarck’d. tis said they are going to the East end to bring off Cattle—The Yauger Horse and Foot are incampt on the Flat between Mr [Van] Cortlands House and Kings Bridge—The rest of the Enemy’s Troops in that Quarter are incampt with them, there left near Fort Independance, and there Right Extended towards there Redoubt No. 8—this was there position at High Meridian Yesterday” (DLC:GW).

5Congress had recalled Ralph Izard, envoy to Tuscany, and he had arrived in Rhode Island earlier in July with the French fleet (see Committee for Foreign Affairs to John Adams, 11 July, and James Lovell to Elbridge Gerry, 24 July, in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 15:423–24, 498–500; see also Royal Gazette [New York], 2 Aug.).

6GW asked for this report in his letter to Howe of 24 July.

7GW addressed this issue in his letter to Howe of 22 July.

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