George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Robert Howe, 29 July 1780

From Major General Robert Howe

Fish Kill [N.Y.] 29th July 1780

Dear Sir

I have just received the Intelligence which the following Extracts both dated the 28th Instant will give your Excellency—“A British Fleet is now in the Sound—The Fleet consists of fifty Sail of Transports, & has on Board eight thousand Land Forces—they are bound for Rhode Island—They are just come to an Anchor off Huntington Bay—it is said they have left above five thousand Troops in New York”1—The other Emissary says—“Eight Thousand Troops are embarked & are under Sail for Rhode Island—Three Troops of Horse are on Board—from what Corps I can not say—Some Troops of Militia Horse with the Queen’s Rangers have march’d Eastward to South Hold—They exact their Provisions of the Inhabitants, several of which have been kill’d; & make dreadful Work2—The Fleet consists of fifty Sail, thirty of which are square rigg’d, & many of them large; They are at Anchor off Huntington Bay.”

This Sir is what my Spies tell me—they are good ones & may be depended on—& I transmit their Informations by Express.

I am now with the Baron settling every necessary Matter, & have been with the Quarter Master—The most rapid Measures are taking to move downwards, & not a Moment shall be lost3—Your Excellency shall hear from me more fully—I do not now wish to detain the Express. I am Dear Sir with the greatest Respect your Excellency’s most obedient

Robt Howe


1For this British operation and GW’s response, see GW to Rochambeau, 27 July (second letter), n.3.

2For the patrol of the Queen’s Rangers on Long Island, see Samuel Holden Parsons to GW, 27 July, n.4.

3For the orders for this movement, see GW to Howe, 27 July.

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