George Washington Papers

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

From Major General Robert Howe

[Bergen County] 29th August 1780

Dear Sir

Very late last night the following intelligence was sent me that sir Henry Clinton was return’d from Long Island, that most if not all the British Regiments had cross’d over and had marchd by the way of Kings Bridge to York Island, that they passd over at Hell Gate Frogs Neck & some other places, and that it was very Confidently talk’d of that you wou’d be attack’d very shortly, that Flat Bottom’d Boats were Collecting & some of them already in the River, & that many other Steps taken seem to Confirm the Idea of our being Attack’d & that very soon. Tho this is not handed me by the most intelligent Agent, yet it comes from one Who does not deceive me unless he is himself Deceiv’d, & tho’ the designs of the Enemy can only be Guess’d at, yet the Bringing over the Troops from Long Island (if they have really done it) seems to indicate some movement I therefore hand you this information Just as I have recei[v]d it and am Dear sir with the Greatest Respect your Excellenc⟨y’s⟩ Most Obt Serv.

R. Howe


Howe also wrote GW from Col. Ebenezer Sproat’s tent on this date: “Since mine of this morning I have seen a Deserter Who Confirms very nearly the intelligence I sent your Excellency in my other letter, as to the Enemy’s crossing to york Island, and by a man who Come from East chester I learn also that they have cross’d and that Sir Harry Clinton left Long Island the 25th Instant & Went to New York these Circumstances tho trifling in themselves yet as they seem to Corroborate what went before I trouble you with them” (ALS, DLC:GW). For the response to Howe’s intelligence, see GW to Stirling, 30 Aug., and to Benedict Arnold, 2 Sept. (first letter); see also GW to Arnold, 7 Sept., found at Arnold to GW, 5 Sept., n.6.

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