Friday, October 21, 2011
"...the British Fleet now consists of between 150 & 200 Ships, those lately arrived are probably a Division of Hessian Troops from England & some others from Hallifax which are mentioned in the Papers."
By early August 1776, it was becoming apparent to American troops in New York City that the British were preparing for a massive attack on their defenses. As Jedediah Huntington notes in this letter of August 6, 1776, an increasing number of British transports and warships were gathering off the coast of Long Island. As Huntington correctly observed, recent arrivals included the first detachment of Hessian troops, as well as the Brigade of Foot Guards from London. These forces would not land until August 22nd, but once on shore, they made relatively short work of the American defenders. Huntington's letter, a complete transcript of which appears below, thus provides us with a final view of American-occupied New York. Our continuing thanks go out to the many David Library volunteers who are helping with this project.
Sol Feinstone Collection No. 585
Jedediah Huntington to Andrew Huntington, Camp at New York 6 August 1776
Transcribed by Andrew Dauphinee September 2011
Camp New York 6 Aug 1776~
The Phenix and Rose are still in the North River, we are sinking cheveau de Frise in the channel opposite our Fort near Kings Bridge to prevent their Passage down or any other going up if they should happen to Catch this Obstruction under the Mouths of our Cannon they may wish they had continued at Staten Island.
Fire ships are prepared & preparing to burn up the Fleet & done with them at once, but I have not so much Faith in the Success as some have, it depends I apprehend on too many Contingencies, however we will hope the best.
the British Fleet now consists of between 150 & 200 Ships, those lately arrived are probably a Division of Hessian Troops from England & some others from Hallifax which are mentioned in the Papers.
The new Levies are daily coming in from New England and from the Southern Colonies, I think it likely we are at least double the Number of our Enemies.
I think I would be willing to take 1/32d of a Privateer or 1/16 rather than not have one fitted out.
my love &C to all as is due & remain your affectionate Broer.
I have a Letter from John Trumbull at Ticonderoga, says they begin to be in a hopefull Way his Letter is dated 26 last Mo.”
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