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William Smith to General Howe



New-York, February 11, 1776.

As I have not a doubt of my last letters to Administration, convincing them that this city and Province is the only spot in America for carrying on the war with effect against the Rebels, and that, in consequence, the forces expected this Spring, as well as those now under your command, will be ordered hither; it may be necessary and advisable to send the army through the Sound, between Connecticut and Long-Island. Of the latter, it will be proper to give a description: it is one hundred and thirty miles long, is very fertile, abounding in wheat and every other kind of corn, innumerable black cattle, sheep, hogs, &c˙; is very populous, and Suffolk County in particular, as well as the other parts of it, all good and loyal subjects, of which they have lately given proof, and only wait to be assisted by the King' s troops. The Island has a plain on it at least twenty-four miles long, which has a fertile country about it, is twenty miles distant from the city of New-York; Connecticut opposite to it; New-Jersey about thirty miles distant; Philadelphia one hundred and ten, Maryland one hundred and thirty, Rhode-Island one hundred and fifty miles; so that, in this fertile Island, the army can subsist without any succour from England or Ireland; and, from their encampment on the above plain, they can, in five or six days, invade and reduce any of the above Colonies at pleasure. Add to these great advantages, that the possession of the Narrows and Nutten-Island, would be the destruction of this city; but of this I think there would be no need, for all the principal inhabitants are, at heart, with the Crown, particularly all my brethren, the members of the Council, and most of the Assembly; but as the mob now commands, prudence forbids them to declare without a military force. You have many persons with you who are well acquainted with the navigation of the Sound. The spot which I advise you to land at is Cow-Bay.