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Letter from Captain Rodgers to the New-York Congress



Sloop Montgomery, Little Egg-Harbour, May 22, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: We yesterday put in here to wood and fill up our water, which are now about, and shall sail again tomorrow, wind and weather permitting. On the 5th instant we brought to a schooner, Captain Casey, from Saltatudas, bound for Rhode-Island, who informed me that on the 1st of May, in latitude thirty-six degrees thirty minutes, longitude seventy-one degrees, he saw eight sail of ships standing to the northward, but what they were he could not tell.

The 6th of May we were cruising off Montauk; we saw a sail in the offing, and gave chase; she stood from us; the day being thick and hazy, we came in about a league of her, when we discovered that, although she seemed to be running from us with topgallant-sails set, her courses were hauled up, and staysails all down; the weather clearing a little off, we saw she was a ship-of-war; we then gave over chase and hove to, as we were between her and the land. But no sooner than she saw that we gave over chase, she gave chase to us, and followed us round Montauk; we hauled close aboard of a reef that lies within Montauk; she then gave over chase, and stood out again. From a Block-Island fishing-boat that I spoke, I was informed that there was a ship of twenty-eight guns, and a brig of fourteen guns, cruising off there; that they had been on shore on the Island and filled water, about the 20th or 21st of April. We have not been into any of the inlets on the back of Long-Island; but we sounded one with the boat, and found thirteen feet water over the bar at about half ebb. The 18th we were off Sandy-Hook; saw but two ships in the bay; they did not send anything out after us, which we expected they would. I expected to find the schooner Putnam on this coast, but have not seen or heard anything of her; we have not seen a sail of any kind since we left cruising off Montauk but the ships we saw in at Sandy-Hook. When we go out again, expect to cruise towards Cape-May. Our ship' s company are all well and hearty. I remain, &c˙,


Captain of the armed sloop Montgomery.

To the Provincial Congress of the City of New-York.