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Letter from General Washington to General Heath



Head Quarters, New York, August 23, 1776.

SIR: Yesterday morning the enemy landed at Gravesend Bay, upon Long Island, from the best information I can obtain, to the number of about eight thousand. Colonel Hand retreated before them, burning, as he came along, several parcels of wheat, and such other matters as he judged would fall into the enemy' s hands. Our first accounts were, that they intended, by a forced march, to surprise General Sullivan' s (who commands during the illness of General Greene) lines; whereupon I immediately reinforced that post with six regiments. But they halted last night at Flatbush. If they should attack General Sullivan this day, and should show no disposition to attack me likewise, at the making of the next flood, I shall send such reinforcements to Long Island as I may judge expedient, not choosing to weaken this post too much, before I am certain that the enemy are not making a feint upon Long Island, to draw our force to that quarter, when their real design may perhaps be upon this.

I am, sir, your most obedient servant,

To the Hon˙ Major-General Heath, at Ring' s Bridge.

P˙ S˙ The flood tide will begin to make about eleven o' clock, at which time, if the detachment ordered yesterday were to move to the high and open grounds about Mr˙ O˙ De Lancey' s and Bloomingdale, they would be ready to come forward, or return back, as occasion should require; it will give them a little exercise, and show them wherein they are wanting in any matter.