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Letter from General William Maxwell to Governour Livingston



Ticonderoga, October 20, 1776.

SIR: I heartily congratulate you on the honourable promotion you have had, viz: to be the first Governour of the free State of New-Jersey. As it is a plant you have had a great share in raising and pruning, I wish you sincerely a long and happy enjoyment of the fruits of your labour.

I will try to give you some account of our affairs here at present, in a private way. You must have heard that a few days ago we had a fine fleet and tolerably good army, but General Arnold, our evil genius to the north, has, with a good deal of industry, got us clear of all our fine fleet, only five of the most indifferent of them, one row-galley excepted; and he has managed his point so well with the old man, the General, that he has got his thanks for his good services. Our fleet, by all impartial accounts, was much the strongest; but he suffered himself to be surrounded between an island and the main land, where the enemy landed their men on both places, and annoyed our men from both places more than from their vessels; but still our people repelled them with ease the first afternoon. In the night he gave orders to every vessel to make the best of their way, by which they became an easy prey, beat by one, twos, and threes, and ran them on shore, or destroyed them all; but one row-galley fell into their hands. This was a pretty piece of admiralship, after going to their doors almost, and bantering them for two months or more, contrary to the opinion of all the army. Had we our fleet here, we would give ourselves but little concern about the enemy.

If they do come and attack us, as is generally thought, we have no more opinion of his abilities by land than water. I am something of opinion they will not come, but be contented for this time, as they have done more than they had any reason to expect.

I am, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,