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Tench Tilghman to William Duer



Head-Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 8, 1776.

DEAR SIR: Lord Stirling came on shore yesterday evening. As he was on board ship the whole time of his captivity, he can say very little of the situation or intentions of the enemy. He apprehends they are not so strong as they give out, as he often heard them mention the want of their reinforcement. He confirms the account of the bad blood between the English and Hessian troops. The latter plunder Whig and Tory indiscriminately and without punishment, while the former are under the severest restrictions. One of the prisoners that we took yesterday says the Hessians have wounded some of the British for only endeavouring to take part of the spoil with them.

By a letter from Mr˙ Derby, of Salem, we are informed that a brig belonging to Massachusetts had taken and brought in a transport with twenty of Sixteenth Regiment of Light Dragoons, with their horses, &c. This transport was one of twelve sail that have since arrived at New-York, each with the same number of men and horses. They had been embarked ever since the 27th June, and many of the horses perished on the passage for want. Three days before the fleet of twelve sailed, a fleet of about seventy left England, having the remainder of the Sixteenth Regiment of Dragoons on board, and the last division of foreigners, said to be about five thousand, none of which, my Lord Stirling says, are received.

Your State has undoubtedly been advised by Congress of their resolution to raise eighty-eight battalions on Continental pay, to serve during the war. His Excellency desires me to remind you of how much consequence the nomination of good officers will be in this reform of the army. As the Congress have left the appointment of all officers except Generals to the different States, his Excellency has wrote to most of them in the most pressing terms to be careful in their choice. The State of Connecticut has shown a very good example for procuring suitable persons either to be prepared or continued in command — they having desired the Commander-in-Chief, in conjunction with their own Generals, to make out a list, and transmit it them, of those officers who in their opinion have behaved best, and are most worthy of notice. His Excellency desires me to say further that he has ever avoided recommending officers to preferment, lest he should be taxed with partiality, but that he cannot pass by the merit of Lieutenant-Colonel Livingston, of Colonel Clinton' s regiment, he having upon every occasion exhibited proofs of his activity and zeal for the service. He therefore wishes he may not be overlooked in the preferments that must naturally take place upon the new establishment of your forces. I am just informed that your Convention have already wrote to General McDougall upon the subject of new commissions; which I am glad to hear.

I had proceeded thus far to be ready for your express when your favour of the 6th came to hand. I am glad that you go on apprehending the villains in the country above, and gladder to find that you have powers to establish a proper court for their trial. I mistook the matter before.

I am, dear sir, respectfully yours,


To William Duer, Esq.