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Captain Paine to General Heath



Tarry-Town, December 14th day, 1776.

DEAR SIR: As I think it my indispensable duty to let your Excellency know the situation that I and my company are in at present, and what has passed with us: On Wednesday last I dressed myself in disguise and went from Colland, below that place where I now am, and returned the same day. After I had rested one day, I marched with my company to this place, where I am scouting into every quarter, and hope to give a good account of them — of our enemy — soon.

I have this moment heard from the King' s Bridge, that the enemy keep a guard near Holland' s house, consisting of two or three hundred men; also there is about thirty Hessians at the foot on the hill, and there is no more of the enemy in all that quarter. If you think it best, I will engage them with only my small company; however, I am very certain that a reinforcement of two hundred men will wholly disquiet all the enemy on this side York-Island, which I think will be of the last importance to the poor distressed inhabitants of these parts.

Since the above intelligence, I have seen a man that tells me he has seen two deserters that run from the enemy last night; they say that they consist chiefly of Tories, and of those that was taken on Long-Island, that was lifted out of prison, and wish that we would come.

I shall wait for orders from your Excellency, on whose ability I depend; and am, sir, your most obedient and very humble servant,


To Major-General William Heath, near Hackingsack.