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Letter from Francis Lewis to Mrs. Gates



Philadelphia, August 27, 1776.

DEAR MADAM: I was yesterday honoured with your letter dated the 20th instant, and happy to find you enjoyed your health.

Your son, after a few days' stay in this city, went to Princetown, where he is at present, and in as perfect health as ever he enjoyed. I conversed with Dr˙ Witherspoon yesterday, who informed me that your son applied closely to his books, and highly extolled his abilities; this he spoke sincerely, and without flattery. As I purpose in a few days going to Elizabeth Town, shall have the pleasure of seeing Bob, and, at my return, shall advise you.

I can assure you that General Gates and the Army under his command at Ticonderoga are well and in high spirits. We have frequent advices from that quarter through the medium of General Washington. There is little expectation of seeing enemies upon the Lakes this summer, whatever may happen the next. General Gates commands at Ticonderoga. General Schuyler is treating with the Indians at the German Flats. They will always be on separate commands. But we are in pain for New York. I fear that city is devoted to destruction. Lord and General Howe, Cornwallis, Clinton, and Dunmore, upon Staten Island, with about twenty-six thousand troops, of which they landed eight or nine thousand last Friday, and, by what we can learn, intend in a day or two attacking New York. I feel for the distress of my family, who are still at White Stone, except Morgan, who, the next day after his return home, set off for Ticonderoga. His mother could not restrain him. We have about twenty thousand troops (say Militia) lining the coast of East Jersey from Powles Hook to Amboy, and upwards of thirty thousand on York and Long Island. The fate of this campaign a few days must determine.

I have not time at present to say more than that I am, and ever shall be, dear Madam, your sincere friend and very humble servant,

P˙ S˙ It is said that General Carleton has drawn off the major part of his Army from the neighbourhood of the Lakes, and are filed off for Quebeck; from which it is conjectured they are to be brought round to reinforce General Howe, as General Burgoyne cannot penetrate the upper country by the Lakes.