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March Day 32, In Camp at Philipsburg, July 18th

Camp scuttlebut, the lay of the land since our arrival here...

The weather is a wee bit oppressive in the Camp, these days. Please excuse this very tardy letter. The setting of camp has been an arduous task and just now we are starting to get some free time for ourselves. The Engineers are out, looking at possible roads, bridges and other potential, and suitable, camp grounds. We have some 9000 combined French and American Troops encamped about the Town of New York. Daily patrols have been set about in the countryside, probing the defenses of the British Forces here. Most of our advances have been well noticed, and blocked by our adversaries, in fact, most successfully so, to our chagrin.

We continue our camp duties, the cleaning of clothes, repair of the carriages, cleaning of the weapons, cleaning and policing of the camp area itself. MIlitary drill is the order of the day, with the lights being unusually trained in field manuvers.

The Artillary has arrived as well, but we notice only cannon, and no seige guns. What can that possibly mean? How do we conduct a seige without the seige guns? Cannon fires in a line, while the seige guns are designed to fire over obstacles (like Fort walls) rather than through them, as cannon try to do. Ah well, tis all in the hand of the Generals, I suspect......

A fortnight ago, shortly after our arrival, we learned that the entire French Army was in Camp at, or near, North Castle (Mt Kisco). This was accomplished by July 3rd. We are pleased that we are all here, with our brethren. We continue to stay with the advance Troops, and the American Liason contingent and the Count Rochambeau, at Odell Homestead.

On July 8th, General Washington reviewed the French Forces encamped near Philipsburg.

On that same day, we learned a bit later, the British Commander at New York, (and Commander in North America) General Clinton, concerned about the large, but not overwhelming French/American Army (9,000 French/American vs 14,000 British, according to reports), asked that General Cornwallis send some 3,000 of his troops to Philadelphia. We understand that General Cornwallis did, in response to this request, move some 3,000 of his troops toward Portsmouth, Virginia.

On the following day, July 9th, the French Officers were invited to observe as the American Army presented arms (a military salute). The co-operation between French and American Forces seems to be easy, with not much lamentation in the Camps. We understand that we will soon, perhaps, be moving together against the enemy, here in New York. The camp is alert to the prospect, and the training is serious. We have heard that the British have been able to wound, and kill, some of our advancing scout patrols. Tis' dangerous business, that. We can only wonder where the first advances shall be made, and by whom....... But we notice that reconnaissance parties are always coming and going, coming and going. The men are in a bit of a dither about the meaning of all this moving about.

Then again, word came, albeit slow, and more by rumor than official decree, that General Clinton had, on July 12th, asked that Cornwallis send his troops to New York. Methinks that perhaps that man is getting a bit of the case of the nerves, or some such....seems they outnumber us already.....

I trust that all is well there, and I look forward to when we can all be together again.......... As suggested a storm is brewing, but tis now a storm of rain, thunder and lighting. I must needs to get about the camp and help the men make sure all is well

Tis all for now, friends. Will write again when time allows....

I Remain,
At Your Service,
Richard Swartwout
Camp somewhere in New York
For, 'AMtY'