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March Date, Thursday, August 10th, Day 55

Greetings Friends

It has been a fortnight or so since last I was able to write to you. My apologies for the long delay, but tis seems to be a symptom of the times. Mostly, it has been quiet here in the camps these last weeks.

As last I reported to you, the good Generals Washington and Rochambeau had, with their retinue, conducted an extensive reconnoiter of the environs about the Town of New York. It was a recconnaisance-in-force, conducted with the help of the Huzzar troops of Luzaun's Legion (Cavalry and dismounted troops and combined American-French Infantry). Now that the operation is complete perhaps I can give you a few more details of that. The reconnaisance was conducted in the Kingsbridge-Morrisania area. A small number of British outposts were taken, but tis all.

I can say it did give excitement to the encamped Armies, as we are just waiting about, really wanting to get on with it (kicking the Brits out of New York) However, the reports indicated that the French and American troops fell to pillaging, a bit. Added to that is the fact that this was but a reconnaisance force, not an Army thrust. The troops broke off, and returned to their respective camps, a bit wiser for the intelligence gathered, but not satisfied with the battle action (tis a soldiers plight, I suppose, to be dissappointed). All of that occured about July 21-23rd.

We also learned that Corny (the Brit Gen. Cornwallis) had moved his troops into Yorktown and Glouster, Virginia. Apparently, the Brits will be taking him off from there and back here to New York. At least, that is the conjecture here in the allied camps about New York. The Brits already outnumber us here in New York, and are so well entrenched that it appears, even from my small point of view, that they are im-movable. What to do if Corny returns here? We, here in the line, have not the slightest idea of what comes next.

The Engineer Corps, has submitted a report, by Duportail, to the Generals Washington and Rochambeau, of the British positions about the Island of Manhattan. According to the latest camp rumors, that report indicated that the allies (French/American) had insufficient strength to conduct a successful seige of the British about the Town of New York. This was on, or about July 27th.

On July 30th, we have heard, General Washington sent a note to Gen. Lafayette, suggesting that he thought that perhaps the allied force was incapable of a seige of New York. That piece of news has set the camps on its ear. What? We can't conduct a seige? What are we doing here? And certainly, how could we possibly conduct a seige without the seige guns? Why aren't they here? For days the camp has been in mild disbelief and incredulity.

We also heard that on Aug. 1st, Genral Washington, realizing the validity of the Duportail report, was now considering an operation in the south. This idea had been ventured by Rochambeau when they both met on July 19th, or so it has been reported in the camps, unofficially of course.

A couple of days ago, Gen. Washington received a note from General Lafayette, indicating that indeed, Corny had moved his troops into the small town of York, in the Virginias.

The Virginia's? Here we are in New York, some hundreds of miles from Virginia. I would think that perhaps the Generals Lafayette and Wayne can give some trouble to Corny as he tries to disembark his troops back to New York, but what are we, here, do to?

Will write again soonest....

I Remain,
At Your SErvice,
Richard Swartwout
Camped, New York
www.marchtoyorktown.org