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1781, March Date, Thrusday, Sept. 28, Day 104

Ah, the Storm is A'gatherin'...........

Greetings Friends, Patriots all.....

Again, tis a tardy dispatch to you all. The lines of communication are getting longer, and the road grows more perilous the southward we go. Tis' been perhaps 10 days since our last dispatch to you.

I can report that all the troops are in good order, and humour, even if our shoes may have worn out. We find the leather to be tired, as are we. the exertion of a forced march beginning to be telling on the equipment. However, we travel as one mind, in pursuit of the prize, and that prize shall be Corny his'self.....

As I recall, I had sent a note saying that the Generals had left Mt. Vernon, on the 12th, and had arrived on the peninsula on the 15th, Sept. However, just a day before that, the Generals Washington and Rochambeau had arrived at Williamsburg and met up with Gen. Lafayette. Tis a good omen, we think........as they also learned that the British fleet had left the Chesapeake area, and that left Corny (British Gen. Cornwallis) on his own. tis perhaps but a large chess game, and we are the players, all.....

We also have heard that the French army that had marched overland, rather than embark at Head-of-Elk, were now meeting up with the rest of the troops at Annapolis. Some of those troops were delayed in moving more southward by the uncertain events of the French and British flee action off the Chesapeake. Well, tis mus be said, HUZZAH to the French fleet. Adm. de Grasse has carried the day and now the troops are starting to move from Annapolis, down to Williamsburg, via small boats supplied by the French. The ships are carrying both French and American soldiers to Williamsburg now, moving the entire army to the Virginias. That movement started on the 18th, Sept.

As it now stands, Corny is by himself and the British fleet has departed, leaving him no hope for rescue, at least not at the moment...

Also, on the 17th, it appears that both Washington, and Rochambeau met with Adm. de Grasse, aboard his flagship, the Ville de Paris. As best as we can tell, the good Admiral has yet to set his foot on land in North America. Seems he must be a tart of a salt that only trusts the sea under his foot, aye.....? But where would we be without that man and his fleet and his 3000 soldiers?

Ah, tis made the men happy a heart, for sure. The men in the camps are delighted to have a momentary rest, knowing that all is good in the world... the foods and siege guns have arrived here-abouts with the fleet of Adm. de Barris, and the Adm. de Grasse has run off the British Fleet. Now all we must needs to do is to keep to the southward and kick the bony arse of Corny........ah, the joy of it all. The talks about the campfires are animated, with joking, and playfulness....but under the eyes, there is steel.........

The Reville's continue to come early, and the army continues to march. We rest as we can, and try to spare the equipment, while all the while keeping it in good working order. Our minds are in Yorktown, our hearts are with our family and our feet are here, under us....... Tis, the drovers that must be at the job all of the day. They must kEep the caRriages in good order, and tend to the animals as well. Seems that they hardly rest at all, sometimes tis' easy just to be a marching soldier, with no responsibility but to put one foot in front of the other..... all day.

The dispatchers continue their feverish activity as I write this. They are coming and going, all day, all night. Tis a frightful pace it seems, all the coming and going, the trading for fresh horse, the men dashing about....the lamps and the fires low, the camps all a murmur....

We have heard that on the 21st, the last of the French troops left Annapolis, by ship. But many are still taking the overland route, we understand that some 1,500 horses, 800 men and some 220 or so wagons are on the overland trek.

We have just heard a report that Cornwallis tried to break out of the trap that seems to be encircling him and his Army....that happened on the 22nd, some 6 days ago. He tried to force the French Blockade, but failed. Perhaps we shall learn more of that manuveur, shortly, and I shall report as best I can.....we now nothing of that attempt but rumor.

And we are now hearing, just today, that the French and Ameican troops are dis-embarking from the ships, at Archer's Hope, at the mouth of College Creek, near Williamsburg. It has taken some two days for that to be accomplished. We think we must have some 16,000 troops all together now. Oh Corny, you will soon wish you were back in England and never heard of the Americas......!

As we all gather as much rumor, or truth, as we can, we are preparing to make a move against the British stronghold at the Village of York.

The good Generals Washington and Rochambeau have led us here, to the siege positions we now occupy. We have spent this day moving into seige position about the Town, and have had our first opportunity to see the defensive works, and the British forces there. The American Army is forming on the right, known as the position of honor. Tis been a long and arduos day, with much work, heavy work, having to be done. We are all tuckered but running on false energy it seems, with the excitement of the moment keeping our eyes open and out feet tapping. We now can see the forces all about and I shall endeavor, on the morow, to identify all the units that are assembled here. Tis very many I can tell you. Tis' the first time, perhaps since Saratoga, almost four years ago to the day, that we have seen overwhelming force on OUR side...... till the morrow.....soonest.

I Remain,
At Your Service,
Richard Swartwout
For AMtY
at Homestead Headquarters