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1781, March Date, thursday, Sept. 7th, Day

Historic Overview

Greetings Friends........

I have but only a few moments to tell you of what we are. Tis been a gruelling week since last I wrote to you. We have passed some point that no longer considers an attack at New York Town. We moved into Pennsylvania the day after I last wrote to you, and have much intelligence, laced with rumor......hmmmm, perhaps it is rumor laced with intelligence, to share with you all. No matter, tis one thing seems to be the truth, we are marching on a southward track, no matter what our destination may be.

Our spy network has been abuzz with information, right or wrong, but these are some of the stories here in the Camps. Oh yes, the camps are rife with, story, adventure, danger, rumors and some small fact. It seems, if the information is correct, that the British Commander in New York, Gen. Clinton, has deduced that we are going to Yorktown. In fact, he has sent a missive to Corny, at Yorktown, telling him that we are heading toward him, but, that he should not worry as the British Fleet will be on hand shortly, to take him out of danger. Clinton is also sending some reinforcements as well, to buck-up the British spirit. Meanwhile, we march on........

On the 25th of August, or thereabouts, maybe later, de Barras left Newport, Rhode Island, and took the French Siege guns with him, heading for the Chesapeake. He also has ships loaded to the gunnels, we hear, with food stuffs. He had eight ships of the line, four frigates and six transports in his fleet. On that day we were in Pompton, New Jersey, marching on........

A fortnight or so ago, as previously reported to you, the British Admiral Hood, had gone to find the French fleet, and de Grasse, in the Chesapeake, but the French were not there. Hood then continued on to New York. That was about August 26th. The army was in Whippany, marching on.......

General Washington learned of this activity on the 27th, Aug. The army was at Liberty Corner, and marching southwards.... On the same day, Washington and Rochambeau learned that Adm. Hood ( a very rapid turn around indeed for the fleet, perhaops it was a day later)was now leaving New York with his fleet, and is acccmpanied by Admiral Graves and his small squadron of ships, as well...seems the sea pot may be stating to boil anytime now......we are still moving to the south....

On 28th August, we understand that Clinton learned of Adm. de Barras's departure from Newport, as well as the fact that the French/American Army was now passing toward Trenton......some of the dates are a bit mixed up in my mind and in the story telling in the camps, about the fires. I know the timing is close but perhaps not truly accurate, we could be hearing the stories as changed in the telling. Maybe the fleets are on the move a bit earlier than we know, or perhaps a day or so later....... however, we do know this, the fleets are on the move....as are we, going to the south......

The fleets continue to sail, the army continues to march, to what magnificient end, we know not.....

On August 30th, or thereabouts, we learn that Admiral de Grasse has finally anchored at the Chesapeake. He has some 28 ships at his command and is anchored in a line from Cape Henry, and extending across the mouth of the Chesapeake, at least that is the rumor. Oh joy, oh joy, the camp is alive with a spirit as yet unseen. The men are alive with eagerness, tis' hard to hold them in line, on the march, they are eager horses at the bit, seems to me.... the spirit is indeed racing trough the troops.....

On the 31st of August, much more activity is noticed in Officer Country, but it now seems that the rumors come into the camps shortly after the messages, and we can only hope, only wish, hopefully believe that what we we are hearing, is truth..... Gawd, the excitement of the moment is almost overwhelming, as we sit about the fires, scheming our battle plans, courting our courage, hoping for victory, to strike at those damned lobster backs, hard... also this day we know that Washington and Rochambeau have decided to go to Head-of-Elk, in Penns Colony. More news of the British, it seems that Cornwallis has sent a note to Clinton, informing him of the French fleet arrival in the Chesapeake. Gawd, would we just love to see the look on both of the bastards faces now!.......and we march on, southward....

The camp is being called to asssembly, will write again soonest as we are expecting to take a rest in Philadelphia, shortly, perhaps for a day or so........

I Remain,
At Your SErvice,
Richard Swartwout
Homestead Headquarters
For, 'AMtY'