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March Date, Saturday, Sept. 9, Day 85

Homestead Headquarters, Historic Overview

Greetings Friends......

Please excuse the tardy posts. I am trying my best to gather all the information that I can, from about the camps, and the fires, and to pass them along to you. It has been a trial, trying to put all of this in proper order, not only for you, but for ourselves. The stories are circulating like wildfire here, the evening fires are full of story and rumor, fact and perhaps not fact.....some wishful thinking perhaps has also been making a mark.

Tis hard, with the communications and messages going to and fro with much alacrity, to try to keep sense and order of it all. I can tell you that the last week has just been so fitful, and surprising, that I can barely contain myself. Let me put to paper all that I know, or have at least heard about the camps and the fires, thus...... I trust that these missives are actually getting to you all.

There is some concern that maybe you have not received all that has been disclosed, but the communication often takes so long. It all depends on the riders, and the sloops of sea, and of the stragglers in the camps, and of the reports from the spies. Indeed, we have spies, as does the enemy. You may recall Nathan Hale, the poor lad executed so severely, and quickly, by the British in New York. You may also recall that we did the same to Major Andre, just a year ago now, when we found him in league with Arnold, that bloody treacherous bastard....

I think, when last I wrote, (I have but only time to write one of these missives at a time, without the luxury of making a copy, so my poor memory will have to suffice, for the moment), that we were approaching Philadelphia.....it was about to be September, if memory serves correctly, the last I wrote was the last of August, just a day after my birthday..... I was able to celebrate that occasion, with the help of my tent mates, who managed to get a double, maybe triple rum ration, that day....my spirit still trembles at the memory of the morning following..... but we were able to keep walking, and the foul weather gave me a reprieve, of sorts......so, let me continue, enough of my life, tis the coming events that are so fretful....

We had learned that the French Admiral de Barras had left Newport, with the siege guns and much food and provisions, on Aug. 31 or there abouts, headed for the Chesapeake, or so it is reported.....and about the same time, the British Admiral Hood left New York to try to perhaps cause some havoc, and mischief, among the French, either in the Atlantic, or at Chesapeake. The players in this game or more than I can fathom, almost.

The army was at Trenton at that time, very close to Philadelphia, and still progressing southwards......

About the 2nd of September, we learned that the Americans passed through Philadelphia, but not without some theatre, and major upheaval. The Americans soldiers, it seems, were very distressed about the lack of pay and made it known, apparently, in no uncertain terms. The details that have come to this camp are fleeting and without color, at best. We are aware, of course, that the American currency is useles, at the momnent... all paper, no back-up, no value... even the merchants would rather sell to the British, to get the Sterling rather than the American paper. But, the rumor is that Robert Morris, Superintendent of Finances for the Continental Congress, was able to convince Gen. Rochambeau to 'lend' to the Congress so that the Soldiers might be paid. We saw much activity in Officer's Country that day, tis must have been what it was all about. We gather that the agreement must have been made, the rumor saying that Rochambeau advanced the Americans some $20,000, to pay the troops. I guess the troops were then satisfied as the Americans then continued on.

We have also learned that on, September 5th, (tis when we got the word, so, it probably happened a couple of days before, maybe on the 2nd) or there abouts, the French Admiral de Grasse disembarked some 4,800 troops from his fleet, into the Virginias, under the command of the French General Saint-Simon....these troops, we are led to believe, (or so the rumor goes) will be with Gen. Lafayette, and General Wayne...thank Gawd for the French, what would we be about, without their help? Still sitting in New York, I suppose, counting the British heads about that Town.

We have also learned that the additional French troops are thus...... about 1,800 infantry that are the normal complement of the infantry provided to help defend the ships, or de Grasses own, also....the Regiment d"Agenais, with two regimetns under the Comte d'Autichamp... the Regiment de Dillon of mostly Irish volunteers, under Count Arthur Dillon....the Regiment de Gatinais under Marquis de Rostaing.......the Regiment de Touraine under Vicomte de Pondeux....and finally, two companies of the Regiment d'artillarie de Metz...we understand that Saint-simon has placed his command under General Lafayette, temporarily....

....ah, just a moment.....another rumor has made it's way to my tent, via my tent mates.... bless these lads for the rum and the news. Clinton, in New York, is now sure that we are marching to the Virginias, and has sent a missive to Corny, indicating that fact... I may have told you this earlier.

Our own line of march passed through Philadelpis on Sept 3rd and 4th. We are with the French, you see, just a very small detachment of Light Infantry, being used as guides and messengers. Tis how it is that I am able to relay to you what we think, or see, or hear, what is about. We act as a go between for Washington and Rochambeau..... of course we seem to only find all of this information some days after it occurs....we are are not privy to the inner council.

In any event, the French, in two divisions, marched through Philadelphia on the 3rd and 4th, in crisp Uniform and Style. Much more resplendent than the Americans, and just as determined.

Hmmmm, just a day later, on the 5th, or there about, it seems (how can all of this be going on, almost at the same time, tis hard to fathom of to even keep straight in our minds), the army reached Chester. Washington and Rochambeau received news that day that the British fleet had not encountered de Grasse, and had gone on to New York. Tis made the Generals very happy ...as well as the entire army, indeed!

It now being Sept. 9th, we have also heard that Hood had returned, from New York, to the Chesapeake, immediatley, to engage de Grasse. For once, in all history of the sea, it seems that the French Navy was equal to the task. I must say, we had not much faith in the French Navy being able to fight with the British, tis had not done so with much success in the past. But this day, the Sun and the Gods must be smiling upon us. The French, outnumbering the British, have inflicted damge on the British fleet, and sent them back to New York..... the rumors say this happened on the 5th Sept. The battle, apparently, took place off the Chesapeake Capes.......and, with the good luck continuing, the fleet of de Barras was not involved and seems safe, yet....ah, the guns and the food, still on the way...

General Wasington reached Head of Elk, on the 6th, we are told, he being a bit ahead of the army. We now hear that Washington, and Rochambeau, a day behind Wshington, have left camps and are going to Mt. Vernon. We are told that Washington has not been home in some seven years, or since he took comand of the Army, in 1775, at Cambridge........tis seems so long, long ago.....bless the man, bless them both....

........another alarm in the camp, tis a moment, I beg...

Oh, Gawd-damm it, gawd-damn it......tis that bastard Arnold. Was I not just mentioning his name but a few moments ago? Tis must be a curse to speak his name as he seems to appear whenever tis done... it seems, just a few days ago, the bloody bastard turncoat was in charge of a small British fleet off the Connecticut Coast. In fact, he sailed into his old hometown of the Port of New London....the reports are not clear, and so emotional, that the entire army is in uproar....we cannot believe what we have heard, we refuse to believe what we have heard, it just can't be true.......the story is thus.......the British were hard pressed to stamp out was was thought to be a piracy network in New London, probaly American privateers hoping to do their duty, and make a profit. Well, Arnold has burned the Town of New London to the ground......to the gawd-damn ground, every building in the Town...... to the ground.

But that pales to the extreme when I tell you the rest....gawd-damn it.. Across from New London, in the Town of Groton, is the local militia Fort Griswold. Of course, the Militia had been called out when the fleet was noticed in the morning... as New London was burning, a futile defense was attemped, but being vastly outnumbered the militia quickly moved across the river to the safety of the Fort. The British force, overwhelming in numbers, turned its attention to the Fort, and asked the Commander, Ledyard, to surrender. He refused........and a day of black infamy insued, for both the Americans and the British. I can barely control myself, the bastards.....

A battle, of course, with the British forcing the Fort. The defense was galant, if under-manned. A third or more of the Militia were wounded in the conflict, and finally the Fort was surrendered. As Ledyard turned his sword to his British commander counterpart, the man took the sword and ran it through the heart and soul of Ledyard, killing him on the spot. The British troops then bayonetted the remaining wounded, killing almost all of them, others were captured and probably taken to the infamous Prison ships in New York. Tis hard to believe that the British would be so cruel....tis not a day that the British will remember with honor, but t'will be a day that we will remember, forever... forever.......

We can only wait, and pray, for the chance to do the same.....beware Corny, we are coming after your ass and you better put on a steel coat......as for you, Arnold, tis best you never put your feet on American ground, ever again, you pig sucking son-of-a-bitchin' traiterous turncoat. Tis just what we needed to inspire the troops to kill the friggin' lot of you.....

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