Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. IV (1776)
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TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. IV (1776) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. IV (1776).
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TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.
New York, 24 August, 1776.
On Thursday last the enemy landed a body of troops, supposed to amount (from the best accounts I have been able to obtain) to eight or nine thousand men, at Gravesend Bay on Long Island, ten miles distance from our works on the Island, and immediately marched through the open lands to Flatbush, where they are now encamped. They are distant about three miles from our lines, and have woods and broken grounds to pass (which we have lined) before they can get to them. Some skirmishing has happened between their advanced parties and ours, in which we have always gained an advantage.1 What the real designs of the enemy are, I am not yet able to determine. My opinion of the matter is, that they mean to attack our works on the Island and this city at the same time, and that the troops at Flatbush are waiting in those plains till the wind and tide (which have not yet served together) will favor the movement of the shipping to this place: Others think they will bend their principal force against our lines on the Island, which, if carried, will greatly facilitate their designs upon this city. This also being very probable, I have thrown what force I can over, without leaving myself too much exposed here; for our whole number (if the intelligence we get from deserters, &c., be true) falls short of that of the enemy; consequently the defence of our own works, and the approaches to them, is all we can aim at. This, then, in a manner, leaves the whole Island in possession of the enemy, and of course of the supplies it is capable of affording them. Under these circumstances would it be practicable for your government to throw a body of one thousand or more men across the sound, to harass the enemy in their rear or upon their flanks? This would annoy them exceedingly, at the same time that a valuable end, to wit, that of preventing their parties securing the stocks of cattle, &c., would be answered by it; the cattle to be removed or killed. The knowledge I have of the extraordinary exertions of your State upon all occasions, does not permit me to require this, not knowing how far it is practicable; I only offer it, therefore as a matter for your consideration, and of great public utility, if it can be accomplished.
The enemy, if my intelligence from Staten Island be true, are at this time rather distressed on account of provisions; if then, we can deprive them of what this Island affords, much good will follow from it.
[1 ]“Yesterday there was some skirmishing between a detachment of them, and a party from our troops. Their detachments were obliged to give ground, and were pursued as far as where they had a post at a Judge Lefferts’. His house and outhouses served as quarters for them, and were burned by our people. We sustained no loss in this affair, that I have heard of, except having two men slightly wounded. Our people say the enemy met with more.”—Washington to Schuyler, 24 August, 1776.
[1 ]This was an error, as a part of the Germans,—Col. Donop’s corps of chasseurs and Hessian grenadiers—were landed on the 22d. Lieutenant General De Heister, with two brigades of Hessians, joined the army on Long Island on the 25th.
[2 ]“The passage of the East River being obstructed, in such a manner, with Chevaux-de-Frizes &c. as to render it dangerous for any Vessels to pass, the Sentinels along the river, contiguous to where the obstructions are placed, are to hail and prevent any Vessels attempting to pass, otherwise than between the Albany Pier; and a Mast in the river, which appears above water, nearly opposite.—Orderly Book, 24 August, 1776.