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, 6 September, 1776.
I have been honored with your favor of the 31st ultimo, and am extremely obliged by the measures you are taking, in consequence of my recommendatory letter. The exertions of Connecticut upon this, as well as upon every other occasion, do great honor, and I hope will be attended with successful and happy consequences. In respect to the mode of conduct to be pursued by the troops, that go over to the island, I cannot lay down any certain rule; it must be formed and governed by circumstances, and the direction of those who command them.
I should have done myself the honor of transmitting to you an account of the engagement between a detachment of our troops and the enemy on Long Island on the 27th, and of our retreat from thence, before now, had it not been for the multiplicity of business I have been involved in ever since; and, being still engaged, I cannot enter upon a minute and particular detail of the affair. I shall only add, therefore, that we lost, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, from seven hundred to one thousand men. Among the prisoners are General Sullivan and Lord Stirling. The enclosed list will show you the names of many of the officers that are prisoners.1 The action was chiefly with the troops from Jersey, Pennsylvania, the Lower Counties, and Maryland, and Colonel Huntington’s regiment. They suffered greatly, being attacked and overpowered by numbers of the enemy greatly superior to them. The enemy’s loss we have not been able to ascertain; but we have reason to believe it was considerable, as the engagement was warm, and conducted with great resolution and bravery on the part of our troops. During the engagement, a deep column of the enemy descended from the woods, and attempted an impression upon our lines, but retreated immediately on the discharge of a cannon and part of the musketry from the line nearest to them. As the main body of the enemy had encamped not far from our lines, and I had reason to believe, that they intended to force us from them by regular approaches, which the nature of the ground favored extremely, and at the same time meant, by the ships of war, to cut off the communication between the city and island, and by that means keep our men divided and unable to oppose them anywhere; by the advice of the general officers, on the night of the 29th, I withdrew our troops from thence, without any loss of men and but little baggage.1 I am, &c.
[1 ]“In the former [battle of Long Island] we lost about eight hundred men, more than three fourths of which were taken prisoners. This misfortune happened, in great measure, by two detachments of our people who were posted in two roads leading through a wood, in order to intercept the enemy in their march, suffering a surprise, and making a precipitate retreat, which enabled the enemy to lead a great part of their force against the troops commanded by Lord Stirling, which formed a third detachment, who behaved with great bravery and resolution, charging the enemy and maintaining their posts from about seven or eight o’clock in the morning till two in the afternoon, when they were obliged to attempt a retreat, being surrounded and overpowered by numbers on all sides, and in which many of them were taken.”—Washington to the Massachusetts Assembly, 19 September, 1776.
[1 ]In describing this event a few days afterwards, General Greene wrote:—“I was sick when the army retreated from Long Island, which was the best effected retreat I ever read or heard of, considering the difficulties.”