Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. IV (1776)
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - 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 THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Head-Quarters, at Col. Morris’s House,
As my letter of the 16th contained intelligence of an important nature, and such as might lead Congress to expect that the evacuation of New York and retreat to the Heights of Haerlem, in the manner they were made, would be succeeded by some other interesting event, I beg leave to inform them, that as yet nothing has been attempted upon a large and general plan of attack. About the time of the post’s departure with my letter, the enemy appeared in several large bodies upon the plains, about two and a half miles from hence. I rode down to our advanced posts, to put matters in a proper situation, if they should attempt to come on. When I arrived there I heard a firing, which, I was informed, was between a party of our rangers under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Knowlton, and an advanced party of the enemy. Our men came in and told me, that the body of the enemy, who kept themselves concealed, consisted of about three hundred, as near as they could guess. I immediately ordered three companies of Colonel Weedon’s regiment from Virginia, under the command of Major Leitch, and Colonel Knowlton with his rangers composed of volunteers from different New-England regiments, to try to get in their rear, while a disposition was making as if to attack them in front, and thereby draw their whole attention that way.
This took effect as I wished on the part of the enemy. On the appearance of our party in front, they immediately ran down the hill, took possession of some fences and bushes, and a smart firing began, but at too great a distance to do much execution on either side. The parties under Colonel Knowlton and Major Leitch unluckily began their attack too soon, as it was rather in flank than in rear. In a little time Major Leitch was brought off wounded, having received three balls through his side; and, in a short time after, Colonel Knowlton got a wound, which proved mortal. The men however persevered, and continued the engagement with the greatest resolution. Finding that they wanted a support, I advanced part of Colonel Griffith’s and Colonel Richardson’s Maryland regiments, with some detachments from the eastern regiments, who were nearest the place of action. These troops charged the enemy with great intrepidity, and drove them from the wood into the plain, and were pushing them from thence, having silenced their fire in a great measure, when I judged it prudent to order a retreat, fearing the enemy, as I have since found was really the case, were sending a large body to support their party.
Major Leitch I am in hopes will recover; but Colonel Knowlton’s fall is much to be regretted, as that of a brave and good officer. We had about forty wounded; the number of slain is not yet ascertained; but it is very inconsiderable. By a sergeant, who deserted from the enemy and came in this morning, I find that their party was greater than I imagined. It consisted of the second battalion of light infantry, a battalion of the Royal Highlanders, and three companies of Hessian riflemen, under the command of Brigadier-General Leslie. The deserter reports, that their loss in wounded and missing was eighty-nine, and eight killed. In the latter, his account is too small, as our people discovered and buried double that number. This affair I am in hopes will be attended with many salutary consequences, as it seems to have greatly inspirited the whole of our troops.1 The sergeant further adds, that a considerable body of men are now encamped from the East to the North Rivers, between the seventh and eighth mile stones, under the command of General Clinton. General Howe, he believes, has his quarters at Mr. Apthorp’s house. I have, &c.2
P. S. I should have wrote Congress by Express before now had I not expected the post every minute which I flatter myself will be a sufficient apology, for my delaying it.
The late losses we have sustained in our Baggage and Camp necessaries have added much to our distress, which was very great before. I must therefore take the liberty of requesting Congress to have forwarded as soon as possible such a supply of Tents, Blankets, Kettles, and other articles as can be collected. We cannot be overstocked.1
[1 ]“This little advantage has inspirited our troops prodigiously; they find that it only requires resolution and good officers to make an enemy (that they stood in too much dread of) give way.”—Washington to Schuyler, 20 September, 1776.
[2 ]“On the 16th, in the morning, a large party of the enemy having passed under cover of the woods, near to the advanced posts of the army by way of Vandewater’s Height, the 2d and 3d battalions of light infantry, supported by the 42d regiment, pushed forward and drove them back to their intrenchments, from whence the enemy observing they were not in force attacked them with near 3,000 men, which occasioned the march of the reserve with two field pieces, a battalion of Hessian grenadiers, and the company of chasseurs, to prevent the corps engaged from being surrounded who repulsed the enemy with considerable loss, and obliged them to retire within their works. . . . We had eight officers wounded, most of them slightly, fourteen men killed, and about seventy wounded.”—General Howe to Lord George Germaine, 21 September, 1776.
[1 ]Read in Congress September 20th.