George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Nathanael Greene, 8 August 1776

From Brigadier General Nathanael Greene

L. Island Wednesday [Thursday] Evening
[8 August 1776] 9 oClock

Dear Sir

Col. Varnum Reports from Red Hook about sun set and after as many as One hundred Boats were seen coming from Statten Island to the Ships full of Men. Three Ships went towards the Narrows previous to which about thirty Boats with Soldiers went on board them. From the best Observations made by Capt. Foster and others there is a general Imbarcation.1

I have inclosd a Report from the Officer of one of Col. Hands out Guards—sent by Express this Evening. Your Excellency will pay the Attention the intelligence deserves.2 I am your Excellencys most Obedient Servant

Nath. Greene

ALS, DLC:GW. Tench Tilghman docketed this letter: “Long Island Augt 8. 1776 From B. Genl Greene.” Although 8 Aug. 1776 was Thursday rather than Wednesday as indicated in the dateline, it is undoubtedly the correct date of this letter, because under 9 Aug. in his letter to Hancock of 8–9 Aug., GW refers to this letter as “a Report received from Genl Greene last night,” and Greene in his letter to GW of 9 Aug. refers to it as “my last Evenings Report.” Greene also gave the wrong day of the week in his letter to Col. Moses Little of 9 Aug. (see Showman, Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 1:280).

1Capt. Thomas Waite Foster apparently commanded the Continental artillery detachment stationed in the fortifications at Red Hook. Aboard the British warship Eagle off Staten Island, Ambrose Serle wrote in his journal under this date: “The Orpheus & Greyhound Frigates, with the Senegal Sloop, sailed out of the Harbor this Evening on a Cruize for the Fleet” (Tatum, Serle’s Journal description begins Edward H. Tatum, Jr., ed. The American Journal of Ambrose Serle: Secretary to Lord Howe, 1776–1778. San Marino, Calif., 1940. description ends , 60). These vessels were looking for the transports bringing the remaining Hessian troops.

2This enclosure has not been identified.

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