Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Patrick Henry
16th Octr. 1777.
I congratulate you most sincerely on the very important intelligence that I
have now the pleasure to enclose you, which came express this morning
to the President in a letter from Colo. Trumbull the deputy paymaster
General.1 We every moment expect an express
from Gen Gates with a more full account of this glorious victory. Gen
Clinton having received a reinforcement and knowing Burgoyne’s critical
Situation, was urging his way up Hudson River to relieve him, and had
actually taken Fort Montgomerie on the Highlands, after a severe
conflict and much loss. Gens Putnam and Parsons were between Clinton
and Albany with some continental troops and a large body of Militia.
This last General will now be compelled to return to his hiding place
in the Island of York. The enemy have been foiled in various attempts
to possess themselves of Fort Mifflin on Deleware, and were lately
driven from Province Island by the Gallymen with the loss of 53 men and
2 officers taken, and a 32 pounder brought there to annoy our
Fort.2 Since the battle of German Town they
have evacuated Billingsport, and it is now in our possession, where we
have placed some large Cannon to stop their Ships. The General has sent
a party to secure Red Bank, almost opposite the Fort, so that we have
great expectations of preventing the enemy from getting to
Philadelphia, in which case, Gen. Howe’s situation must be a dangerous
one. Our troops are now in possession of the Country all around
Philadelphia and the enemy, so that their distress for provisions must
soon be very great. What the people in Town will do, God knows. Sour
flour sells already for 30/ hard money a hundred. In a short time I
hope to send you more important news both from this quarter and the
North. Our army is in high spirits, and advancing upon the enemy who
are entrenching themselves. I am with great regard, dear Sir,
Printed from Henry, Patrick Henry, 3:102 - 3. Printed also in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 - 1778, pp. 330 - 31.
1 Jonathan Trumbull, Jr.’s 10 October letter to Eliphalet Dyer, which was
read in Congress this day, apparently contained the first report
received by the delegates of General Gates’ 7 October victory over
Burgoyne’s troops at Bemis Heights. See JCC, 9:808: and James Lovell
to the Massachusetts Council, this date.
2 An account of this action was included in the 11 October letter of William
Bradford and John Hazelwood to Washington, a copy of which was
enclosed with Washington’s 13 October letter to Hancock. See
Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 9:356n, 364.