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Letter from Cadwallader Colden
Colden, Cadwallader, 1688-1776
February 14, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 453-454

[Reprinted from the American Archives. Vol. 4. P. 1127.]
Letter from Lieutenant Governor Colden.

February 14th, 1776.

Dear Sir:

I received a few days since yours of the 30th of November, 1775, informing me of the appointment of a Secret Committee. I am sorry, however to say that, second and last upon the list, are men in whom I cannot confide; and I am not a little surprised that it should so happen that these two men are upon such a Committee while others are omitted with whom I am known to be in habits of communication and confidence. I therefore trust this with you, and not with the Committee, in whom I cannot repose any confidence, till these two men are removed. I have written to you repeatedly, and by some conveyance which I think, cannot possibly miscarry. The enclosed list is the Ministerial army upon paper. In effect, it will amount to about fifteen thousand Germans, and eighteen thousand British; their destination I can now give you with some certainty; four thousand Brunswickers and Waldeckers, with five hundred Hessians from Hanau, are now at Stade, a port in Hanover, ready for immediate embarkation, and destined for Canada, to be joined by the Twenty-ninth Regiment, and one thousand draughted from the Foot Guards under Colonel Mathews. There is to be another embarkation in the Spring, from Ireland for Canada, and the whole is to be commanded by General Burgoyne, and Carlton I believe recalled.

The second body, being Hessians, are to march this day for Stade, and the third on 14th of next month; these are for Boston. Lord Cornwallis, with six regiments, to sail immediately from Cork for Virginia, where General Clinton is to take the command. They have certain assurances of being joined by the Scotch in Virginia, and those on the borders of North Carolina, under the command of

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one McDonald. In the mean time, they have been directed to protect themselves under a treaty of neutrality. Besides this land force, Lord Howe is to have a fleet of seventy-two sail, to block up the coast. For this purpose, large ships are to be stationed at the mouths of the great rivers, and the rest are to cruise at some distance from the coast three deep, but not in file, so as to render it more difficult to cross them—as thus: They are to get possession of New York and Hudson's River, so as to cut off all South and North communication; and they have some idea of attacking Canada too, by Montreal. Halifax is to be their naval magazine. The Germans are commanded by two Lieutenant-Generals, of whom the eldest is named DeHeister, and has some military character. This is the favourable view of their plan. On the contrary, the whole army, native and foreign, is averse to the service, so that it is much apprehended, that if the Provincials are dexterous in throwing among them advantageous propositions, and faithful in performing them, the desertion will be immense.

The British troops have not one in five that is a soldier, the rest are boys and debilitated manufacturers, just recruited, at the reduced standard of five feet four inches. A vast number of the best subaltern officers have quitted the service. It is thought they will make Howe Commander-in-Chief, which must disgust the German Generals, who are much older. The expense will be immense; the difficulty of providing magazines immense; and another campaign hardly possible. Lord George Sackville is the Minister with absolute and hated authority, even in the Cabinet. He is a rash, imperious and unprincipled man, with moderate abilities, and much plausibility, but wholly under the Counsels of your Countrymen, who push this matter on with blind violence. Great expectations, too, are entertained from treachery in the Provincials. Dr Church was in league with others particularly Fleming, the printer. This I have from Ministerial authority, which may be depended on. They will also endeavor to depreciate the Congress paper, by throwing in forged notes. A General of the first rank and abilities, would come over if the Congress would authorize any one to promise him a proper reception. This I had from Mr Lee, Agent for Massachusetts; but it must be secret with you, as I was not to mention it. Adieu.