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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Cornelius Harnett to Richard Caswell
Harnett, Cornelius, 1723-1781
September 30, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 638-639

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Yorktown Pennsylvania Sept. 30th 1777.

Dear Sir:—

I take the liberty to inform your Excellency that Congress have at last fixed themselves in this Town, where they in all probability will remain for some time. An express has this day been received from Genl Gates, who informs Congress of an action which happened on the 19th Instant, within three miles of Stillwater, between our Army under his command and that of the Enemy under Genl Burgoyne. It continued several hours, but night put a stop to it. Both Armies retreated to their Encampments leaving the field to be again disputed on another day. The left wing of our Army

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only was engaged against the whole of the British and most of the Foreign Troops, a heavy and brisk fire was kept up on both sides. We had 2 Lieut-Coll's, 3 Captains, 3 Subs, 2 Sergeants, 2 drummers and Phifers, and 51 rank and file killed. Several officers and 180 odd wounded. The Enemy's loss was very considerable, supposed to be at least 1200 killed and wounded. It is said by Prisoners and Deserters that Genl Burgoin received a wound in his shoulder, his situation is so very critical that we have the most sanguine expectation of hearing in a few days of his meeting with a total defeat. Genl Lincoln has taken by a party sent from his Army on Lake George and Lake Champlaine, upwards of 200 prisoners with their arms, and released 100 of our men who were prisoners in that Quarter, and it is supposed a successful attack will be made on Ticonderoga very soon. I wish I had it in my power to give your Excellency as pleasing an account of our affairs in this Quarter. Genl Howe is, or can be in the possession of Philadelphia when he pleases. Genl Washington's Army are upon Schuylkill, between Reading & Philadelphia. A reinforcement of 1500 Regulars under Genl McDugal has joined him, and upwards of 2000 Virginians are on their march for the same purpose, and it is believed Genl Washington will march to Philadelphia, or near it, and that another general Battle will be fought in a few days. The Enemy are not as yet in the possession of the River. Our Troops and armed Vessels intend to defend the Fort to the last extremity. A firing was heard on Saturday last, which continued some hours, supposed to be between some of the Enemy's ships and the Fort. The particulars have not as yet been received by Congress. I should be very happy to receive a line from you as often as you can find leisure. Messrs Burke and Penn are not yet arrived, but I expect them every hour.

I am with great respect
your Excellency's most Obt huml Servt.,