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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Penn to Richard Caswell
Penn, John, 1740 or 1-1788
October 05, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 641-642

[From Executive Letter Book.]

York Town, (Pa.) October 5th, 1777.


Your favour of the 2d September, I this minute received and am glad to hear that the money, tho' very late has arrived. The Congress left Philadelphia about the 20th and are now at this place doing business. Our Military affairs have taken an unexpected turn, Genl. Howe is in possession of Philadelphia, without a second battle, this in some measure has been owing to very great rains, that happened on the instant of the armies engaging, as our soldiers are without Tents, the baggage having been sent some distance. Their Guns and Powder were so wet that Genl. Washington was

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obliged to retire some distance to refit, and get other powder, &c. I understand that Genl. Howe has not suffered his Troops to march into the City, and has done little violence as yet to any of the Inhabitants.

Genl. Washington's Army is greatly reinforced by the Militia from Virginia and the Jersies, so that I expect it will not be long before he attacks the Enemy. I am not able to give you an account whether the Enemy or we are in possession of the Delaware, not having heard for several days.

Genl. Burgoyne and his army are in a situation very critical, he having lately met with a repulse in an attack on Genl. Gates, who has upwards of 9000 men with him, and 6 or 7000 behind Burgoyne under the command of Genl. Lincoln. We have taken the greater part of the Enemy's water craft, and are in possession of the lines near Ticonderoga, so that we expect that Fort is in our possession again, as it was besieged more than ten days ago. It is said that Burgoyne has not more than 6 or 7000 soldiers with him. The Indians have all declared on our side, and of course left him. Should we be able to destroy that army Genl. Howe must retire to New York, or run a very great risk of suffering that place to fall into our hands, as he cannot keep that and Philadelphia without the assistance of Burgoyne.

The Inhabitants of this State are much decided in their sentiments, they are all Tories, the way that Genl. Howe marched. They wish him success but have not courage to join his army.

I was lately at Camp, when your son was well. I am in hopes soon to be able to give you a more pleasing account of our affairs here. I shall apply to Congress to give some directions relative to the Pork you mentioned, to morrow. I am with due respect, Sir,

Your Obt Servt.,