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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Robert Howe to George Washington
Howe, Robert, 1732-1786
July 17, 1779
Volume 14, Pages 330-331

[Letters to General Washington, Vol. 33, p. 311.]

Before Verplanck's Point, July 17th, 1779.

Dear Sir:

I am now very near Verplanck's point, which I have been reconnoitring, and shall still more fully inspect.

What I discern of the works appear to be properly constructed, and seem capable of considerable Defence if the members and spirit of the garrison are adequate to the Task. The Troops, except such as I have fixed at particular Passes, are with me. The heavy cannon are by this time, I hope, at the Continental village, and I have sent to hasten them up as fast as possible. The ammunition appointed for'em was not over the Ferry when I left it—I gave the officer orders to expedite it.

Understanding from your Excellency that the Cannon and the Requisites to them had been ordered, I did not presume to interfere with the Detail. I doubt not that if your Excellency's orders have been complied with, that I shall receive the Ammunition with the Pieces; but the Field pieces, I informed you by Express this morning, were at Fishkill.

If works sho'd be necessary to be thrown up, I am not furnished with one Intrenching or other Tool for the Purpose. Should your Excellency think it proper, please order them and any other Articles requisite. If the Cannon do not get up in Time To-day shall retire 'till I meet them, if their Security makes it necessary.

The men are out of Provisions To-day, and I have no Commissary to apply to for a supply. Will it not be convenient to your Excellency to order some, as I am without waggons to bring it?

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I had sent Videttes down the Roads you mentioned previous to the receipt of your Letter; but, as I am entirely unfurnished with Horsemen I was obliged to employ such of the Country people as Col. Putnam recommended.

Early this morning I sent an Express to General Heath, and am sorry I had not then your Excellency's Instructions relative to Horse. If I can procure an Express I shall send to the General again, as Horsemen are so essential in our Situation.

Being informed of a Military Troop of Horse about 12 miles distant, I have desired Capt. Delaral, who commands them, to join me. Whether in this application I shall be successful remains a matter of Speculation.

Inclining to make short work of the Enemy, I ordered the Engineer to reconnoitre their works, which he did at a very short distance. He reports that storming them at present wo'd be ineligible. I take the liberty to refer your Excellency for our Numbers to Lieut. Slade, not choosing to transmit a written Return of them.

With the greatest Respect, I am
Your Excelly's very Obedt. humble Serv't,

P. S. The Chaplain of Genl. Patterson's Brigade just informs me that, as he passed our Cannon this morning, he perceived the Horses were jaded, and he tho't they w'd not be up to-night.

P. S. 2d. I think it necessary to add that Col. Putnam has informed me there is more danger of being doubled between Continental village and Peekskill than between Peekksill and Verplanck's Point.