Queen's American Rangers
Camp Decr. 9th 1777
Being much fatigued, I can only give you the out lines of the Transaction’s of the four last Days.
On friday morning about three oClock, the alarm Guns anounced the approach of the Enemy, and about Eight they appeared in sight on Chestnut Hill. On reconnoitring, their Line was found to extend along that ridge of Hills parelell to ours.
They continued altering their Position & moving to our left, with many different Maneuvres on Saturday, Sunday & Monday. Several smart Skirmishes happened during this Time with the light Parties, in which some few men were lost & Prisoners taken on both sides, but am sorry to inform you, that your worthy General Irwin was wounded, left by his men & taken by the Enemy.
The Maryland Militia behaved well, but the Pennsylvania Militia greatly disgraced their Country, running away at the first fire from half their Numbers, and they green Coats, and while we were on their flanks too. Coll. Reed had like to have fallen the Sacrifice to their Cowardice, his Horse being shot under him & he escaped with great difficulty.
On monday Evening they made a small movement to the left & halted, making a long string of fires on the Heights. These were lighted up briskly, and under Cover of the Night, retreated with precipitancy & Silence, into the City; while they could be come up with, only by the Light Horse.
As all their movements, added to their repeated Declarations of driving General Washington over the blue Mountains, were calculated to assure us of their having come out with a determination to fight, it was thought prudent to keep our Post upon the Hills neer the Church. Had they attacked us here I believe in all human probability it would have been the last they would have made in America.
I understand it was resolved, that if they did not begin the attack soon, to have fought them at all events, it not being supposed that they could consistent with their own feelings on this Occasion, have secretly stole into the City so suddenly, after so long gasconading on what they intended to do.
I am rather led to believe that we shall not see winter Quarters this Year: and altho’ it is a severe alternative, yet for my own part, I am fully convinced, the good of our Country calls for even this Sacrifice from us.
I am with great respect
His Excy. Thos Wharton Esqr.
New-York Historical Society, Reed Papers No. 4, Reel No. 2, Page 133.
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