Letter from Colonel Lewis Nicola to John Jay President of the U.S. Continental Congress June 17, 1779
To His Excellency John Jay
President of Congress
By a prisoner of war released from New York & a deserter from the english army in S. Carolina I have collected the following information. Tho the deserter has been last with me I shall begin with him as I suppose intelligence from that quarter most interesting at present.
John Garrigues a corporal in Delancie's 2'd Battalion came from S. Carolina with a pass from Gen'l Moultrie. [He] says he left the brittish army the first of May, two days after it had entered Georgia [crossed out] S. Carolina in number 3500, [he] heard they were afterward joined by 170 horse; soldiers draughted from the army and mounted on horses collected in georgia, 50 indians & 25 whites disguised as such. The army crossed into S. Carolina about three miles from [Davisburgh?], which a small party of Americans had just evacuated. There were between 17 & 18 hundred men left in George [sic]. The whole of the English troops to the southward consisted of 2 bat's of the 71, 2 of Hessians, 2 of Delancie's [sic], 1 of York Volunteers, between 2 & 3 hundred all these from New York, the 6th & 64th from Augustine & Browns rangers, about 120 [maybe 820], raised in Georgia, most by prisoners of war.
He left Charles town the 13th May when an attack was shortly expected as the enemy were but at a small distance & rapid advancing, the inhabitnts & garrison in high spirits. When in Georgetown, 60 miles from Charlestown, [he] heard the enemy had made an attack & were repulsed with considerable loss, [he] heard from several persons that passed him on the road that a second attack had been made when the enemy were totally defeated & many prisoners taken. The town was strongly fortified & the works flanked by an armed vessel in each river.
The clothing for Delancie's regiment was taken going to Georgia, the men had therefore been clothed with the old clothes of such reg's as had rec'd new.
Garrigues is an inhabitant of this town [Philadelphia] & son of Sam'l Garrigues. [He] was in the continental service & [was] taken on York island [New York] the day the English landed. [He] continued 12 or 13 weeks a prisoner when he enlisted in hopes of making his escape. [He] atttempted it once, was taken & rec'd 500 lashes.
The person from York is a sailor & released last friday. [He] says the last return was 812 [maybe 512] on board the prison ship, the number rather encreasing, tho slowly, as the dead & those that [word] on board the English vessels nearly kept pace with the arrivals. The Oliver Cromwell was brought in on the 8th, the men remaining on board, after manning the [vessel?] privateer, a sloop of 10 or 12 guns, taken [word] were about 120, of whom 70 were sent on board the prison ship, which being full the rest were sent on board the Jersey, an hospital now converted into a prison ship. The prisoners kept as much as possible from all hopes of freedom in order to enduce them to enter, for which purpose some officers were constantly on board endeavoring to entice the men. [He] was 6 weeks on board during which time no fleet arrived except that of Virginia. Nor does he recalled [sic] any other men of war there in said time but the Reasonable, Rainbow, Delaware, Galatea & Daphne. [He] had liberty several times to go on shore to New York. [He] once saw five waggons with wounded from North river. The men of war with many, if not all the small vessels came down the river about the 8th or 9th but does not exactly remember the day. The inhabitants of Long island seemed very apprehensive of some impending danger but he could not discover the nature of it. Many of the inhabitants of New York were removing to Long island with their effects.
I have the honour to be with respect Your excellencies Most obed't Servant
Lewis Nicola [F.M.?] June 17th, 1779
Colonel Lewis Nicola to John Jay, President of Continental Congress, Letter dated June 17, 1779; Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Item 163, Letter from Generals Clinton, Nixon, Muhlenber, Poor & Paterson; Commanders Nicola, Morgan, Hammar & Patterson & Lieutenant Luckett, 1776-1789, M247, (Washington, D.C.: National Archives & Records Administration), roll 180, p. 52.
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