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On the return of the troops from the expedition to Bedford, &c., I proposed taking a forward position with the army, as well to procure a supply of forage (which we were much in want of), as to observe the motions of the rebel army, and to favour an expedition to Egg Harbour, at which place the enemy had a number of privateers and prizes, and considerable salt-works.
Accordingly, on the 22nd of last month, I requested Lord Cornwallis to take a position between Newbridge on the Hackinsack River in Jersey and Hudson's River; and Lieut-General Knyphausen one between Wepperham, on the last of those rivers, and the Bronx.
In this situation, with the assistance of the flat boats, we could assemble the army on either side of the North River in twenty-four hours, and by our having the command of that river as far as the highlands, Mr. Washington could not assemble that of the rebels in ten days: to have done it in Jersey he must have quitted his mountains and risked a general action in a country little favourable to him.
As by the move before mentioned the provinces of Jersey and New York were opened, we received a considerable supply of provisions, and a number of families came in.
General Washington did not seem to show the least disposition to assemble his army, and the militia kept at a distance ; however, by a well-projected plan of Lord Cornwallis, almost an entire regiment of the enemy's light dragoons were surprised and carried off.
For the particulars of this, I beg leave to refer your lordship to Lord Cornwallis's report, a copy of which I have the honour to enclose.
- Henry Clinton