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Philadelphia, Thursday, 21 August, 1777.

MY BEST FRIEND,

THIS morning we have heard again from the fleet At nine o clock at night on the fourteenth instant, upwards of a hundred sail were seen standing in between the capes of Chesapeake bay. They had been seen from the eastern shore of Virginia, standing off and on, for two days before. This method of coasting along the shore, and standing off and on, is very curious. First, seen off Egg harbor, then several times, off the capes of Delaware, standing in and out, then off Sinnepuxent, then off the eastern shore of Virginia, then standing in to Chesapeake bay. How many men and horses will he lose in this sea ramble, in the heat of dog days ? Whether he is going to Virginia to steal tobacco, to North Carolina to pilfer pitch and tar, or to South Carolina to plunder rice and indigo, who can tell ? He will seduce a few negroes from their masters, let him go to which he will. But is this conquering America ?

From the northward we learn that Arnold has marched with about two thousand men to the relief of fort Schuyler. Our people have given Sir John Johnson and his regulars, Tories and Indians, a very fine drubbing. The Indians scarcely ever had such a mauling. The devils are so frightened that they are all run away to howl and mourn. The papers en closed with this will give you more particular information. Can nothing be done at Rhode Island at this critical time? Opprobrium Novanglice ! What is become of all the Massachusetts continental troops ? Every regiment and every man of them is at the northward under Gates, and yet we are told they have not four thousand men fit for duty, officers included. And there are three regiments there from New Hampshire too.

10 o clock at night.

Just come in from Congress. We have within this hour received letters of General Schuyler and Lincoln, giving an account of the battle of Bennington, where in General Stark has acquired great glory, and so have his militia. The particulars are to be out in a hand bill to-morrow morning. I will enclose you one.

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