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MY BEST FRIEND,
HOWE's army, at least about five thousand of them, besides his light horse, are landed upon the banks of the Elk river, and the disposition he has made of his forces indicates a design to rest and refresh both men and horses. General Washington was at Wilmington last night, and his army is there to-day. The militia arc turning out with great alacrity both in Maryland and Pennsylvania. They are distressed for want of arms. Many have none, others have only little fowling pieces. However, we shall rake and scrape enough to do Howe's business, by the favor of Heaven.
Howe must have intended that Washington should have sent his army up to fight Burgoyne. But he is disappointed. The kindness of Heaven towards us has in nothing appeared more conspicuous, than in this motion of Howe. If the infatuation is not so universal as to seize Americans as well as him, it will prove the certain destruction of Burgoyne's army. The New England troops and New York troops are every man of them at Peekskill and with Gates. The Massachusetts men are all with Gates. General Washington has none but southern troops with him, and he has much the largest army to encounter.
If my countrymen do not now turn out and do something, I shall be disappointed indeed. One fifth part of Burgoyne's army has been totally destroyed by Stark and Herkimer. The remainder must be shocked and terrified at the stroke. Now is the time to strike. New England men ! strike home.
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume I, 1841