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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Letter from a member of the Continental Congress [Extract as printed in the North-Carolina Gazette]
No Author
October 10, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 782-783

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EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM A MEMBER OF CONGRESS.

Dated York, October 10th, 1777.

On the 4th instant, our army made a wise and well concerted attack upon the British force, encamped at and near German-Town, the enemy were surprised, forced, and actually beaten; we were in possession of their Camp, tents, artillery, &c. but they rallying to make a last effort, and our left and right columns approaching in that instant each other in their victorious progress, were, by each, mistaken for a fresh reinforcement coming up to the enemy, and instantly began to retreat, without allowing a possibility of being stopped. This was occasioned by a thick fog, and such a state of air as kept down the smoke of cannon, &c. so as to prevent the distinguishing of objects above 50 yards. Thus the enemy, though beaten, kept the field, and accident deprived us of a brilliant victory that was absolutely in our possession. Our troops however retired in order, tho' with too much precipitation, and brought off their wounded, cannon, and every thing else.

Our loss in this affair is about 700 killed, wounded, and missing; that of the enemy very considerable no doubt, as they were pushed before our army 2 miles; but this is rendered more certain by an Account brought from Philadelphia by a person who can be relied on, that left the city since the battle. He says that the enemy lost Gen. Agnew, Colonels Abercrombie, Walcott, Byrd of Virginia, and Gen. DeHeisters son killed, Gen. Kniphausen wounded in the hand, and that between 2 and 300 waggons load of wounded were brought into the city before he left it; this is confirmed by many Quakers who were at the yearly meeting, and who add, that Howe had actually sent 2000 Hessians over Schuylkil, probably to secure a retreat. He refused to let any of the Inhabitants of Philadelphia see the field of battle. On our part, General Nash is dead of his wounds, Col. Hendricks and Lieut. Col. Parker from Virginia, wounded, but not mortally; two of Gen. Sullivan's Aids mortally wounded, Col. Stone of Maryland wounded, but not mortally. We have not yet a particular list of the killed & wounded from the General. Last evening came an account to town that Capt. Barry had attacked the Frigate Delaware (lately taken from us at Philadelphia) with the Brig Audrew Doria of 14 Guns and 2 gallies,

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and had retaken the frigate. It is fine news if it proves true. Our army is in excellent spirits, satisfied they can beat the enemy, and keen for another opportunity of trying; they will probably be indulged in a few days, as our Virginia reinforcements of 17 or 1800 have got up since the engagement.