Welles, James (1748-1825). Revolutionary War soldier who served in 1776 with a Continental Regiment and later in the Connecticut Line. 1p. "Horns Hook Sept 3d 1776." Addressed to his father, William Welles, of Newington, CT. Written just after the Continental Army's disastrous loss at the Battle of Long Island (Aug 27, 1776) and before the British landing at Kip's Bay (Sept 15, 1776), during the early stages of the British invasion and occupation of New York City.
Horn's Hook Fort, also known as Thompson's Battery, was a Revolutionary War fortification on Manhattan Island established by the Americans in 1776. A star-shaped fortification with 9 gun positions, the battery was located in a strategic position for the defense of New York. In the early weeks of September 1776 as American forces awaited further British advances, Horn's Hook was fired upon by British Major General Henry Howe, possibly as a diversion for his subsequent landing at Kip's Bay. Welles's letter describes the anxiety, despair, and difficulty that so many American soldiers experienced at this time. He writes, in part: "Many of us are Sick many unfit for Duty. Some bad with the camp distemper in a word the greatest part of us are full of complaints...This Day a Ship appears in Sight of our Station our people brot field pieces and played on her but she drew behind the island. Alas I know not our fate after this the Regulars Landed upon the island before our Door. What Next is to come I know not. Things Look Dark People Disheartened...I fear New York must be Left...I hope God will deliver America and Save All her people..."
Horn's Hook was eventually captured, destroyed, and rebuilt by the British. After the war, Welles returned home to Newington, CT, where he served as a Deacon of the Newington Congregational Church for nearly thirty years.
Toned and creased, with some tears along folds and several small soil spots. At some point verso of letter was permanently affixed to a separate paper presumably for preservation. Added page has been cut so as to allow for viewing of address as mailed on original letter.
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