Henry Clinton Mask Letter to John Burgoyne, August 10, 1777
Henry Clinton Mask Letter to John Burgoyne, August 10, 1777. Henry Clinton Papers.
You will have heard, Dr Sir I doubt not long before this / can have reached you that Sir W. Howe is gone from hence. The / Rebels imagine that he is gone to the Eastward. By this time / however he has filled Chesapeak bay with surprize and terror.
Washington marched the greater part of the Rebels to Philadelphia / in order to oppose Sir Wm’s. army. I hear he is now returned upon / finding none of our troops landed but am not sure of this, great part / of his troops are returned for certain. I am sure this countermarching / must be ruin to them. I am left to command here, half of my force may / I am sure defend everything here with much safety. I shall therefore / send Sir W. 4 or 5 Bat[talio]ns. I have too small a force to invade the New England / provinces; they are too weak to make any effectual efforts against me and / you do not want any diversion in your favour. I can, therefore very well / spare him 1500 men. I shall try some thing certainly towards the close / of the year, not till then at any rate. It may be of use to inform you that / report says all yields to you. I own to you that I think the business will / quickly be over now. Sr. W’s move just at this time has been capital. / Washingtons have been the worst he could take in every respect. / sincerely give you much joy on your success and am with / great Sincerity yours [ ] / HC
[Clinton’s August 10, 1777 letter was designed to be read through a mask or grille. Composition demanded care because the letter must make sense both with or without the mask.]
Sir. W. Howe / is gone to the / Chesapeak bay with / the greatest part of the / army. I hear he is / landed but am not / certain. I am / left to command / here with / too small a force / to make any effectual / diversion in your favour. / I shall try something / at any rate. It may be of use / to you. I own to you I think / Sr W’s move just at this time / the worst he could take. / Much joy on your success.