Diary Entries from the Battle of Long Island

Jabez Fitch

August 1776

Tuesd: the 27th: We were alarm’d very Early in the Morning by a Rept: of an Action at the Post from whence we were Reliev’d the Night before, upon which we Emediately March’d to support the Party there; We first March’d up into the Edg of the Wood, for a Flank Guard, & then Retreated back some way Reconitring the Wood, while Ld: Sterling at the head of a Considrable party Maintain’d an unsteady fire with the Enimy on their Left Wing; at about 7 oClock we were Reinforc’d by several partys from our Left, when we again Advanc’d & Extended a Line on the Left of Ld: Sterlings Party, where we had two or three sevear Attacts, in which a Lt: Col: of ours was Kil’d, & also Col Grant of the Regulars; While we were thus Engaged here, we heard a Smart Fire Toward our Left Wing, which gave us to Apprehend that we were in Danger of having our Retreet cut off, on which our Regt: were Order’d to March toward the Fire, & on our Approaching in Sight of the Enimy (to our Surprise) we found our Apprehensions but too well grounded; After this we met with several small Attacts, in which we Generally Fought on Retreet, without much Loss, untill we found ourselves Surrounded by the Enmy, when we Attempted to Join Lord Sterlings party, but found our Selves Likewise cut off from them. we then Collected our Scatter’d Force in the best manner possable, & took our March over Eastward, with Intention to brake through the Enimy & Secure a Retreet that way, but after croosing a thick Swamp, we came onto a Plain partly cover’d with Wood, where we soon found our selves between two sevear Fires from the Hessian Troops: on which we again Retreeted into the Swamp, & Repared to the Ground that we had Occupied before, where we were again Attacted by a Small party who soon Retreeted; we had now lost Col: Clark & Genii: Person, on which a Number of our Officers Assembled & concluded it best, as we were Intirely Surrounded by the Enimy, to Resign our selves up to them in small Partys, & Each one Take care for himself, accordingly, I went alone Down to the Northward, where I lit of Sargt: Wright, who had his Leg Broak, I carried him some way Down the Hill, & Lay’d him in a Shade where I Left him; I then Went up the hill to the Eastward, where I see at a small Distance a party of Regulars, on which I Emediately Advanc’d to them, & gave up my Arms; They Treated me with Humanity &c

Kings County on Long Island
Tuesd: Augt: 27th: 1776

Having Surrendered myself to the 57th: Regt: I was kept under the care of a Guard for some Time, while some others Likewise came in & Surrendered; & at about 5 oClock, I was guarded by sd: Regt: over on to the Edge of Flat Bush Plain, where I see a Large Body of Hessian Troops on a Hill at our Left; We then took a Turn to the Right, & was March’d by the Front of several Batallions of the Hessians, where I Recd: many Insults from those Formidable Europeans; We then March’d through a Considrable Wood, & came onto the Hill, where I first Discovered the Enimy in the Morning; here we found the greater part of two Brigaids under Arms & Genll: Agnue at their Head, I was then Conducted down to a Barn near the Road where I March’d homeward the Night before, & Confin’d with a great number of Prisoners of Different Regts: here I found Capt: Trowbredge Capt Percivel Lt: Fanning & Ensn: Gillit, & soon after Capt: Jewett was Brot: in who was Wounded with the Stab of a Bayonet in the Breast, & also another in the Belly, the Latter of which was sopos’d to be the Occasion of his Death, for he Languish’d & suffered great Pain for about 36 Hours (viz) while Third’d the 29th at about 5 in the Morning he Died. About sunset the Officers present, being about 20 in Number, were Assign’d a Comfortable Room in a House Nigh at hand, where I Laid down on a Chaff Bed, but Slept very Little.

Wednesd: the 28th: In the Morning a Cirgeon was sent to Dress the Wounds of the Prisoners, he also gave Capt Jewett some Physick, & Attended on him several Times this Day; But Majr: Brown was the Officer that Principally Attended us here on all Occasions, & Treated us with great Humanity & Complisance; Genll: Grant also was so good as to make us a Present of a Side of Mutton, & ordef’d his Negro to Cook it for us; This Day there was a Considrable Firing of Small Arms &c the Perticulars of which, we were not able to learn; Capt Jewett Decay’d Gradually through the whole Day, but was not sopos’d Dangerous, while near Night, I sat with him most of the Night, & slept but very Little; the Capt: had his senses, while about 2 in the Morning, & was sensible of his being near his End, often Repeating that it was hard work to Die, he also Desired me to see him Buried with Deacence as far as our present Circumstances would Admit, & write the Circumstances of his Death to his Wife; for 2 or, 3 hours before he Died, he was somewhat Delirious, & Talk’d somewhat Irrational, he was also speechless for some short Time before he Expired.

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