“this deplorable Cyte”

On July 2, 1776, British General William Howe landed his troops on Staten Island without opposition; ten days later, two British ships sailed up the Hudson River past the blazing guns of the American artillery, and Admiral Richard Howe’s ships of war arrived in New York harbor. Many of the city’s inhabitants had already fled to the country for safety. Mrs. A. Hampton, whose sympathies were with the British, vividly described the frightening confusion and dangers she faced to her daughter Polly in New Windsor, New York.

3 miles from new York August 4th 1776My dear Child
Oh polly you Cannot be Suficinlly thankful that you are out of this deplorable Cyte [City], where Every thing that once was delightful now only Serves to make one wretched. For my part I cannot Spend one day in it for there is Scarcely one in that I know, all friend gone, gone and god only knows when we Shall return perhaps never.
I have been as far as haverstraw Since you left this but Could not Content my Self So far from my mother So nancy and I returnd that Same day about 4 hours be fore the Ships went up the river. I never underwent Such a fright in all my life, Cannons roring, drums Beating to arms, all things in Confusion, my mother out of town, not a friend to go to. Poor nancy and I we had no other refuge but to run for our Lives and indeed we was in great Danger but I was insenceable of it for the Bullets flew thick over our heads as we went up the Bowrey. But thank god we Escaped. What we are reservd for heaven only knows.
I hope you Spend your time more agreable then we do here for there is nothing to be heard but rumour upon rumour. So that I think our time ought to be Spent in Suplicating god, that he would be gratious and gather us from all places whence we are Scattered, and Bring us to our native place and that he would Establish us upon Such foundations of rightiousness and peace that It may nevermore be in the power of our restless adversaries to disturb us. Dear polly I have a good deal to Say more—but Shall Conclude at present with my Earnest wish for your welfare from your Affectionate Mother A. Hampton
PS … I Send you a Lock of my hair

Mrs. Hampton’s letter appears on pages 52-53 of In the Words of Women.

posted March 14th, 2013 by Janet, CATEGORIES: British soldiers, Loyalists, New York


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