[Journal of Captain John Peebles, 42nd Regiment of Foot, attached to the 1st Battalion Grenadiers, 21 September — 15 October 1778.]

[21 September]

Monday 21st Septr. Warm weather. The 10th Gr[enadie]r Compy. left the Battn. this morng. to be drafted, those Regts. that are to be drafted go to make up those that are destin’d for the West Indies.
Some excursion going on. The Light Infantry under orders of readiness, & 200 Light dragoons.

[22 September]

Tuesday 22nd. Got orders last night to march in the morng. by 3 o’Clock. Under arms at 3 & march’d off at 4 oClock to Red hook where we embark’d on board of Transports & flat Boats & landed at Powles Hook the four flank Corps 3rd & 4th Brigades & some light horse, & flat boats went over to York island to bring some troops from thence – the Guards I believe – then from Long island march’d as they landed to the heights of Bergen where they halted & Cook’d. The Guns, horses & Baggage &ca. getting ashore. Lord Cornwallis Commands & has Genl. Grey with him – but don’t know yet what this Expedition in the Jerseys is to be. The Battery at N: York fired a Royal Salute in Commemoration of the day, & at 1 oClock the fleet did the same. 7 or 8 double Deckers & some frigates lying off N: York, some ships of war laying of[f] Staten Island & some at Sandy hook. The Eagle went down today to go home wind about East. Adml. Gambier Commands at N. York & Byron is gone to Rhode island.
In the Eveng. the troops moved on to the Environs of Bergen when they hutted for the night. The people all at home.
Got a letter last night from T: H: dated 2nd June, by the Pembroke Capt. Boyd who I hear was kill’d in his passage out.

[23 September]

Wednesday 23rd. The Troops march’d this morng. at day light to the No:ward, it came on rain in the morng. & continued to rain & blow all day long – pass’d thro’ English Neighbourhood, at the head of which the Guards & Brigades halted, the Grs. on t’other side the Mill & Liberty pole, & the Light Infantry, Light horse & Lord Rawdons Corps , towards Newbridge, we got a compleat ducking today. A Picquet of the Rebels taken at Liberty pole by a few Light horse.

[24 September]

Thursday 24th Septr. The weather clear’d up. The Grs. moved in the afternoon about a mile to higher & better ground, the Light Bobs at Newbridge. They sent to Hackinsack today a few Compys. who met with nothing. Two days fresh meat for all the Offrs. of this army. We hear Genl. Kniphausen with a Strong division has moved out from Kings Bridge & that Vaughan is to cross over to Amboy, while we make a sweep into the Country for the purpose of Collecting forage.

[25 September]

Friday 25th. A fine day, took a walk to Newbridge 3 miles by the road but less n a line. A pretty little Village with a Bridge over the Sacking River to which the tide comes, & is navigable for small craft; 2 miles down on the N: W side is Hackinsack a larger Village. We are making a work on the high ground about _ mile north side of Newbridge, a Square. The Grs. give 200 of a Working party in ye morng. The 15th Regt. came up from Bergen & was posted there. Fresh meat to the men.
Went down to the Regt. to call on Colol. Stirling but he was out, saw him just as I was coming away – the lads all well. Got 3 bottles of port, & near _ Gallon Rum from Norrice – drink scarce in Camp.

[26 September]

Saturday 26th. Some rain last night & this morng. Genl. Clinton came to Camp last night & I hear is to stay some time, they say that Kniphausen has cross’d over to this side North River, & that Washington has divided his army, some at Peekskill & some in Connecticut – fresh meat. The Genl. went to Hackinsack with a reconnoitering party, & has taken up his Quarters at Newbridge. 100 Waggons come over to Collect the forage & some Commissarys to get Cattle. Din’d with the Regt.

[27 September]

Sunday 27th Septr. Pleasant. The 17th Regt. went this morng. to cover Head Qrs. Fort Lee. The Genl. gone off to day for New York. He flies about like an apporition. The work on t’other side Newbridge going on.
In the Eveng. got orders to be ready to march at 10 oClock at night.

[28 September]

Monday 28th march’d last night at 10 OClock, One Column under Lord Cornwallis consisting of the Guards, 1st Battn. Grenadrs. & the 42nd moved from the Picquet ground in front [of] the Liberty pole at 12, on the road to Tapaun where we arrived about sunrise & found the Village evacuated by about 500 militia who had got intelligence of our coming by two deserters. Another column under Genl. Grey consisting of the 2nd Battn. Light Infantry & Grenadrs. and 2 Regts. march’d by another road to the Northward and about an hour before day Surprized a Cantonment of the Enemy’s Light horse of about 100 of whom they Bayoneted some 40 or 50, took between 30 & 40 prisoners the remaining few escaped. They were Lady Washingtons Light Dragoons. The Col: (Bailer) & the Major both very badly wounded & taken. That Column likewise startled a picquet of militia about sunrise near the Village of Tapon & took most of them prisoners. The 71st Regt. & Simcoe’s Corps cross’d the north river last night and appear’d at Tapawn soon after we arrived there but met with nothing in their way.
The Troops halted their [sic] till the afternoon & then march’d back to ye respective Encampments, & brought in some Cattle – pretty much fatigued, marching & halting for about 20 hours, & little to eat or drink.

[29 September]

Tuesday 29th Septr. Fine weather & warm, rested after yesterdays fatigue.
Orders for clearing the Invalids to 24 inst. & 2 months pay to be given to the Offr. who takes charge of them home – to be ready 1st Octr.
Our men to get credit for 5 pair hose 1/8, Bonnet 4_d Plaid 5/6 – sent those of the Genls. Coy.
A Party of 2 or 300 Rebels came down towards where we are making the work on north side of Newbridge & fired away at a great distance for above an hour when a party of Light Infantry dash’d out after them & drove them off.

[30 September]

Wednesday 30th. Pleasant weather. Mounted picquet this morng. an hour before day. There was a good deal of firing in the night towards the Picquets of Lord Rawdons Corps. We hear a frigate has arrived at N. York with intelligence that the French have relinquish’d their American alliance and are to withdraw their fleet and give them no further assistance & matters are to be made up ‘twixt Great Britain & France, who no doubt is asham’d of her conduct, if there is any Shame in their principles or constitution.
This piece of news wants confirmation.

[1 October]

Thursday 1st Octr. 1778. Came off Picquet this morng. All quiet.
The two Redoubts on t’other side New Bridge are finish’d. They are Squares with a platform for 1 Gun in each.
The foraging going on below by Vessels. A large foraging party out yesterday in front for the use of the Troops here Garrison & Rooting parties. The Guards cover’d.
This is the day appointed for all Officers, non Commission Officers and Invalids order’d home, to be ready to Embark.
Wrote to T: A: to go by some of those that are going home, will send it to N. York tomorrow.
Sent by Bontine, who put it in ye mail.

[2 October]

Friday 2nd Octr. Another large foraging party out to day towards Tapan, some Regts. from the Brigades cover, they bring the Hay down to the Mill about 5 miles below this in waggons & then put it on board Vessels – it will take a great while to lay in enough at this rate for the Winter – 5,000 horses will eat a great deal of hay – 1_ tons each.
Adml. Byron arrived at New York & Genl. Pigot – none of [the] Ships sail’d yet for Britain. A Detachmt. of 500 under Capt. Ferguson gone to Egg harbour.
[3 October]

Saturday 3rd Octr. Pleasnt weather. Hear a good deal of fireing of Cannon down about Staten Island or Eliz: Town.
The Invalids &ca. to Embark tomorrow all those of the Grer. Coms. that were wounded in Hospital or Discharged & Recommended viz. seven wounded at Monmouth.
Foraging going on in the Neck today. Must write some letters.

[4 October]

Sunday 4th Octr. Last night wet & blowy, to day cold & rain. Wrote to M: & D: M: sent them to the Regt. to go to N. York by a Serjt. They are to send there tomorrow.
Put the stone & lost my Sleeve button.
Orders in the Eveng. to be under arms at 4 in the morng.

[5 October]

Monday 5th. Fine weather. Two Battns. Light Infantry, 1st Grenadrs, one Battn. Guards, 33rd Regt. & 2nd Battn. 42nd, all the Dragoons except an Offr. & 20 & the Volunteers of Ireland march’d this morng. & took post on the heights of Hackensack & about the Village while the Waggons were employed in carrying all the forage. Staid there till the Eveng. witht. seeing any of the Enemy & return’d to our respective Encampments. They brot. off 240 Waggon load of fine Hay.
A french Lt. of man of war came to N. York from Count D’Estaing about ye exchange of prisoners, it seems they have taken the Thunder Bomb & Senegal Sloop; poor Inglis. Two frigates arriv’d at the Hook.

[6 October]

Tuesday 6th Octr. Very fine wr. The 23rd Grenadr. Compy. Capt. Peters joined the Battn. this morng.

[7 October]

Wednesday 7th. Fine weather. We hear Adml. Byron is sail’d with a fleet equal to D’Estaing who they say is sail’d from Boston. The Ships for Britain not sail’d yet, nor the Pacquet.

[8 October]

Thursday 8th. A large foraging Party out to day towards Tapan. I went out with a party for Vegetables of 105 file with arms which passes for a Picquet in this Battn. – got plenty about 4 miles off – a great inclination to plunder & to be licentious among these Grenadrs. – confin’d two.
Came out with yesterdays Gazzette a manifesto and Proclamation dated 3rd Octr. to the Congress, Assemblies &c. &c. from the Commissioners, making them an offer of peace & reconciliation on the most liberal terms & a free pardon to all Descriptions of people, to continue in force to the 11th Novr.
A Report of some Engagement of the fleets at home.

[9 October]

Friday 9th. Fine mild weather. The Albion a 74 & the last of Byrons fleet arrived at the Hook in 30 days from Lisbon, being put in there dismasted. No war declared when she left Lisbon nor word of any sea engagement. A Vessel from Halifax in 11 days all well there, a fleet of Victualers from Cork came in.
Adml. Gambier at Rhode Island in the Culloden.

[10 October]

Saturday 10th Octr. Showery & blowy in the forenoon & heavy rain in the afternoon from the N.E.

[11 October]

Sunday 11th it blew & rained hard all last night & today, could not keep ourselves dry; lay in bed 18 hours.

[12 October]

Monday 12th fair weather and Sunshine. The Savage Sloop of war arrived at N: York with account of an action between the British & french fleets on the 27th July, the British had 133 killed & 373 wounded & kept the sea, the french loss not known, they form’d the line after that action in the Evening, but went off in the night.
Adml. Keppel had been refitted and gone to sea again; but no war declared, but orders to burn, sink & destroy the french wherever we meet them.
The Augt. Pacquet had sail’d before the Savage came away. The west India expedition to go on – making ready to move.

[13 October]

Tuesday 13th. We (the troops in Jersey) march’d between 7 & 8 by the left & carried our Straw with us to the ground betwixt the main road & Fort Lee. The Grs. occupied that ground where the Rebels were Hutted two years ago.

[14 October]

Wednesday 14th. We march’d again in the morning to the ground near Bergen & some cross’d over from Powlis hook – some desertion in the Battn. these two days past 8 gone off. NB New Bridge & the two Redoubts near that were destroy’d the evening befor[e] we march’d. Maxwell with about 700 at Aquackinack & their Lord Stirling with 2 Brigades at Pyrhymus.
[15 October]

Thursday 15th. The troops crossing over all day, from Powlis hook to Brooklyn. We the Grs. got over about 2 O’Clock & march’d to our old Ground, where we found our tents, & pitch’d them, but no baggage came that day. The 23rd Coy. gone to their Regt. again.

Scottish Record Office, Cunningham of Thortoun Papers, 1746-1782, John Peebles Journal, GD 21/492/6, Pages 42-48.