Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams regarding the defeat of Washington on Long Island.
I assure you, We are as much at a Loss, about Affairs at New York, as you are. In general, our Generals were out generalled on Long Island, and Sullivan and Stirling with 1000 Men were made Prisoners …
Wherever the Men of War have approached, our Militia have most manfully turned their backs and run away, Officers and Men, like sturdy fellows – and their panicks have sometimes seized the regular Regiments.
You are told that a Regiment of Yorkers behaved ill, and it may be true, but I can tell you that several Regiments of Massachusetts Men have behaved ill, too.
October 8, 1776
John Adams has some wonderfully sarcastic lines in most of his letters and documents. I particularly enjoyed the line “our militia manly turned their backs”, which reminds me a bit of troubadour in Monty Python and the Holy Grail singing “And Sir Robin bravely ran away."