Battle of Long Island parson's Report
Brigadier General Samuel Parsons to John Adams.
Morrisania, October 8,
. . . To give you a clear idea of the matter [the Battle of Long Island must trouble you with a description of that part of the country where t. enemy landed and encamped, and the intervening lands between that and os lines.
From the point of land which forms the east side of the Narrows, rum a ridge of hills about N. E. in length about 5 or 6 miles, covered with a . wood, which terminate in a small rising land near Jamaica; through the hills are three passes only, one near the Narrows, one on the road called the Flatbush Road and one called the Bedford Road, being a cross road from Bedford to Flatbush which lies on the southerly side of these hills; these passes are through the mountains or hills, easily defensible, being very narrow and the lands high and mountainous on each side. These are the only roads which can be passed from the south side the hill to our lirtes, except a road leading | around the easterly end of the hills to Jamaica. On each of these roads placed a guard of 800 men, and east of them in the wood was placed Col M. with his battalion to watch the motion of the enemy on that part, with order I to keep a party constantly reconnoitering to and across the Jamaica Road The sentinels were so placed as to keep a constant communication between the three guards on the three roads. South of these hills lies a large plaines tending from the North River easterly to Rockaway Bay perhaps 5 mi,. and southerly to the sound bounded on the south by the Sound and on the north by the hills. Those hills were from two or three miles and a half from our lines. The enemy landed on this plain and extended their camp from the river to Flatbush perhaps 3 or 4 miles.
On the day of the surprise I was on duty, and at the first dawn of the day I the guards from the west road near the Narrows came to my quarters and informed me the enemy were advancing in great numbers by that road. I soon found it true and that the whole guard had fled without firing a gun; west (by way of retaliation I must tell you) were all New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians; I found by fair daylight the enemy were through the woods descending the hill on the north side, on which with 2o of my fugitive guard, being all I could collect, I took post on a height in their front at about half a mile's distance which halted their column and gave time for Lord Sterling with his forces to come up; thus much for the west road.
On the east next Jamaica Col. Miles suffered the enemy to march not less than 6 miles till they came near two miles in rear of the guards before he discovered and gave notice of their approach. This also was in the night and the guard kept by Pennsylvanians altogether the New England and New Jersey troops being in the other two roads through which the enemy did not attempt to pass.
We were surprised our principal barrier lost by that surprise, but as far as the cover of the night is an excuse we have it. The landing of the troops could not be prevented at the distance of 6 or 7 miles from our lines; on a plain under the cannon of the ships, just in view of the shore. Our unequal numbers would not admit attacking them on the plain when landed.