“They Must Be Well Watched”

After the British landed on Long Island they advanced to within three miles of the American lines, and then they stopped. On August 23, 1776, the tension grew in New York as the American leadership tried to determine the enemy’s next move. The standoff that began on August 22 reinforced the Americans’ belief that the British were using Long Island as a diversion, and the main attack would come to Manhattan.  General William Heath of Massachusetts captured the Americans’ uneasiness on the 23rd when he wrote to Washington, “I hope soon to hear good news from Long Island. I have never been afraid of the force of the enemy: I am more [afraid] of their arts. They must be well watched.”

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