Letter carried by Constitutional Post
John Seward sent this letter, dated March 29, 1776, to his wife Mary, who lived in Sussex County. In this single page letter, Seward writes of his recent arrival to New York City and how the American soldiers are preparing to defend themselves against the British army. The letter bears no postal markings.
As Seward wrote this letter, the Revolutionary War was well underway. The early battles at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill had occurred nearly a year earlier. In the spring of 1776, Congress ordered the defense of New York from British troops searching for Loyalists. George Washington and his troops were dispatched and waited for the British army. Washington's poorly equipped and under-trained troops were defeated at the Battle of Long Island (August 17, 1776) and the Battle of Washington Heights (August 29-30, 1776).
Letters at this time commonly carried news for other families, such as Seward's note about John Welling. In addition, letter writers often included news about the war. Local publishers would mine the text for such information to add to their newspapers, listing these pieces as having come from a "correspondent."
March 29, 1776: Last Night arrived in New York all well But John Welling Left in Newark with a pain in the side. My Dear, I am in good health at present, hoping few Lines may find you as I am at present. Blessed be God for the same first Numbers of Soldiers if in town and great preparations making for Defence. I know Not when I shall Return home but I think Not long. First if I stay the month out I shall think the time Long my dear. But I shall Right to you again the first opportunity. My kind Love to you my dear and all my children: I can not . . . if such . . . So no more at present, but I remain your loving husband til death. John Seward