To The American Troops Before the Battle of Long Island
The time is now near at hand, which must probably determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them.
The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of a brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer, or to die.
Our own, our country’s honour call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion; and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world.
Let us, then rely on the goodness of our cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being, in whose hands victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble actions.
The eyes of all our countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the tyranny mediated against them.
Let us, therefore, animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world that a free man, contending for liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.
Liberty, property, life, and honour are all at stake; upon your courage and conduct rest the hopes of our bleeding and insulted country. Our wives, children, and parents expect safety from us alone, and they have every reason to believe that Heaven will crown with success so just a cause.
The enemy will endeavour to intimidate by show and appearance; but, remember, they have been repulsed on various occasions by a few brave Americans. Every good soldier will be silent and attentive – wait for orders and reserve his fire until he is sure of doing execution.