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Exclusive Excerpt: How Astrophysics Helped Washington Win the Revolutionary War
Whereas his Excellency General Washington is in want of the use of a good Telescope; and whereas a good Telescope is absolutely necessary for the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, to discover the arrangements and operations of the enemy:
Resolved, That the Chairman of the General Committee of the City of New-York, with such other members of that Committee as he may think proper, take and deliver to His Excellency General Washington, for his use, the Telescope which belongs to, and is part of the apparatus of the College of New-York.
No. 2. Resolved, That the Convention of this State of New-York will indemnify the governours of the College at New-York, for any injury, loss, or damage, that may happen to the Telescope belonging to the said College.
As everything in a manner depends upon obtaining intelligence of the enemy’s motions, I do most earnestly entreat you and General Clinton to exert yourselves to accomplish this most desirable end. Leave no stone unturned, nor do not stick at expense to bring this to pass…
Keep, besides this precaution, constant lookouts (with good glasses [that is, spyglasses]) on some commanding heights that look well on to the other shore (and especially into the bays, where boats can be concealed), that they may observe, more particularly in the evening, if there be any uncommon movements…I should much approve of small harassing parties, stealing, as it were, over in the night, as they might keep the enemy alarmed, and more than probably bring off a prisoner, from whom some valuable intelligence may be obtained.