Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from George Washington, 22 October 1781

From George Washington

L (draft):5 Library of Congress; copies: Library of Congress, National Archives; transcript: National Archives

Head Quarters near York in Virginia 22d Octo 1781


As the transmission of the inclosed paper thru the usual channel of the department of foreign affairs, would on the present occasion probably be attended with great delay—and recent intelligence of Mility [military] Transactions must be important to our Ministers in Europe at the present period of Affairs— I have thought it wd be agreeable both to Congress and Yr Excelly. that the matter shd be communicated immediately by a french frigate dispatched by Adml. de Grasse—6 Annexed to the Capitulation7 is a summary return of the prisoners and Cannon taken in the two places of York and Gloucester—8

I have added upon the principles abovementioned an Extract of Genl. Greenes Report of his last Action in south Carolina—9

I have the honor to be

Doctr Franklin
M Adams
M Jay.

Notation: New York 22d Octo. 1781 to their Excellency’s Doct Franklin John Adams & John Jay Esqres

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5In the hand of John Laurens, one of the heroes of Yorktown (Freeman, Washington, V, 369–71). An LS of a similar letter to JA is at the Mass. Hist. Soc.

6The news of Cornwallis’ capitulation was first sent on the frigate Surveillante (carrying the duc de Lauzun), quickly followed by the frigate Andromaque (carrying Guillaume, comte de Deux-Ponts): Rice and Brown, eds., Rochambeau’s Army, I, 62n, 151; Gaz. de Leyde, Dec. 4, 1781; Samuel Abbott Green, ed., My Campaigns in America: a Journal Kept by Count William de Deux-Ponts, 1780–81 (Boston, 1868), p. 153.

7For the Oct. 19 capitulation see Rice and Brown, eds., Rochambeau’s Army, I, 144–7. Copies of the document are at the APS and the Hist. Soc. of Pa.

8Perhaps that published in Rice and Brown, eds., Rochambeau’s Army, I, 148–9. The allies captured approximately 8,500 prisoners and more than 200 cannon: ibid., I, 61.

9Undoubtedly the one sent BF by Livingston on Oct. 20, above. Greene sent Washington a copy: Richard K. Showman et al., eds., The Papers of General Nathanael Greene (10 vols. to date, Chapel Hill, 1976–), IX, 362–3.

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