From Major General Benedict Arnold
Philadelphia July 8th 1778.
Yesterday I had the honor of your Excellency’s favour of the 6th and am very happy to hear the Enemy have suffered so very considerably in their march thro’ the Jerseys—I make no doubt this Campaign will be crown’d with success, & that your Excellency will soon enjoy in peace the Laurels you have with so much perseverence, toil & hazard reaped in the Iron field of War.
My extreme illness has prevented my writing as often as I wished; at present I am entirely free from the disorder in my stomach; my wound is in a p[r]omising way and pretty free from pain.
I presume General Portail will return to Philada again, no measures will be taken respecting the Works here & those to be constructed untill I receive your Excellency’s instructions on the subject.
Three hundred prisoners of War will go from this tomorrow morning on their way to New York, and as many the last of this week—The whole number of deserters arrived here is upwards of Six hundred—I have the honor to be with the greatest respect, most Affectionately & Sincerely Dr General your Excellency’s Obedt Humble servant
Since writing the above an Express is arriv’d to Congress from France by the way of Boston, with intelligence that on the 15 of April a French fleet sailed from Tolu [Toulon] consisting of twelve sail of the Line, seven Frigates & four Xebecs—which we may hourly expect to arrive in this or Chesepeak Bay—By this express dispatches have come for the Admiral & Monsieur Gerard1—Count De Esteen commands the fleet.
Admiral Keppel sailed the 24 of April from St Helens with eleven sail of the Line.
May 5th 17 Sail of the Line were in the Brest road eight others were to join them in a few days exclusive of Frigates.
1. When he was nominated in March 1778 as France’s first minister to the United States, Conrad-Alexandre Gérard (1729–1790) was serving as commissioner of boundaries in the French department of foreign affairs. He remained as minister until September 1779.