George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Laurens, 12 July 1778

To Henry Laurens

Camp at pyramus [N.J.] July 12th 1778


On friday evening I had the honor to receive your Letter of the 7th Instant, with it’s inclosures.1

The vote of approbation and thanks, which Congress have been pleased to honor me with, gives me the highest satisfaction, and, at the same time, demands a return of my sincerest acknowledgements. The other resolution, I communicated, with great pleasure, to the Army at large in Yesterday’s orders.2

The left wing of the Army, which advanced yesterday four miles beyond this, moved this morning on the route towards King’s ferry. The right and the second line, which makes the last division are now here,3 where they will halt for a day or two or perhaps longer, if no circumstances of a pressing nature cast up, in order to refresh themselves from the great fatigues they have suffered from the intense heat of the weather.

We have had it reported for two or three days, through several channels from New-York, that there is a french fleet on the Coast; and it is added, that the Enemy have been manning with the utmost dispatch several of their Ships of war which were there, and have pushed them out to sea. How far these facts are true, I cannot determine, but I should think it of infinite importance to ascertain the first if possible, by sending out swift sailing Cruizers. The most interesting advantages might follow the information. I will try by every practicable means, that I can devise, to obtain an accurate account of the Enemy’s fleet at New York. I have the Honor to be with great respect & esteem sir Yr Most Obedt sert

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The LS was docketed in part, “Read 15. 1778”; see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 11:688–89.

1GW was referring to Laurens’s official letter to him of 8 July, enclosing resolutions of 7 July. The previous Friday was 10 July.

2For the resolutions, see Laurens to GW, 8 July, and note 1 to that document.

3On the draft, Harrison initially wrote, “The right is now on their ground and the second line, which makes the last division, will, I expect be here by nine or Ten oClock” before changing the text to the words of the LS.

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