George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Laurens, 16 August 1778

To Henry Laurens

Head Qrs White plains Augt 16: 1778


Since I had the honor of addressing you to day by Captain Riley, I received a Letter from General Sullivan, a Copy of which you have inclosed.1 From this it appears the Count D’Estaing had not returned with his Squadron on the 13th Inst.—and there is reason to fear from the violence of the Weather ever since, that he has not yet got in. This accident has much deranged our views—and I shall be happy if it does not totally defeat our Enterprize against Rhode Island. I feel much for the Count. He has been peculiarly unfortunate in the combination of several untoward circumstances to frustrate his plans.

The Letter addressed to you accompanied mine from General Sullivan.2 They were both delivered at the same instant and through inadvertency, I broke the seal of yours. Before I had opened it I discovered the mistake, and the contents have not been seen. This relation I trust will apologize for the measure. I have the Honor to be with the greatest respect & esteem Sir Your Most Obedt servant

Go: Washington

P.S. Your favor of the 13th has come to hand.

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, ScHi: Henry Laurens Papers; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 19 Aug.; 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 , 11:812.

2GW is referring to Sullivan’s letter to Laurens of 14 Aug. (DNA:PCC, item 160).

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