To Major General Nathanael Greene
White-plains Augt 21st 1778.
On Wednesday afternoon I re⟨ce⟩ived your favor of the 12th & 13th
Inst. by Mr Hulet the Pilot, who did not arrive in Camp till then.1 I am much obliged by your particular relation of matters, and request that you will continue it from time to time whenever oppertunity will permit.
There was one circumstance in your relation, of which I was exceedingly sorry to hear. You will readily know which it is. I wish the utmost harmony to prevail, as it is essential to success—and that no occasions be omitted on our part to cultivate it.
Your operations have been greatly retarded by the late violent storm, but as it is now over, I trust things will go on prosperously, & that you will be rejoined by Count D’Estaign who has been kept out so long by it. Indeed, from General Sullivans Letter of the 17th, I flatter myself you will have made a compleat reduction of the Enemy’s force before this reaches you, & that the next advices I receive, will announce it.2 If the fact is otherwise, let me beseech you to guard against Sortees & surprizes—The Enemy, depend, will fall like a strong Man—will make many Sallies, & endea⟨v⟩our to possess themselves of, or de⟨s⟩troy your Artillery—and in one of these, should they put the Militia into confusion, the consequences may be fatal.
By a Letter which I received yesterday from Genl Maxwell, inclosing one from Major Howell (whom I have stationed at black point for the purpose of observation)3 it appears certain, that Sixteen of Lord Howes fleet entered the Hook on the 17th—That on that, and the preceeding day, there had been heard severe Canonades at Sea—& that it was reported in New York that a 64 Gun Ship and several Transports had been taken by the French Squadron.4 I wish the fact may be so as to the capture, and that the Count may be with you to give a narrative of it himself.
I cannot learn that Admiral Byron is arrived—nor do I believe that he is. It is said that one Ship only of the Corke Fleet is yet arrived. I have not time to add more, as Majr Blodget is in a hurry to proceed, than to assure you, that I am, with the most perfect esteem & regard Dr Sir Yr Obliged & Affecte Frd
ALS, DLC: Nathanael Greene Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. Greene’s letter of 12–13 Aug. has not been found. The previous Wednesday was 19 August. “Mr Hulet” was probably James Howlett.
2. On the draft, which is in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, the remainder of this paragraph, with slight variations in wording, was added by GW.
3. GW added the parenthetical clause to the draft.
4. Neither Brig. Gen. William Maxwell’s letter to GW nor its enclosure has been found. British captain John Peebles noted in his diary for 16 Aug., “hear’d firing in the afternoon,” and for 17 Aug., “a fleet arrived at the Hook of between 20 & 30 Sail supposed to be Lord Howe” (Gruber, Peebles’ American War description begins Ira D. Gruber, ed. John Peebles’ American War: The Diary of a Scottish Grenadier, 1776–1782. Mechanicsburg, Pa., 1998. description ends , 209).