George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Laurens, 4 September 1778

To Henry Laurens

Head Qrs White plains Sept. 4 1778


I had the pleasure to hear this morning by a Letter from General Sullivan of the 31st Ulto, that he had effected a retreat to the main, the preceding night, without any loss, either of men or Stores. As he has written to Congress fully upon the subject, and I feel their anxiety to hear it, I shall not detain Major Morris longer than to observe, that I think the retreat a most fortunate—lucky and well timed event.1

Major Morris informs me he has heard that Lord Howe was off Boston with his fleet—and it appears by a New York paper of the 2d, that Rear Admiral Parker arrived at Sandy Hook on this day week, with Six Ships of the line of Seventy four guns each, which is corroborated by other accounts. I transmitted the intelligence to His Excellency, Count D’Estaing yesterday, and the day before—as it acquired more and more the appearance of certainty2 as I have regularly done every occur[renc]e, interesting to his Fleet, & our Operations. I have the Honor to be with the greatest respect & esteem sir Yr Most Obedt Servt

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. GW signed the cover of the LS. Congress read this letter on 7 Sept. and referred the enclosure to the committee of intelligence (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 , 12:884–85).

1For Maj. Gen. John Sullivan’s letter to Laurens of 31 Aug., see DNA:PCC, item 160; see also Laurens Papers description begins Philip M. Hamer et al., eds. The Papers of Henry Laurens. 16 vols. Columbia, S.C., 1968–2003. description ends , 14:248–54.

2GW wrote the text from this point to the complimentary closing of the LS; that clause does not appear on the draft or Varick transcript.

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