George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Vice Admiral d’Estaing, 20 September 1778

To Vice Admiral d’Estaing

20th September 1778.


I had the honor of writing to Your Excellency yesterday from Fort Clinton1—since which I have received intelligence by a New York paper that Admiral Byron in the princess Royal of ninety guns—accompanied by the Culloden Capt. Balfour of seventy four, arrived at New York on the 16th instant.2 the same paper mentions that an armed Sloop from Hallifax announces the arrival of the following Regiments there—vizt the Seventieth—The Duke of Hamiltons, said to consist of one thousand men—and the Duke of Argyles highlanders said to amount to eleven hundred.3

The Arrival of Admiral Byron is confirmed by intelligence which I have received thro’ another Channel4—that of the three Regiments may want confirmation—the common practice of exaggerating numbers, at least gives us room to doubt the strength of the Corps.

Your Excellencys Letter by Colonel Fleury was detained by the laudable motives, which Your Excellency foresaw—and did not reach me ’till a day or two ago.5 I have the honor to be with every Sentiment of Respect Your Excellencys most obedt and most humble Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in John Laurens’s writing, FrPNA, Fonds de la Marine, ser. B4, vol. 146, f. 275; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1GW’s letter to d’Estaing of 19 Sept. was dated at Fishkill. Fort Clinton at West Point had been renamed Fort Arnold in May 1778.

2GW apparently is referring to the 17 Sept. issue of the Royal American Gazette (New York), which has not been found (see GW to John Sullivan, this date). George Balfour (d. 1794) was commissioned a lieutenant in the Royal Navy in 1745 and was promoted to commander in 1756 and captain in 1758. In January 1781 Balfour lost the Culloden but saved himself and his crew when the ship ran aground near Montauk Point on the eastern end of Long Island.

3The three regiments that arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, in August were the 70th Regiment, which previously had been stationed in the West Indies, the 82d Regiment of Foot (also called the Duke of Hamilton’s Regiment), which had been raised recently in Lanarkshire, Scotland, and the 74th Regiment (also called Campbell’s Highlanders or the Argyll Highlanders), which had been raised recently in Argyllshire, Scotland.

4GW apparently is referring to Alexander Clough’s letter to him of 18 September.

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