George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General John Sullivan, 21 September 1778

From Major General John Sullivan

Providence 21st Septemr 1778

My Dear General

By a Flag Just Returned from Newport I find that Admiral Biron in a Ninety gun Ship has Arrived at Newport a Seventy four gun Ship has also Arrived with him: Those Ships were Seperated from the Fleet in a Storm1—The Fleet which I mentioned to your Excellencey as going westward have not Since been heard of I then thought New London might be their object but as they have not been Discovered in that Quarter I think they must Either be taking in wood & water at the East of Long Island or Returned on the South of the Island to New york: I Rather think the former as a number of Deserters Left them at Bedford who all agree that they were almost out of water & what they had on Board was Scarcely fit to Drink2 I have the Honor to be my Dear General with the highest gratitude Esteem & Respect your Excys most obedt Servt

Jno. Sullivan


1Vice Adm. John Byron arrived at Newport from Sandy Hook on 18 Sept. in the 90-gun Princess Royal accompanied by the 74-gun Culloden, and he remained there until 28 Sept. (see Mackenzie Diary description begins Diary of Frederick Mackenzie Giving a Daily Narrative of His Military Service as an Officer of the Regiment of Royal Welch Fusiliers during the Years 1775–1781 in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. 2 vols. Cambridge, Mass., 1930. description ends , 2:396, 399; see also Alexander Clough to GW, 18 Sept., and note 2 to that document).

2This fleet was the one carrying Maj. Gen. Charles Grey’s troops back to New York from their recent raids on New Bedford and Fairhaven, Mass., and Martha’s Vineyard, which arrived at Whitestone, Long Island, on 17 September. For Sullivan’s apprehensions of a British attack on New London, Conn., see his letter to GW of 17 September. For the rumors of such an attack, see also Ezekiel Cornell to Lafayette, 13 Sept., in Sullivan to GW, 15 Sept., n.2; Horatio Gates to GW, 23 Sept.; and Charles Scott to GW, 27 Sept. (first letter).

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