George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Horatio Gates, 11 October 1778

To Major General Horatio Gates

Head Quarters Fredericksburgh Octr 11th 1778


Your favour of yesterday was handed me in the afternoon—I thank you for the communication of Major Gray’s letter.1 I have received a correspondent account from another quarter, with only this difference, that there is said to have been forty instead of twenty five sail in the Sound.2 I am assured by the Gentlemen who are charged with procuring intelligence in the Jerseys, that the English fleet were within the hook the seventh instant.3

I doubt not your division is held in readiness to march at any moment—I expect soon some interesting and decisive intelligence which will possibly determine whether any of the troops ought to move immediately Eastward. I am Sir Your most Obedt servt

Go: Washington

p.s. You will please fo[r]ward the inclosed by express.4

LS, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, NHi: Gates Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Gates’s letter to GW of 10 Oct. has not been found, but the enclosed letter that Maj. Ebenezer Gray wrote to Gates at 2 p.m. on 9 Oct. is in DLC:GW. It reads: “I think it my Duty to inform you that within one hour past there hath been seen a Fleet of about 25 Sail passing Eastward, among which there is four or five pretty large Ships, the weather is so thick & hazy that we could not discover the magnitude of the others they were scarcely Visible—this Morning Ensign Hubbard returned from the Iland. all the Intelligence that he brings is collected from People in Huntington. they inform that there was a Fleet under Convoy of Two Ships, to Sail from N. York some where with Troops, but for some reasons are detained—that one Regt of Brittish Troops are soon expected at that Place.

“That it is beleived there, that Halifax is taken by the French & that in Consequence of that the Enemy will winter in N. York. Your Honr will Judge of what weight these Rumors among the People are.

“I have two Persons now on the other Business, which will be accomplished Sunday Night if the Weather permits. the Distance and some other matters that could not be avoided delays the Completion of it until that Time.

“on monday I shall forward it to you.” The following Monday was 12 October.

2GW is referring to the intelligence in Charles Scott’s letter to him of 10 October.

3For this intelligence, see Stirling to GW, 8 October.

4The draft reads: “by the relay expresses.” The enclosure may have been GW’s letter to John Sullivan of this date, which conveys Gray’s intelligence to him.

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