George Washington Papers

VIII. From George Washington to Major General Stirling, 4 October 1779

To Major General Stirling

West-point Octr 4th 1779

My Lord,

By advices which I have just received from Congress, I have no doubt of the French fleet (under Count D’Estaing) coming this way—and that it will appear in these Seas immediately1—The prospect of preventing the retreat of the garrisons at Stony—and Verplanks point ⟨(⟩so far as it [is] to be effected by a Land operation) again revives upon probable ground,2 and I am to request, that your Lordship will concert with General Wayne the proper means; having regard to a relative position to this Post; and the certainty of forming a junction with the Troops at it, in case the enemy (contrary to expectation) should move in force from below.3 With great regard & esteem I am—Yr Lordships Most obed⟨t⟩ & affece Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. Your Lordship will readily see the propriety of keeping this design as much as possible from public view.

ALS, NHi: Stirling Papers; ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The ALS is incorrectly docketed: “Octobr 14th 1779.”

2GW had previously written to Stirling about conducting this operation on 14 Sept., but he had canceled it when reports of the approach of Vice Admiral d’Estaing’s French fleet had proved false.

3Stirling’s division, the forward division of the army west of the Hudson River, was stationed near Ramapo, New Jersey. Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne’s Light Infantry Corps was stationed in the vicinity of Haverstraw Forge and Stony Point, N.Y. (see Wayne to GW, 28 Sept., and GW to Wayne, 29 Sept.; see also GW to Wayne, 2 Oct.). GW sent similar orders on this date to Maj. Gen. Robert Howe, who commanded the forward division east of the Hudson River (see Document V).

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