George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General John Sullivan, 20 October 1779

To Major General John Sullivan

Hd Qrs [West Point] Octr 20th 1779

Dr Sr

The crowded situation of the Troops in this quarter & the difficulty in procuring forage & other matters induces me to desire you will halt those under your command, in the neighbourhood of Chester where they will be best accommodated.1 Any distance from 4 to 12 miles above that place towards Sussex Court House will be a convenient position, & answer every purpose in case a co-operation with the Count should happen—I have mentioned the matter to Genl Greene, who will probably have fixed on the ground for your encampment and will give you timely notice2 When you are fixed in your Camp you will be pleased, to take every opportunity of maneuvreing the troops—The necessity of doing it I need not urge to you—The hours fixed on here for that purpose are from 9 to 11 in the forenoon & from 3 to 5 in the afternoon3—We have no certain accounts of the french fleet, or what success it has had to the Southward—The report however is, that both the British Army & Navy there are captured—A short time must determine the truth of this report.4 I am, &ca


Df, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1GW had ordered Sullivan, who had completed his expedition against the Six Nations, to march his brigades to join the main army (see GW to Sullivan, 3 Oct.).

2Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene wrote to Sullivan on this date directing him to halt his brigades at Warwick, N.Y., about eight miles southwest of Chester, N.Y., but GW changed these orders five days later ordering Sullivan to move his division to Suffern in Orange County, N.Y., to guard the entrance to Smiths Clove (see Greene Papers, description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends 4:482, and GW to Sullivan, 25 Oct., DLC:GW).

4For GW’s preparations for joint operations with the fleet of Vice Admiral d’Estaing and the failure of d’Estaing’s attack on Savannah, Ga., see Planning for an Allied Attack on New York, c.3–7 October.

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