George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette, 27 October 1780

Elizabeth town October the 27th 1780

My dear General

From what you have heard from dr hagen about the Boats when on your way to head quarters, I don’t Believe that you may have kept any hope for our succes—the Boats have been it seems Reduc’d to five, and from the time when they were yet at the little falls you May see that they Could not be here at the appointed hour.

I will not permit Myself to Reflect on this Moment upon the Many Blunders Committed on that affair By the quarter master general’s department—I was too Certain of some Brillant succes, and Military Glory is too much idolized By me not to be Rather Severe on the Occasion—I will Contain Myself to Say that from the Report and common agreement of all the Spies and guides Collected together By Major Lee, from the Negligence of the Ennemy, the Circumstances of the tide and a thik foggy weather, not one of those whom I led into the Matter had the least doubt upon our success.

The only advantage I have got from it has been to Convince Myself that our troops are particularly fit for such an expedition on account of theyr patience and Silence, and that if the other Business Could be supported upon a large scale, I would answer to Carry it I have writen upon Both Roads to the Commanding officer of the Brigade from the line that our expedition was Relinquish’d and that I could advice him not to give to his men the trouble of Going further—I have also Requested him to speack of this Movement as if it had taken place on account of some intelligence that the Ennemy mean to Come out—into the jersay’s to attack us.

I have taken my position Between Elizabeth town and Connecticut Farms—Gal Clinton has not the time of Making Any disposition against us—to morrow at Nine or ten I will march to our position of Crane’s Town, and the day after to morrow to [totawa] unless I Receive Contrary order.

Newark Mountain was Rather too far to March it this Night and too Near for to morrow Because our men Being in want of Blankets will like Better to join theyr Lines again.

if your excellency approuves of this Arrangiment, I Beg you will order our Baggage to wait for us on our position of Cranes Town—if you dislike the disposition your orders may Reach us in the Road.

I Beg, My dear general, you will please to Communicate our ill succes, and disgracefull disappointment to the Minister who said he would not leave Morristown untill he hears from me.

had I Any thing to Reproach to myself on the occasion I would be inconsolable—I undertook the Business Because I thought myself equal to it, I wish the people in the quarter master department had done the same for theyr plans. I am my dear Gen. yours



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