George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, 6 April 1781

Newport, April 6th 1781.


I have communicated to the chevalier Destouches some proposals made to me by the Council at Boston about an attack on Penobscot, together with the Answer made to me by your Excellency upon that subject. The chevalier Destouches Appeared to have a great mind to it. he ordered Mr DelaPerouse to ask a Plan of it which was brought to us yesterday by deputies from Boston; after examining it, he proposes sending two 64. gun Ships one Pink and two frigates, and has asked me what number of Land forces I thought it would be necessary to join thereto. I See that the fort is square with 4. small bastions, in which there is only 350. men for garrison, as the Deputies from Boston assure. I thought that 600. men of Land forces, with the Artillery soldiers necessary for 4. mortars of 13. inches and 4. twenty four pounders, were Sufficient for that expedition, that some militia of the neighbouring country could be assembled, and that if a greater number of great guns were necessary, the Ships could furnish them, but I have told the Chr Destouches, that tho’ I was persuaded as well as he that the moment was very favorable for that expedition, which will be the more agreeable as it if undertaken directly after his engagement on the 16th ulto. I was under your command and consequently would wait for your Excellency’s approbation before I could give him a positive answer. It is with a great deal of sorrow, that I see the Departure of our Transports resolved on. The Chevalier Destouches has shewn me the positive orders which he has received about it from his Minister, by the frigate L’Astrée and they are to set sail for a certain destination escorted by a Frigate. The Minister in his Letter assures that the Convoy which will arrive very soon will replace them, and that the King will give us all means plentifully when once the plan of the Campaign is resolved on. I am with respect and personal attachment, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient & most humble Servant

le cte de Rochambeau

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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