George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin, Baron [von] Steuben, 21 April 1781

Chesterfield Co. Ho. Virga 21st April 1781


The preparations of the Enemy at Portsmouth indicating an intention of operating offensively and the number of Militia in the Field being too small to afford the least prospect of resistance, I thought it prudent to remove every species of Public Stores to some distance in the Country and on the 16th Instant gave orders for that purpose.

The 18th Fourteen Sail of Vessells came up the River as high as Newport News, the next day they advanced as far up as Burwells ferry and yesterday they lay oposite James Town—I have no account of the number of Troops on board nor can I with any degree of certainty judge their intentions—Government is preparing to remove from Richmond——from whence as well as from Petersburg many of the Inhabitants have already removed.

The Militia come in very Slow—Arms will be wanting for them and Swords for the Horse which might be assembled—The Battery at Hoods is not half finished and every thing is now in the same confusion as when Arnold came up the River—there is not a single Company of Regular troops in the State & the Militia are too unexperienced to hope any great resistance from them.

I have not heard a word from General Greene since the 6th—he marched that morning towards So. Carolina. I have the honor to be with great respect Your Excellency’s most Obedt Servt


Maj: Gen.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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