George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette, 8 May 1781

Richmond May the 8th 1781

My Dear General

There is no fighting Here Unless you Have a Naval Superiority or an Army Mounted upon Race Horses. Phillip’s plan Against Richmond Has Been defeated, He was Going towards Porsmouth, and I thought it Should Be enough for me to oppose Him At Some principal points in this State—But now it Appears I will Have Business to transact With two Armies and this is Rather too much.

By letters from North Carolina I find that Lord Cornwallis who I Had Been assured Had sailed for Charlestown is advancing towards Hallifax. In Consequence of letters from the Same quarter General Phillips Has altered His plans and Returned to a place called Brandon on the South Side of james River where He landed the Night Before last. Our detachement is under March towards the Hallifax Road. His Command of the water Enabled Him to land where I Could not Reach Him. The Bridge at Peters Burg is destroïed, and Unless He Acts with an Uncommon degree of folly He will Be at Halifax Before me. Each of these armies is More than the double Superior to me. We Have no Boats, few Militia, and less arms. I will try to do for the Best, and Hope to deserve your approbation.

Nothing Can attract My Sight from the Supplies and Reinforcements destined to General Greene’s Army. While I am Going to Get Beaten By Both Armies or Each of them Separately the Baron Remains at Richmond where He Hurries the Collection of Recruits and Every other Requisite. I Have forbidded every department to give me Any thing that May Be thought useful to General Greene, and should a Battle Be Expected (an event which I will try to keep off) No Consideration will prevent our Sending to Carolina 800 Recruits who, I Hope, may Be Equipped in a fortnight. When Gal Greene Becomes Equal to offensive operations this quarter will Be Relieved. I Have wrote to Waïne to Hasten His March But Unless I am Very Hard pushed Shall Request Him to proceed South ward. The Militia Has Been ordered out But are Slow, unarmed, and not yet used to this Business. General Greene from whom I Had as yet no letters was on the 26 Before Camden But did not think Himself Equal to the Storming of the Works. Most Respectfully and affectionately, My dear General Yours


My Respects, if you please, to Mrs Washington and Compliments to the family.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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