George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, 20 June 1781

Windham, June 20th 1781.


I am now at my third day’s march with the 1st regiment, having experienced a great inconvenience from the ox teams which bring the tents at the camp only at Night and very Long after the arrival of the Troops, many waggons of all kinds broken, and the artillery horses are very weak considering the badness of the roads. However, I expect to arrive at Hartford on the Fifth day but as the same inconveniencies may be greater still for the other divisions that follow me, I believe I shall be obliged to stay a couple of days at Hartford to rally the Whole, and from whence I propose setting out to go to New Windsor and take Your Excellency’s orders.

I have received your Excellency’s Letters of the 13th and 17th instant. As I have read in the Letter that the Ch. de La Luzerne writes to the Count de Grasse, that your Excellency preferred that he should make his first appearance at New York, I wrote in [   ] to mine, that I submitted, as I ought, my opinion to yours; That Letter is gone with the Concorde: The Count de Barras having told me, before my departure, that he proposed sending another frigate, I have left a duplicata with him In which I have put all the paragraph of your Letter which relates to the different points where you desire he should take Land on this coast. I add that it is not possible to tell him before hand where the Enemy’s fleet will be that probably it will cruize either off New york or chesapeak or will be anchored in one of these two points.

I send to the Count de Barras the paragraph of your Excellency’s Letter of the 17th June. I am ignorant of what he will answer, but I can say to Your Excellency from the conversation I have had with him, the night before I left Providence, that he wants a prodigious quantity of Seamen, that he intends taking all he can from the convoy and the Sagittaire which he proposes to leave at Boston unarmed, and that, with all, he will be put to it to man the battle of line ships that remain and that it is very far from being in his power to arm the Fantasque, as to men and guns.

I congratulate your Excellency on General Greene’s Success, but I would prefer to hear that he is united and joined to the Marquis de La fayette to defend Virginia, rather that all Successes whatever in Carolina, where I don’t think he is a condition to take Charlestown. I am with respect and personal attachment, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most obedient humble servant

le Cte de Rochambeau

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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