George Washington Papers

From George Washington to David Forman, 5 August 1781

Head Quarters Dobbs’s Ferry 5th Augt 1781.

Dear Sir

I last night recd yours of the 3d instant—Graves’s Fleet was certainly off Block Island a few days ago—It is supposed he has taken that position, to cover the Quebec Ships as they pass along, and at the same time give those which may be expected from Virginia an opportunity of making their voyage safely.

I am not acquainted with the private signals of Mr de Grasse, but I think it may soon be discovered, upon the appearance of a Fleet, whether they are Friends or Foes. If the latter, they will immediately send in a light ship or one will come out to them.

One of the Expresses informs me that their Route from Brunswic is through Woodbridge—Elizabeth Town—Newark—second River and Hackensack, which is certainly the most exposed that can possibly be. It will soon be known by the enemy that we have Expresses upon that communication, and if they are continued upon it, they will undoubtedly intercept some of them. I would recommend it to you immediately to change the Route to the following. From Brunswic thro’ Westfeild—Springfeild—Wesel or Slotterdam—Paramus and from thence to Dobbs’s ferry. This I beleive is rather nearer and is so far up the Country that the enemy’s small parties scarce ever venture so high. I am with great Esteem Dear Sir yr most obt Servt

Go: Washington


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