Camp at the high hills of Santee August 7th 1781
Governor Rutledge has arrivd in Camp and brings me such flattering accounts of large reinforcment expected from the West Indies as induces me to send for a farther explanation; and also to forward the present situation of the Southern department. I hope the fleet will stay to compleat the reduction of Charlestown as well as New York. But if this is not to be expected I could wish to know it as early as possible as the measures I shall take in one case will be different from what I should pursue in the other. If New York should fall and the french forces come to the Southward I suppose your Excellency will accompany them as there can be nothing left to the Northward worthy of your farther attention. I think your presence will greatly facilitate the recovery of this Country. But I am afraid the french will run off to the west Indies, after staying with us a few weeks, and leave the business unfinished. Indeed I am so apprehensive of this, that I am afraid to make the least dependance upon them for the relief of this Country; and can hardly flatter my self that their stay will be long enough to compleat the reduction of New York. It is certainly their interest to enable us to drive out the enimy from the United States; for if a peace should take place and the Independance of America should be established, and the enimy hold their several posts, it will give them the greater part of the trade of America, and lay a foundation for a future alliance, much to the disadvantage of France. This matter in my opinion should be impressed upon the French Court; and nobody can do it so effectually if it is your opinion as you can.
We continue to struggle here; but have not been able to drive the Enemy into the lower Country. They are in force now upon the Congaree; and if I can collect the Militia which I am afraid will be difficult I mean to give them battle. But if I could rely upon the aid which the Minister promises I would let them remain; provided they would let us alone. But uncertain as I am respecting that event; and apprehensive of the disagreeable effect it will have upon Country I think to attempt their removal. Most respectfully yours
DLC: Papers of George Washington.