In Council Philada Aug. 29. 1781
The Intelligence received by a Flag from Providence is so important that I consider not only a Matter of Respect but of indispinsable Duty to forward it to your Excelly with all possible Dispatch.
The Prisoners (American Captains) say that in 24 Fathom Water they fell in with 14 British Men of War of the Line under Admiral Drake, other Vessels made up the whole Squadron to 22 viz. Frigates & Bombketches. all bound to New York. That fearing this Vessel would give Intelligence of their Arrival they kept her in Tow several Days but about 4 Days ago finding themselves so near their Port they let her go. It is generally supposed that they must be arrived by this Time & it is probable your Excelly may have heard it more directly if so you will be so good as to excuse the Trouble [arising] from my well meant Zeal.
We have given Col. Miles all the Assistance in our Power in the Execution of your Orders respecting Transportation—& the like to the Officer sent by the Count de Rochambeau to establish a Hospital—We shall on all Occasions exert ourselves to answer your Expectations & comply with your Desires. I have the Honor to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellys most Obedt & very Hbble Serv[t]
Jos: Reed President
P.S. The Captains are confident there are no Troops on board the Fleet except their usual Complement of Marines—nor any Transports in Company.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.