George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Major General Nathanael Greene, 11–14 July 1778

From Major General Nathanael Greene

[c.11-14 July 1778]

I would propose writing to the french Admiral that there are two objects one of the two may be improvd as a blockade or an investiture as circumstances and the practibillity of entering the Harbour of New york should be found.

The french fleet to take their station at Sandy Hook and block up the Harbour. This Army to take a position near the White Plains to cut off the Land communication and to all appearance seem to design some serious opperations against Newyork & the troops there.

General Sullivan to be wrote to, desiring to know what force he has, that may be considerd in the charactor of regular troops what force is from the neighbouring States and expected in a few days, & what Militia can be brought together in Eight days time & how the Magazines are prepard for such a consumption & whether there is Boats to make a landing upon Rhode Island to learn the Strength of the Enemy there and the number of their Ships & of what force.

In the mean time the Admiral to make himself acquainted with the depth of water into Newyork and the Ships & force there. On the return of the Express from General Sullivan the admiral to determin from the enquiry he shall make and the information General Sullivan shall give which will be the most elligible, object. But if it should be found that the fleet can come into the Harbour of Newyork, this Army will be ready to coopperate with him as far as the Nature of the Country & the situation of the Enemy will admit.

The fleet from Sandy Hook can run into Newport in three days time that, that station will be favorable for either the one or the other of the measures—as should be found hereafter to be the most certain of success.

I would inform the admiral of the difficulty of approaching Newyork by Land, of the Enemies strength there; and send a verbal account of our own strength and intended position. I would also send him a Copy of the Letter to G. Sullivan if it is not thought dangerous as it is possible it may fall into the Enemies hands.

AD, DLC:GW. This letter was probably written before GW’s letter to Vice Admiral d’Estaing of 14 July. It must have been written after the army heard of the French fleet’s arrival on the American coast, the news of which reached GW by 11 July.

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