George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Brigadier General Duportail and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton, 1 November 1779

To Brigadier General Duportail and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton

Head Quarters West point 1st Novemr 1779


I have this day been favd with yours of the 26th ulto informing me of your removal to Great Egg Harbour. My letter of the 18th, which had not reached you, went, as you supposed, by way of Philada, and lest any accident may have happened to it, I inclose you a duplicate1—Mine of the 30th ulto, which went thro’ Major Lee, informed you of the evacuation of Rhode Island: I have since recd a letter of the 21st last from my confidential Correspondent in New York;2 he informs me, that Rawdons Corps—the 57th and some of the Artillery, were then embarked, and it was said, and generally beleived, that they were bound to Hallifax3—That the Robuste of 74 Guns had arrived the 20th from Hallifax, and that a number of transports were taking on Water and Ballast.4 He gave me nothing further worth communicating.

You will find by the letter of the 18th that a provision of Fascines and Gabions was making and I shall give directions to the Qr Mr Genl to provide a quantity of Sand Bags.5

I am sorry to inform you that Colo. la Radiere died on Saturday last. He is to be buried this day with the honors due to his Rank.6 I am with great Esteem Gentlemen Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. Upon a presumption that Colo. Laurens will be on Board the fleet the enclosed are sent to you.7

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC: Alexander Hamilton Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1In a letter to John Mitchell of this date, GW enclosed this letter to Duportail and Hamilton along with a duplicate of his 18 Oct. letter to them. The letter to Mitchell reads: “The inclosed contains the duplicate of a letter of great importance, the original of which I fear may have miscarried—You will therefore be pleased to give it the utmost dispatch” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). In his communication dated 18 Oct., GW expressed his willingness to follow any plan Vice Admiral d’Estaing proposed to operate “against the enemy at New-York, or Rhode Island, in the most effectual manner that our strength and resources will admit.”

2For this letter from Robert Townsend (who wrote as Samuel Culper, Jr.) to Benjamin Tallmadge of 21 Oct., see GW’s instructions to Tallmadge, 17 Oct., source note.

3William Smith, royal chief justice of New York, wrote in his memoirs under 16 Oct.: “I believe Sir H. Clinton had laid aside the Detachment of 3 Regiments to Hallifax. It is now resumed and they are imbarking” (Sabine, Smith’s Historical Memoirs description begins William H. W. Sabine, ed. Historical Memoirs . . . of William Smith, Historian of the Province of New York. 2 vols. New York, 1956–58. description ends [1971], 176). Smith then wrote under 20 Oct.: “The Troops for Hallifax disimbarking and the Admiral [Marriot Arbuthnot] has changed his Design of going there” (Sabine, Smith’s Historical Memoirs description begins William H. W. Sabine, ed. Historical Memoirs . . . of William Smith, Historian of the Province of New York. 2 vols. New York, 1956–58. description ends [1971], 178; see also Culper, Jr., to John Bolton, 29 Oct., and n.5 to that document, printed as an enclosure to Tallmadge to GW, 1 Nov.).

4In his journal entries for 18 and 19 Oct., New York City printer Hugh Gaine reported that transports were prepared and sent to Sandy Hook, N.J., to await the arrival of Vice Adm. Peter Parker’s fleet from the West Indies (see Ford, Journals of Hugh Gaine, description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed. The Journals of Hugh Gaine, Printer. 1902. Reprint. [New York] 1970. description ends 2:68).

5Duportail and Hamilton had asked for sandbags in their letter to GW of 26 Oct. (see also Tench Tilghman to Nathanael Greene, 3 Nov., found at GW to William Maxwell, 1 Nov., n.8).

6For French engineer Colonel La Radière’s burial on this date, see General Orders, 31 Oct., source note. He had died on Saturday, 30 October.

7The enclosures meant for Lt. Col. John Laurens have not been identified. For the belief that Laurens would be with Vice Admiral d’Estaing’s fleet, see Henry Laurens to GW, 7–9 October. D’Estaing abandoned sailing north after his defeat at Savannah on 9 Oct. (see Planning for an Allied Attack on New York, c.3–7 Oct., editorial note).

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