George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Major General Nathanael Greene, 6 October 1779

To Major General Nathanael Greene

[West Point 6 October 1779]

Sir

Congress having receiv’d intelligence that the Count DEstaing with a considerable Fleet & army has arrived upon this Coast & that it is the intention of our allies to operate against the enemy in these States they have been pleased to direct me to concert & execute such plans of co-operation with the Minister plenepotentiary of France, or the Count as I may think proper and to make the preparations necessary for such an event.1

You will therefore immediately take measures to provide upon the North River—Connecticut River—and in the Sound as many Boats and other Craft as may be deemed necessary for an enterprize against the enemy in New-York should an attempt upon that place and its dependancies be determined upon—You will also endeavour to provide Tents sufficient for the covering of Ten thousand Militia which number we shall be under the necessity of calling into the Field in case we commence the beforementioned operation—You will take into consideration the Number of Teams which may be thought necessary to support such an operation—and to bring forward the Military and other Store⟨s⟩ essential to the Expedition.2

I approve your plan of calling upon Majr Ayres in Phila. to employ as many Ship Carpente⟨rs⟩ as can be found willing to engage ⟨in⟩ the Expedition—They will hasten the previous preparations of the Boats as well as aid some other operations in the course of the busi⟨ness⟩3—You will generally make such preparations in your departm⟨ent⟩ as such an operation as the before mentioned may seem to require having constantly in view the necessity of being in readiness as s⟨oon⟩ as possible.4 Given at Head Qrs at West Point this 6th day of October 1779.

Go: Washington

ALS, NWM (gift of the Sol H. Feinstone Foundation, PWacD, Washington Crossing, Pa.); Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1See John Jay to GW, 26 Sept.; see also JCC, description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends 15:1108. For GW’s plans for combined operations with Vice Admiral d’Estaing’s fleet, see Planning for an Allied Attack on New York, c.3–7 October.

2GW had already alerted Greene to prepare boats and transportation for operations with d’Estaing, and Greene had made a report to GW of his action on these matters (see GW to Greene, 26 Sept., and Greene to GW, 27 Sept.; see also General Orders, this date). For GW’s call for militia to support the operations with the French, see GW to George Clinton, 4 October. For Greene’s preparation of tents for the militia, see General Orders, this date; see also Otis & Henley to Greene, 2, 9, 11, and 27 Oct., and John Mitchell to Greene, 10 Oct., in Greene Papers, description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends 4:434, 449, 453, 455, 505–6.

3For Greene’s employment of Benjamin Eyre to supervise the construction of boats on the Hudson River, see Greene to GW, 27 Sept.; see also John Cox to Green, 2 and 6 Oct., and Eyre to Greene, c.8 Oct., in Greene Papers, description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends 4:432–33, 438–39, 446–47.

4Much of Greene’s correspondence in late September and October concerned carrying out these orders; see Greene Papers, description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends 4:413–466 passim.

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