George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Brigadier General Anthony Wayne, 5 November 1779

To Brigadier General Anthony Wayne

Head Quarters West point 5th Novr 1779

Dear Sir

I have your favr of yesterday. I can hardly suppose that a total evacuation of New York can be in contemplation at this time. but it is not improbable that they may endeavour to throw a Body of troops over to the West Indies, and the preparations you observed and have heard of may be for that purpose. However, be it a partial or total embarkation, a very little time must discover it.1 I am Dear Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, PHi: Wayne Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW signed the cover of the LS.

1Gen. Henry Clinton, then pondering major offensive operations in the South, outlined his thoughts in a letter to Lord George Germain written at New York on 17 Nov.: “My Lord, I remain yet in the most disagreeable uncertainty concerning Georgia. …

“In the case of Georgia being yet in the possession of His Majesty, the projected invasion of Carolina will be pursued with whatever attending diversions will be advisable.

“Should that province have been reduced, your lordship will be sensible of the severity of the blow and of its forcible counteraction of whatever was in agitation against Carolina. It will then behove us to concentrate our force and perhaps to risk in proportion to our danger.

“But should the rebel army remain so situated as to give no justifiable hopes of measuring our strength with them, I shall still follow up the scheme of possessing myself of and holding with the assistance of His Majesty’s friends such parts of the country as I think incline to our cause and aptly situated for our protection.

“In this view I shall probably undertake an expedition into Chesapeak Bay which may lead to the reducing to obedience the Lower Counties, which may from the numbers we suppose desirous to join us give a considerable shock in Pennsylvania and Maryland and which may very sensibly affect the trade from whence the rebel cause retains its vigour” (Davies, Documents of the American Revolution, description begins K. G. Davies, ed. Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783; (Colonial Office Series). 21 vols. Shannon and Dublin, 1972–81. description ends 17:254–55).

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