George Washington Papers
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[Diary entry: 8 July 1781]

8th. Began a Work at Dobbs’s ferry with a view to establish a communication there for the transportation of provision and Stores from Pensylvania.1

1At this time fortifications were being erected on both sides of the Hudson to command passage of the river. The fortifications on the left bank had recently been constructed under the direction of Louis Le Bègue Duportail (CLOSEN description begins Evelyn M. Acomb, ed. The Revolutionary Journal of Baron Ludwig von Closen, 1780–1783. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1958. description ends , 94). Work on the fortifications on the right bank was to be supervised by Jean Baptiste Gouvion, a French engineer who held the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Continental Army (General Orders, 8 July 1781, DLC:GW).

On 8 July, GW reviewed the French and American armies. This was the first glimpse for many of the French officers of the American forces. One of them, Jean François Louis, comte de Clermont-Crèvecoeur, noted in his journal: “In beholding this army I was struck, not by its smart appearance, but by its destitution: the men were without uniforms and covered with rags; most of them were barefoot. They were of all sizes, down to children who could not have been over fourteen. There were many negroes, mulattoes, etc. Only their artillerymen were wearing uniforms. These are the élite of the country and are actually very good troops, well schooled in their profession” (RICE description begins Howard C. Rice, Jr., and Anne S. K. Brown, eds. The American Campaigns of Rochambeau’s Army, 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783. 2 vols. Princeton, N.J., 1972. description ends , 1:33). See also CROMOT DU BOURG description begins [Marie François Joseph Maxime, Baron Cromot du Bourg]. “Diary of a French Officer, 1781.” Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries 4 (1880): 205–14, 293–308, 376–85, 441–52; 7 (1881): 283–95. description ends , 299; CLOSEN description begins Evelyn M. Acomb, ed. The Revolutionary Journal of Baron Ludwig von Closen, 1780–1783. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1958. description ends , 91–92.

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