George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Major General Robert Howe, 5 September 1779

To Major General Robert Howe

Head Quarters West Point 5th Septr 1779

Dear Sir

I have this morning been favd with your private and public letters of yesterday.1 The Reinforcement of the enemy2—their vigilance at their advanced posts—and seeming desire to draw you down towards them, all conspire to forbid your making any attempt upon them, and to cause a more than common attention on your part.3

Finding by the date of yours of yesterday that you was still at lower salem,4 I am under some apprehensions that you have not recd mine of the 28th Augt in which you are directed to move further this way that you may be in readiness to form a junction should there be occasion. I inclose an extract of that letter, lest the original should have miscarried by which you will be guided.5

I by no means think it eligible for you to move down for the purpose of making a forage, more especially as, by the intelligence of ——, the Enemy will be prepared to receive you—I have no news from any quarter since my last. I am &c.

P.S. As soon as you have moved your present post inform me of it6—I have given the necessary orders to Capt. Belden to proceed and meet the Minister. He will be releived at New Windsor.7

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1These letters have not been found.

2GW is referring to the 3,800 British army reinforcements that had arrived at New York on 25 Aug. (see GW to John Jay, 24–27 Aug., and n.8 to that document). For the full scope of GW’s defensive preparations for the arrival of this long-expected British reinforcement, see GW to Jay, 11 Aug., n.5.

3GW is referring to Howe’s prospective raid on the British outposts above King’s Bridge, N.Y. (see GW to Howe, 9 [second letter], 20 [second letter], and 24 Aug.). GW had become concerned over Howe’s delay in executing the operation (see GW to Howe, 28 Aug.).

4Lower Salem (now Lewisboro) in Westchester County, N.Y., was about thirteen miles east of Mount Kisco.

5The enclosed extract has not been found; for the full letter, see GW to Howe, 28 August.

6No letter from Howe to GW on this subject has been found; however, on 11 Sept., GW gave Howe further advice on selecting a new position for his division.

7GW is referring to La Luzerne, the new minister plenipotentiary of France, who had arrived at Boston on 3 Aug. and had just departed that city for Philadelphia. For the itinerary of La Luzerne’s party on their journey from Boston to Philadelphia, see GW to Howe, 18 Aug., n.1. For La Luzerne’s visit with GW at West Point, see Substance of a Conference with La Luzerne, 16 Sept., and the notes to that document. For GW’s orders to Capt. Ezekiel Belden, see GW to Belden, this date; see also the source note to the orders of this date from GW’s aide-de-camp Richard Kidder Meade to the officer commanding Henry Lee’s corps.

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