James Moylan to the Commissioners
L’Orient 17 Augst. 1778
The Brig Lady Washington Cap: Rowntree arrived here yesterday from James River Virginia loaded with Tobacco. She sail’d from thence the 8th. July. The Captain tells me the two army’s were then in the Jerseys, and that the Enemy’s ships were still in the Delaware, in order I suppose to insure it’s retreat if necessary, that General Washington’s army amounted to 18,000 men,1 the people in general in high spirits and the money increasing in it’s value. He gives no other account of Count D’Esting, than that his fleet was daily expected, on which account the English Naval forces were united in Delaware. I have the honor to be respectfully Honble. Gentlemen Your assurd hle. st.,2
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honorable Plenipotentiary Ministers of the United States of America at Passy”; docketed: “Mr. Moylan ans. Aug. 22. 1778”; in another hand between the lines of JA’s docketing: “17. Aug. 78.”
1. In terms of the total forces under Washington’s command, this figure is low. In June, following the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse, Washington’s army consisted of 24,405 men and increased to 28,638 in July following the movement of the army to White Plains, N.Y. (Charles H. Lesser, ed., Sinews of Independence, Chicago, 1976, p. 72–73, 76–77).
2. The Commissioners’ answer on the 22d emphasized their desire for information about Estaing’s fleet (LbC, Adams Papers).