Adams Papers

To John Adams from George Washington, 22 October 1781

From George Washington

Head Quarters near York in Virginia 22d Octo 1781


As the Transmission of the inclosed paper1 through the usual Channel of the Department of foreign Affairs would, on the present Occasion, probably be attended with great Delay—and recent Intelligence of Military Transactions must be important to our Ministers in Europe at the present period of Affairs—I have thought it would be agreeable both to Congress and your Excellency, that the Matter should be communicated immediately by a french Frigate dispached by Admiral deGrasse.2

Annexed to the Capitulation is a summary Return of the Prisoners and Cannon taken in the two places of York and Gloucester.3

I have added, upon the Principles abovementioned, a Copy of Genl Greene’s Report of his last Action in South Carolina.4

I have the Honor to be Your Excellencys Most Obedient and Most humble Servt

Go: Washington

RC and enclosures (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Gen. Washington 22. Oct. 1781.”

1The British articles of capitulation, dated 19 October.

2The frigate Surveillante carried the Duc de Lauzun to France. He reached Paris on 19 Nov. with the first official news of Cornwallis’ surrender. JA received this letter, identical versions of which also went to Benjamin Franklin and John Jay (Washington, Writings description begins The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 17451799, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, Washington, 1931–1944; 39 vols. description ends , ed. Fitzpatrick, 23:253–254), on 30 Nov. as an enclosure in Benjamin Franklin’s letter of 26 Nov., below. JA wrote AA on 2 Dec. of the honor that Washington had done him by sending the documents and declared: “They [Washington and Greene] are in the Way to negotiate Peace, it lies wholly with them. No other Ministers but they and their Colleagues in the Army can accomplish the great Event” Adams Family Correspondence description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1963–. description ends , 4:251.

3Not found.

4The enclosed letter from Gen. Nathanael Greene, dated 11 Sept. at “Head Quarters Martin’s Tavern near Fergusons Swamp South Carolina,” described the Battle of Eutaw Springs on 8 Sept., where Greene’s army of 2,000 men fought a nearly equal British force led by Lt. Col. Alexander Stewart (Greene, Papers description begins The Papers of Nathanael Greene, ed. Richard K. Showman, Dennis Conrad (from vol. 8), and others, Chapel Hill, 1976–?. description ends , 9:328–338). Both sides sustained heavy casualties, but Stewart held the field. The victory proved hollow because Stewart soon retired to Charleston, where his troops remained for the duration of the war. The Battle of Eutaw Springs was the last significant battle of the Revolution in the deep South (Middlekauff, Glorious Cause description begins Robert Middlekauff, The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789, New York, 1982. description ends , p. 492–494).

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