George Washington to
Brigadier General Louis Le Bèque Du Portail and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton1
Head Quarters [West Point] Octob the 10. 1779
The only material intelligence which I have obtained from New York or respecting the Enemy since your departure, is contained in the inclosed account, which I received yesterday from Captain Monroe.2 This in your communications with His Excellency Count D’Estaing, you will be pleased to shew him.
As we shall have occasion for a great many boats, in case a cooperation between the Count & us takes place, I request that you will inform yourselves of the number, which His Excellency has fit for transporting Troops.
In order to cut off the Enemy’s force on Staten Island, I would suggest that it will be necessary for the Count, as soon as possible after his entry at the Hook, to have measures taken for destroying all their boats on the Staten Island shore. And besides, it will be material that a part of his Ships should be stationed along the Island, to prevent Boats from being sent from New York to withdraw them; and their being stationed in this manner appears to me, the more essential, as the Enemy would annoy them from land batteries, if they were to continue in the narrows.
I am Gentn. With great regard & respect Yr Most Obed Servant
Brigadr Genl Du Portail & Lt Colo. Hamilton
LS, in writing of Robert Hanson Harrison, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; also DfS, in writing of Robert Hanson Harrison, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress; copy, PRO: C.O. description begins Transcripts or photostats from the Public Records Office of Great Britain deposited in the Library of Congress. description ends , 98/393-96.
1. Du Portail was commandant of the Corps of Engineers and the Corps of Sappers and Miners. Both Du Portail and H were in the vicinity of Philadelphia en route to their intended visit with D’Estaing. For the plans for this visit see H to Nathanael Greene, October 7, 1779, note 1.
2. This intelligence was supplied by Captain James Monroe of the armed brig Saratoga who had escaped from a prison ship in New York Harbor on October 6. Monroe’s memorandum (dated October 9, 1779) described the situation in New York, British shipping, and the disposition of the British forces in and around New York City (D, in writing of Robert Hanson Harrison, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).