George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 13 May 1781]

13th. Received Letters from Count de Rochambeau advising me of the arrival of his Son1 & from Count de Barras2 informing me of his appointment to the Command of the French Squadron at Rhode Island—both solliciting an Interview with me as soon as possible. Appointed, in answer, Monday the 21st. Inst. & Wethersfield, as the time & place of Meeting.

1Rochambeau to GW, 11 May 1781 (DLC:GW). Rochambeau’s son, Donatien Marie Joseph de Vimeur, vicomte de Rochambeau (1755–1813), served with his father in America as mestre de camp en second of the Régiment de Bourbonnais, commanding a battalion of grenadiers at the Battle of Yorktown. In May 1781 the younger Rochambeau had just returned from France, where he had gone in Oct. 1780 in the hope of obtaining additional supplies for the American campaign. The French frigate Concorde had brought the comte de Rochambeau dispatches from the minister of war and the minister of marine informing him that the anticipated reinforcement of troops would not be available for the campaign and that the present army under Rochambeau would serve under GW’s orders. A sum of six million livres tournois had been granted for the supply of the American army (DONIOL description begins Henri Doniol. Histoire de la Participation de la France à l’établissement des États-Unis d’Amérique: Correspondance Diplomatique et Documents. 5 vols. Paris, 1886–92. description ends , 5:466–70). In addition, he learned that Admiral de Grasse’s fleet had been ordered to the West Indies and would be available to support the upcoming summer campaign. In light of this new information Rochambeau urgently requested a conference with GW (see also CLOSEN description begins Evelyn M. Acomb, ed. The Revolutionary Journal of Baron Ludwig von Closen, 1780–1783. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1958. description ends , 78). GW agreed to meet with Rochambeau and Admiral Barras at Wethersfield, Conn., on 21 May (GW to Ralph Pomeroy, 14 May 1781, DLC:GW).

2Jacques Melchior Saint-Laurent, comte de Barras, had replaced Admiral de Ternay as commander of the French naval squadron at Newport. Admiral Destouches had been in temporary command. Barras’s letter to GW, 11 May 1781, is in DLC:GW.

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