George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Laurens, 11 July 1778

From Henry Laurens

Philadelphia 11th July 1778.


I beg leave to refer Your Excellency to the contents of a Letter which I had honor of writing to you last Evening by Barry.

The present Cover will convey to Your Excellency two Acts of Congress of this date.

1—Empowering Your Excellency to call in the Aid of such Militia as shall appear to be necessary from the four Eastern States, from New York & New Jersey for carrying on operations in concert with Count d’Estaing.

2—Intimating the desire of Congress that Your Excellency Cooperate with Vice Admiral Count d’Estaing in the Execution of such offensive operations against the Enemy as shall appear to be necessary.1

Congress have directed me to propose for Your Excellencys consideration an attack by Vice Admiral Count dEstaing upon the British Ships of War & Transports in the harbor of Rhode Island, by which possession of a safe port may be gained & the retreat of the British forces on that Island be cut off, as an alternative to a hazardous or ineligible attempt upon the British Squadron within Sandy Hook. I have the honor to be With the highest Esteem & Respect Sir Your Excellency’s Most obedient & most humble servant

Henry Laurens,
President of Congress.

Sometime ago I informed Your Excellency that Congress had adopted the Stile of “North America” to these States—this day that Resolution was reconsidered & reduced to the former mode of “America.”2

Congress Resolved on the 9th Inst. that the Committee appointed to arrange the Army do repair without delay to Head Quarters for that purpose as Your Excellency will perceive by the Inclosed Certified Order.3

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 13. A note on the letter-book copy indicates that this letter was carried “by Baldwin.”

1The enclosed copies of these resolutions are in DLC:GW (see also JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 11:684).

2Laurens was referring to his letter to GW of 20 May 1778. For the resolution of 11 July, reconsidering a resolution of 19 May, see ibid., 11:683.

3The enclosed copy of this resolution, certified by Laurens, is in DLC:GW (see also ibid., 11:676).

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