George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Dobbs, 15 July 1778

To William Dobbs

[Haverstraw, N.Y., 15 July 1778]


A considerable fleet of french men of War, chiefly Ships of the line, has just arrived at Sandy Hook, under the command of Admiral Count D’estaing. As the Admiral is a Stranger to our Coast, and is come for the purpose of co-operating with us against the Enemy, it is absolutely necessary that he should be immediately provided with a number of skillful pilots, well acquainted with the Coast & Harbours and of firm attachment to our cause. I am assured by Govenor Clinton and Genl McDougal that you answer this description in every part, I must therefore request the favor of you to see me as early as possible, when I would flatter myself you will not have the smallest objection to going on board the fleet on so essential & interesting occasion. I will not at this time say any thing of your pay, but I doubt not we shall readily agree on a sum that will not only be just but generous and if we should not, that your services will be liberally considered & rewarded by the states. I am Sir Yr Most Obedt servt

Go: Washington

P.S. I wish you to come prepared to go as the situation of affairs will not admit of delay.

Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The date is taken from a docket on the draft, confirmed by Dobbs’s reply of 16 July.

William Dobbs (1718–1781) was based at Fishkill. From this date until Dobbs’s death, GW often called upon him to act as a pilot or to enlist other pilots for French vessels.

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