George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General John Sullivan, 27 July 1778

To Major General John Sullivan

Head Qrs white plains July 27th 1778

Dr Sir

I have thought it expedient to permit General Greene to go to Rhode Island, to take a part in the Enterprize, intended against the Enemy in that Quarter. You know his merit and his services, as well as I do, and therefore I need not add on that head. When the Marquiss Fayette set out, I put Varnums & Glover’s Brigades under his command, and, according to his instructions, they were to act in this manner. Upon a more mature consideration of the matter, I am convinced the success of the Enterprize will be more advanced, by disposing of the Continental Troops among the Militia. You will therefore make your arrangement in this way, and forming the whole of our force into Two Divisions, General Greene will take the direction of one—the Marquiss of the other—You yourself the general command of course. I have written to the Marquiss upon the subject.1 Besides the service, which General Greene will be of, both in Council and in the Field, upon this very interesting and important occasion, his presence will contribute greatly to expedite your Operations by an earlier provision, it is probable, of many matters in the line of his Department.

There is one thing more, which I would mention. Most likely, there will be a debarkation of Troops from the Count D’Estaing’s fleet, to assist in reducing the Island and the Enemy’s force. These Troops, the Admiral may place under your general direction. His wish should be complied with, as to the particular command of them. I should suppose the Marquiss would be his choice. Success and Laurels attend you. I am Dr Sir with great regard & esteem Yr Most Obedt sert

Go: Washington

P.S. What I have said, respecting the command of the Count D’Estaings Troops is intirely a matter of incertainty. I do not know that he will in case of a debarkation, choose that they should be with our’s—or under any Other than their Own Officers. Harmony & the best understanding between us, should be a Capital & first Object. The Count himself is a Land Officer and of the high rank of Lt General in the French Army.

Your Letters of the 20th & 22d were received on Saturday Evening.2

G. W——n.

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, NNU-F: Richard Maass Collection; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

2Saturday fell on 25 July.

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