George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Vice Admiral d’Estaing, 12 August 1778

To Vice Admiral d’Estaing

Head Quarters White Plains
Augt 12th 1778 [ ] OClock P.M.


I have just received a second letter dated the 10th from General Maxwell, confirming the intelligence of the departure of the British fleet from the Hook, with some further particulars, which it may not be useless or unsatisfactory to you to know—an extract from which I do myself the honor to inclose.1 The state of the winds for two or three days past makes me hope this communication may not arrive too late. With the most ardent wishes for your success and the sincerest respect I have the honor to be Sir Most Obedt servt


Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW enclosed this letter in one to Lt. Col. John Laurens of 9 p.m. on this date that directed: “The inclosed letter, for Count D’Estaing, is to be delivered to him, provided the British Fleet should not have been arrived, or being arrived, he should not have come to an engagement with them: For, if the Count should have come to an engagement with the British Admiral before this reaches you, the intelligence, which the letter contains, will be useless to him, and therefore need not be communicated” (LS, ScHi: Henry Laurens Papers).

1The enclosed extract reads: “There is no doubt of the Fleet’s being gone, as I mentioned before. Captain [Thomas] Randal from Chatham, came up from the Shore yesterday and confirms the same; Colo. Beatty also returned from Staten Island and brought with him the inclosed List of the Fleet which was gone; but as it was their account (the Enemy’s) he does not believe it to be so strong. No body allows there are above Two men of War lately come from England, and most say there is but One” (ScHi: Henry Laurens Papers). GW had sent extracts of a previous letter from Brig. Gen. William Maxwell, dated 7 Aug., in his letter to d’Estaing of 8 August.

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