George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Ezekiel Cheever, 31 August 1778

To Ezekiel Cheever

Head Quarters White plains 31st Augt 1778


I have information that there were a considerable number of Troops, on board the transports that went to the Eastward a few days ago, under the command of Genl Clinton and Lord Cornwallis. I have no doubt but the intent of this expedition was to have relieved Rhode Island, but when they find that, by the French Fleet being obliged to bear away to Boston to refit, the seige is raised, they may perhaps turn their force and views to some other object. The destruction of our Magazines of provision and military Stores is what they have aimed at thro’ the whole course of this War, and I should not therefore be surprised, should they attempt to destroy Spring feild by a Coup de Main. To guard against this as much as possible, I would have you turn your attention to the sound and if you hear with certainty that a Body of troops are landed upon the Coast of Connecticut, you will begin to remove your most valuable Stores back into the Country. You will observe, that I am speaking from my apprehensions of what may happen, and not from any intelligence that the enemy have such a design. You will not therefore be alarmed by any vague reports, but settle a correspondence with some intellige⟨nt⟩ Gentlemen upon the Coast, who will give you such information as will justify you in beginning to remove the stores—You will keep this matter as much to yourself as the nature of the thing will admit. I am Sir Yr most obt Servt.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

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