George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Stirling, 3 November 1778

From Major General Stirling

Elizabeth Town [N.J.] Novr 3d 1778

Dear Sir

I was this Morning favoured with your Excellency’s letter of the 1st. The fleet at the hook was yesterday encreased to 108 Sail. this morning at Seven they weighed Anchor and Stood out to Sea at Eight they were out of Sight from Amboy, among them were five or Six two Deckers, but as to the Size & Number of Men of War & frigates I expect this afternoon to be more particularly Informed.1 My Attention will now be to know what remains at New York and their motions. I cant find there any report of Jamaica being taken, but there is one that the Gradilloes are.2 The very Sudden rise in the price of Rum was in some measure owing to a large quantity being ordered to be purchased for a Sea Store to the troops Embarked. I will take the first Oppertunity of trying to get you one of the best of Dollands pocket Telescope’s and am your Excellency’s Most Obedient Humble Servt



1This fleet, which carried a force of ten British infantry regiments under Maj. Gen. James Grant, sailed for the West Indies on 3 Nov. and arrived at the French-held island of St. Lucia on 13 December. The island capitulated on 30 Dec. (see Whinyates, Services of Francis Downman description begins F. A. Whinyates, ed. The Services of Lieut.-Colonel Francis Downman, R.A., in France, North America, and the West Indies, between the Years 1758 and 1784. Woolwich, England, 1898. description ends , 87–106, and Kemble Papers description begins [Stephen Kemble]. The Kemble Papers. 2 vols. New York, 1884-85. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vols. 16–17. description ends , 1:165).

2By “gradilloes” Stirling means the Grenadines, a chain of West Indian islands that were sometimes referred to in the eighteenth century as the Granadillos, or, in French, Les Grenadilles. Reports from late October 1778, cited in the Maryland Journal, and Baltimore Advertiser (3 Nov. 1778); the New-Jersey Gazette (Trenton, 11 Nov. 1778); and the New-York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury (30 Nov. 1778), claimed that the French had captured the West Indian island of St. Vincent and were moving on the adjoining Grenadines (see John Mitchell to GW, this date, n.3).

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