George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General John Sullivan, 3 November 1778

To Major General John Sullivan

Head Quarters Fredericksbg [N.Y.] 3d Novembr 1778

Dear Sir

I have your favr of the 31st Ulto inclosing Major Talbots Account of the capture of the schooner Pigott.1 It was really a well concerted plan and gallantly executed. Be pleased to present my approbation and thanks to the Major—his Officers and Men.

The enemy’s fleet consisting of 150 sail of transports lay at the Hook the 31st ulto. It is the general opinion that the evacuation of New York will be total; but I cannot say I have sufficient evidence to convince me that it will be so.

I sent a letter for the Marquis de la Fayette to your care about the beginning of October.2 Be pleased to say whether it reached your hands, and whether it was delivered to the Marquis before he left Boston or Providence. I am with Regard Dear Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. I have just heard that nine ships and a Brig left the Hook a day or two ago, said by a deserter to be bound to Rhode Island.3

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, NhHi: Sullivan Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Sullivan’s letter to GW of 31 Oct. has not been found, but on the same date he wrote a letter to Henry Laurens describing the capture of the Pigot (DNA:PCC, item 160). The capture, which Maj. Silas Talbot described in a letter to Sullivan dated 29 Oct. (DNA:PCC, item 78), took place in the early morning hours of that date. The crew of Talbot’s Hawk surprised and boarded the Pigot, which blocked the eastern passage of the island of Rhode Island to Providence, and captured her without the loss of a man on either side.

2In his 4 Oct. letter to Lafayette, GW indicated that his preceding letter to the marquis, dated 25 Sept., had been sent “under cover to Genl Sullivan.”

3The intelligence came in a letter of 31 Oct. from Capt. John Burrowes to Major General Stirling (see Stirling to GW, 1 Nov., n.1).

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