George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Vice Admiral d’Estaing, 5 November 1778

To Vice Admiral d’Estaing

Hd Qrs Frederiksburgh [N.Y.] Novr 5th 1778


I have the honor to transmit your Excellency an Extract of a letter from Major General Lord Stirling of the 3d by which you will perceive, that a fleet of One hundread and eight sail, left Sandy Hook the morning of that day.1 This probably contains a division of the troops, the departure of which we have so long expected.

The Marquis De La Fayette arrived three days since at Fish Kill two and twenty miles from this place; where I am unhappy to inform Yr Excellency he is detained by a fever which seized him soon after he set out from Philadelphia. I hope2 our anxiety on this account may not be of long duration.3

The inclosed letter from our Commissary of Prisonners is just come to hand.4 With the utmost esteem and most devoted attachment I have the honor to be Your Excellencys Most Obedt serv.

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. This letter did not reach D’Estaing, who had sailed on the previous day; see Horatio Gates to GW, 10 November.

1Hamilton wrote and then marked out the following text at this place on the manuscript: “It is not said whether they had any troops on Board or not.” The fleet was bound for St. Lucia in the West Indies.

2Hamilton originally completed this sentence as follows, and then marked it out: “his speedy recovery will soon speedily relieve our anxiety and enable him to resume his journey.”

3Lafayette remained at Fishkill, N.Y., until 29 Nov., when he left for Boston on the first leg of his return journey to France (Lafayette Papers description begins Stanley J. Idzerda et al., eds. Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776–1790. 5 vols. Ithaca, N.Y., 1977-83. description ends , 2:205).

4Commissary of Prisoners John Beatty wrote to GW on 1 November.

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