George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Horatio Gates, 13 October 1779

From Major General Horatio Gates

Providence, 13th October 1779.
Eight o’Clock in the morning


I have the Honor to send Your Excellency a Letter I received Yesterday from Lieut: Colonel Olney.1 The intelligence it contains, is strongly marked with The Enemy’s intention to evacuate Rhode-Island. I am endeavouring by all possible means to discover if that be their real design. I have the best look out, as well upon the water, as the Land; and have even some Friends upon the Island, who will give me the earliest Information in their power. An Express shall instantly Convey to your Excellency every extraordinary movement of the Enemy.2 I am, Sir, Your Excellency’s most Obedient Hume Servt

Horatio Gates

P.S. I have no Letter from Yr Exy, since that of the 3d Instant.

ALS, NHi: Gates Papers.

1The enclosed letter from Lt. Col. Jeremiah Olney has not been identified. In his second letter to Samuel Huntington of 17 Oct., GW indicated that Olney’s letter reported the arrival at Newport, R.I., on this date, of fifty-six British transports “in Ballast” (empty).

2See Gates to GW, 15 October. Gen. Henry Clinton had ordered the evacuation of the British garrison at Newport on 7 October. All British troops had embarked by 25 Oct., and on 27 Oct. the transports arrived at New York, the troops being sent to various stations at New York and on Long and Staten Islands (see GW to Gates, 1 Nov. [NHi: Gates Papers]; Davies, Documents of the American Revolution, description begins K. G. Davies, ed. Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783; (Colonial Office Series). 21 vols. Shannon and Dublin, 1972–81. description ends 17:236–37; 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 1:188; and Ritchie, “New York Diary,” description begins Carson I. A. Ritchie, ed. “A New York Diary [British army officer’s journal] of the Revolutionary War.” New-York Historical Society Quarterly 50 (1966): 221–80, 401–46. description ends 442–43).

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