George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Robert Howe, 1 August 1780

From Major General Robert Howe

Robinson’s Farms 1st August 1780

Dear Sir

This Moment I have a Letter of which the following is an Extract—it is dated the 31st of July1—“This Morning about 8 oClock The Troops under Command of Sir Henry Clinton left Huntington Harbour bound to the Westward.2

[“]A Frigate from the Eastward came Yesterday After noon—spoke with the Fleet & continued her Course.” This Sir evinces that the Enemy did not return on the 28th, as has been said—I sent yesterday by Express to four different Agents—I momentarily expect Answers, which will, I doubt not, reduce Matters to a Certainty.3 I am Dear Sir, with the greatest Respect your Excellency’s most obedient Servant

Robt Howe

LS, DLC:GW. Howe wrote on the cover “⅌ Horsman” and signed the notation.

1This letter has not been identified.

2For the movements of this expedition under the command of Gen. Henry Clinton and the reasons for them, see GW to Rochambeau, 27 July (second letter), n.3.

3Howe wrote to GW a second time on this date: “An Express from another Emissary is arrived—His Letter dated at 11 oClock yesterday—He writes thus—‘The British Fleet have been laying in Huntington Bay untill this Morng, when they all set sail with a brisk Breeze at East, & stood Westward & are now out of Sight—This is owing as I suppose to the Arrival of the 2d Division of the French Fleet—of which tho’ I’ve no Official Information, yet I’ve such Accounts that I think you may depend upon it’—thus far the Agent—I shall have other Accounts, I imagine, directly, but I persuade myself this may be relied on—or at least as far as relates to the British Fleet. I have sent the necessary Orders to the Troops at present under my Command, & as I want to go over to West Point to settle some Matters there, I shall not be in Quarters at Peek’s Kill ’till this Eveg or to Morrow Morng unless your Excellency has Commands for me sooner, of which please inform me” (LS, DLC:GW; Howe wrote “Express” on the cover and signed the notation). The second division of the French fleet had not arrived.

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