George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant General Rochambeau, 5 August 1780

From Lieutenant General Rochambeau

Newport, August 5th 1780.


Four Days are now past, since the wind is good for Clinton to arrive if he chuses, and I begin to despair of seeing him come here.1 We are ready to receive him well: A considerable number of the rhode-island and Massachusets states militia is arrived here. I have agreed with Major General Heath2 to keep 3500 of them for the intrenched camp and for the fort at howlands ferry, to assure and perfect the communication with the Continent, and to send the rest back to their harvest, we will have as many as will be sufficient to see the conclusion of Clinton’s undertaking.

I here send to your Excellency an account I have received from Boston, which gives me an expectation of the 2d division’s arrival.3 I wish to God that it may be true⟨.⟩ I hold it as a Secret here that the enemy who is before us, may not be apprised of it, soon enough to go and intercept her. I am with respect, Sir Your Excellency’s Most humble & obedient Servant,

Le cte de Rochambeau

P.S. I believe that your Excellency’s march will have put Clinton in some Suspense what to do.4

LS, DLC:GW; LB (in French, written twice), DLC: Rochambeau Papers, vol. 7; two French translations, FrPBN.

1Rochambeau was expecting an attack led by British general Henry Clinton (see GW’s second letter to Rochambeau, 27 July, n.3).

2The person who penned the LS mistakenly wrote “Geath” for this name.

3In the enclosed letter, dated “State of Massa. Bay Council Chamber” on 2 Aug., Thomas Cushing stated that a ship captain just arrived at Salem, Mass., reported seeing a fleet of ships at sea; Cushing enclosed the captain’s intelligence report on the sighting (DLC:GW). The intelligence report has not been identified. Cushing’s letter is addressed to Maj. Gen. William Heath, but a note on the cover reads: “Honor’d ⅌ Monsr [Joseph de] Valnais,” the French consul at Boston. It may have been delivered to Rochambeau instead of to Heath (see Heath to GW, 4 Aug.).

4GW replied to Rochambeau on 8 August.

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