George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Huntington, 7 August 1780

From Samuel Huntington

Philadelphia August 7. 1780


I have the Honor to transmit your Excellency the enclosed Extract of Intelligence just come to Hand.1

My Informant who brought me this Intelligence adds,2 that, the whole Number of Troops which sailed from Martinique for Jamaica were 16.000 That Monsr de Bougainville mentioned as about to sail for America must be understood from France, the Account having reached Martinique3—With very great respect I have the Honor to be your Excellency’s most obedt servant

Sam. Huntington

LS, DLC:GW. Tench Tilghman wrote “recd 10th” on the docket. GW acknowledged this letter when he wrote Huntington on 20 August.

1The enclosed “Extract of a Letter dated Martinico the 7th July 1780” reads: “Twelve Ships of the Line (Spanish) & thirteen thousand Troops have arrived here, commanded by Monsr de Solano.

“By Calms & contrary Winds they were detained for fifteen Days to Leeward of Dominica.

“They set Sail the Day before yesterday, accompanied by our Fleet under the Command of the Count de Guischen, reinforced by the regiments of ⟨illegible⟩ & of Touraine, with several Detachments from the regiments stationed here. The Land Forces are commanded by the Marquis of St Simon.

“Their Destination is for Jamaica & it is said they are to be joined at Cape Nichola Mole by a considerable Body of Forces detached from the Havannah commanded by Don Bonnet.

“Monsr de Bougainville with four Ships of the Line & four thousand Troops were to sail immediately for America, to join the Forces that sailed under the Command of Monsr de Ternay” (DLC:GW). The French and Spanish fleets sailed north to Havana and Cap Français (Saint Domingue), not Jamaica (see Dull, French Navy description begins Jonathan R. Dull. The French Navy and American Independence: A Study of Arms and Diplomacy, 1774-1787. Princeton, 1975. description ends , 189).

2Huntington’s informant apparently was William Bingham (see Joseph Jones to GW, this date).

3French naval captain Louis-Antoine de Bougainville did not sail for America, but later, as chef d’escadre, led a squadron of ships of the line in the fleet of French lieutenant general Comte de Grasse, which sailed to the West Indies in March 1781 (see d’Estaing to GW, 17 Sept. 1778, n.3).

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