George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Horatio Gates, 8 August 1780

To Major General Horatio Gates

Head Quarters near Orange Town 8th Augt 1780


I was yesterday evening favored with your letter of the 21st of June.1

A few days since upon Col. Kosciusco’s application for leave to serve to the Southward, he obtained my permission, and I suppose designs setting out immediately.2 Capn Dallizen accompanies him.3

Gen: Clinton having gone up the Sound apparently with the intention of operating against the French armament at Rhode Island this army crossed the North-River at King’s-ferry on the 30th Ulto to be in a situation to act as circumstances might authorize. Our advices gave to Clinton about 8000 troops, so that New-York was left exposed to our attempts. We were pushing every thing to this point, when we received advice that Clinton was returning to New-York. This necessarily put a stop to our movements, and as the objects for which we crossed the river had ceased, we recrossed it on the 4th & 5th instant.4 We intend to occupy a post at Dobb’s ferry, for the end of shortening our transportation, and saving the forage in the opposite quart⟨er⟩ which we may want in our future approaches, should it be in our power to do any thing decisive against New-York.

The stationary has long since come to hand for which I am much obliged to you.5 I am sir your obt & hble sert

Go: Washington

LS, in James McHenry’s writing, NHi: Gates Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The docket of the LS in part reads: “reced 1st Sept.”

1In his letter of 21 June, Gates requested the services of Col. Thaddeus Kosciuszko as chief engineer in the southern department and asked whether GW had received the stationery Gates had sent the previous fall (see GW to Gates, 2 Oct. 1779, n.4).

3Joseph de Delezeume (De Lazen), of France, became an assistant engineer in the Continental army in September 1776. He continued to serve as a captain and engineer in the southern army until at least May 1782. He left the army in 1783.

4For these operations, see GW to Rochambeau, 27 July (second letter), n.3.

5The previous eight words appear only on the LS.

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