George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Board of Admiralty, 15 August 1780

To the Board of Admiralty

Head Quarters Orange Town 15th Augt 1780


In a letter which I have lately received from the Chevalier de Ternay, in answer to one in which I informed him that the American Frigats were directed by Congress to act in concert with the Fleet of his most Christian Majesty,1 is the following Paragraph “I propose to your Excellency to have escorted by these Frigates to the port of Boston a Vessel loaded with Flour by Mr Holker for the Squadron of the King of France. and which Vessel is at present in the Delaware. It would be necessary in this case that they take their Route a little large that they may not fall too near this place, the Frigates of Arbuthnot being able to extend their cruises to the shoals of Nantuckat.” The French Admiral also wishes that if the Saratogha sloop is a fast sailer and not otherwise employed, she may be suffered to carry dispatches to the Count de Guichen in the West Indies.

Should not these plans interfere with any arrangements which may have been made by the Board, I could wish that the Frigates and Sloop may be offered to the Minister of France for the several purposes mentioned by the Chevalier de Ternay.2

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

2Francis Lewis, replying for the board, wrote GW on 31 Aug. from the “Admiralty Office” in Philadelphia: “The Board have been honoured with your favor of the 15th Instant, in answer thereto, we beg leave to inform your Excellency that Congress have ordered the Seratoga with dispatches, under the direction of a Secret Committee of conference with the Minister of France.

“The Frigates Trumbull and Dean are ordered out upon a Cruize, with directions to keep a good look out for the second division of the French fleet, and to give the commanding Officer thereof every information—respecting the number and situation of the British fleet off Rhode Island.

“The Confederacy is the only Continental Frigate now in this harbour, but neither manned nor Victualed for the Sea.

“Thus Sir we have given you a State of the Continental Navy in this department” (LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, Miscellaneous Papers, Marine Committee Letter Book).

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