George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General James Clinton, 9 September 1780

From Brigadier General James Clinton

[9 Sept. 1780]

In Answer to the Questions proposed by your Excellency in Council the 6th day of September 1780 I would beg leave to Offer the following Observations.

First That takeing into Consideration the present position and force of the Enemy and Compareing it with our own it Appears that no Offensive Opperations can with A prospect of success take place previous to the Arrival of a superior Fleet and Armamint.

Secondly. That however pressing the Necessity for sending A Reinforcement from this Army to the southern States may be which for want of proper Intelligence we Cannot Assertain yet the Situation of the Army at present—the Approaching prospect of an Opportunity to exert our whole force in this Quarter—the length of time which must Necessarily elapse before it could possibly Arrive—the diminishing our force which is little more then Sufficient to Act upon the defensive And the Number of men whose terms of Inlistment will shortly expire and who, could they be prevailed upon to Reinlist, will be unfit for Action for want of Cloaths All Conspire to Render it improper to send any Reinforcement to that Quarter.

Thirdly—That as from the compact and Advantageous Situation of the Enemy No Opportunity Offers to Attack them with a Probability of Success it Appears Necessary that such A Position Should be taken as will most Effectually counteract any Movement they may be Induced to make—to cover the country and facilitate the Supplies of Provision without which there is little Reason to expect that those Men whose times will Shortly expire can be prevailed to Reinter A Service in which they have Already experienced so many difficulties on that score. I am Your Excellencys Most Obedient Humble Sert

James Clinton

ALS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The date comes from the ALS docket.

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