George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant General Rochambeau, 9 September 1780

From Lieutenant General Rochambeau

Newport, Septer 9th 1780


We have intelligence by several ships that are entered in differents ports, that they have been convoyed by the fleet of Mr De Guichen of 26. ships of the Line, as far as the 25th Degree. I saw this morning a Captain of a Schooner that came in this morning who says that he had spoken to him, and been on board the Admiral ship, When they were at the 23d degree, that he has seen him and the Merchant fleet disemboguing under his convoy, as far as the 25. and 26th Degree. he says that the Admiral knew that a Superior fleet was blocking us up, here;1 Is it that the Spaniards were not ready for their expedition, or that he has thought that he could come as far as this, or that he only Wanted to set the merchant fleet out of the streights.2 Your Excellency may, upon that, make the conjectures that you please. Yesterday We saw a Frigate a cruizing. The Chevalier De Ternay has been told that the British fleet of 19. sail Was yesternight, 4 Leagues S.W. off block-island. but as yet, We have seen nothing of it.3 I am with respect, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most obedient humble servant

le Cte de Rochambeau

LS, DLC:GW; LB, in French, DLC: Rochambeau Papers, vol. 7; LB, in French, DLC: Rochambeau Papers, vol. 8. GW acknowledged this letter when he wrote Rochambeau on 13 Sept. (first letter).

1See William Heath to GW, this date, and n.3 to that document.

2The letter-book versions indicate that Rear Admiral Guichen’s fleet might have merely escorted merchant ships northward into the open ocean.

3For this fleet, see Heath to GW, 19 Sept., n.2.

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