George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant General Rochambeau, 14 September 1780

From Lieutenant General Rochambeau

Newport, Septer 14th 1780 5 o’clock P.M.


Your Excellency’s favor of the 11th inst. I received at Noon. The Ch. de Ternay and I are always in the intention to Wait for your orders, on the Day and at the place prescribed. We keep it a most profound secret from every body.1 I believe that the fleet that Chased the vessel that got into New-york, and whose captain has thought that it was the 2d Division, is only Arbuthnot’s fleet, Which returned to its anchoring off Gardner’s island after having convoyed and set in the open seas the fleet of Transports bound to England.2 I think it of the greatest consequence to have a conversation with Your Excellency, and to make a plan, after your knowledge, and abilities,3 by which the Court of France may be persuaded to give powerful aid to her faithfull allie’s against next campaign, and to put under your order such means as may deliver this country, being combinated with those of the United states. I beg Your Excellency would tell the Marquis de La Fayette that I have received his two Last Letters of the 8th and 10th inst. that I thank him with all my heart,4 expecting the pleasure to see him, and I don’t answer him now, that the Huzzard may be at the Ferry before night.5 I am with respect Sir Your Excellency’s Most obedient most 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.

1GW mentioned meeting Rochambeau and Rear Admiral Ternay when he wrote Rochambeau on 8 Sept. (see also The Hartford Conference, 20–22 Sept., editorial note).

3The preceding two words are not in the letter-book versions.

4Major General Lafayette’s letters in French to Rochambeau dated 8 and 10 Sept. notably recommended one of Rochambeau’s aides-de-camp as an interpreter for the upcoming conference at Hartford and lamented the lack of dispatches from the French government (both CtY-BR-R; see also Lafayette to La Luzerne, 10 Sept., in Lafayette Papers description begins Stanley J. Idzerda et al., eds. Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776–1790. 5 vols. Ithaca, N.Y., 1977-83. description ends , 3:167–71).

5For couriers from Rhode Island, see George Hurlbut to GW, 8 August.

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