George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant General Rochambeau, 8 October 1780

From Lieutenant General Rochambeau

Newport, October 8th 1780


A Very severe storm has yesternight been Agitating our ships and our Tents, This day Which proves a fine one, will allow us to repair all the Little mischiefs that it can have occasioned.1 It is thought that the Ennemy has suffered a great deal more in Gardner’s bay, I Will Wait for Your Excellency’s orders to put the Troops in Newport in Winter quarters, when the houses will be ready,2 and I will send to Providence the Duke De Lauzun with his Cavalry, it is impossible to find forage for it here this winter. Their Lodgings are all prepared, and the Duke will be well received there. he hath every thing necessary to be with the inhabitants in great friendship.3 I beg of your Excellency to permit me to make all these Dispositions, and to give Your orders for that. I Wait for Your Excellency’s answer as to the Demand that I am to make to My court, About the Artillery of Siege.4 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.

1Rochambeau’s aide-de-camp Ludwig von Closen wrote in his journal entry for 9 Oct.: “we had a terrifying hurricane again, which overturned almost all the camp tents and obliged the troops to spend 24 hours in bivouac, because so many tents were torn. Some rain and hailstones made this festival of Aeolus complete” (Acomb, Closen Journal description begins Evelyn M. Acomb, ed. The Revolutionary Journal of Baron Ludwig von Closen, 1780–1783. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1958. description ends , 43).

2See Rochambeau to GW, 3–4 Sept., and n.6 to that document.

3Brigadier General Lauzun’s cavalry eventually wintered in Connecticut (see Rochambeau to GW, 29 Oct., DLC:GW; see also Ephraim Bowen, Jr., to William Greene, 9 Oct., in Bartlett, R.I. Records, 9:309).

4GW replied to Rochambeau from headquarters at Preakness on 14 Oct.: “I had the honor of writing you the 12th instant approving the demand you intended to make to your court for an augmentation of your siege artillery to double the present quantity—I have since received your letter of the 8 th.

“The season is so far advanced that I think you cannot too soon make the dispositions you propose for winter quarters, which are as agreable to me as they are judicious—I beg you at all times to use your discretion in the necessary arrangements for the army under your command, in which I have too intire confidence in your judgment not to be convinced, you will do that which will most effectually promote the common service.

“From the reputation of the Duke De Lauzun I am persuaded he will do every thing in his power to give satisfaction to the inhabitants of Providence, and I flatter myself he will find the greatest cordiality in them.

“We have nothing more definitive from New York, than was mentioned in my last—I momently expect further accounts” (LS, in Caleb Gibbs’s writing, CtY-BR-R; Df, DLC:GW; Rochambeau’s French translation, CtY-BR-R; LB, in French, DLC: Rochambeau Papers, vol. 7; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also Rochambeau to GW, 5 Oct., and GW to Rochambeau, 12 Oct.).

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