George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant General Rochambeau, 13 October 1780

From Lieutenant General Rochambeau

New-port, Octr 13th 1780—9. o clock. P.M.


With the Greatest pleasure, I received to day Your Excellency’s Letter of the 10th instt. I was in the Greatest uneasiness, at my not having received any news from you since your Last of the 26th of Last month.1 I was sorry for your Excellency that in spite of the goodness of your caracter, you had been forced to make a necessary example, upon the Young Major André.2 I wait with the greatest impatience for the answer of Your Excellency to my Letter of the 6th inst., about the necessary demands to be made for the Artillery of Siege.3 I believe that it won’t be Long, before the Frigate and the person that you know off, go away.4 The news we have from the Enemy’s fleet are, that the day before yesterday, it was under sail, all night and all day. A Frigate c⟨a⟩me as far as this, and tho’ the fleet was not seen in the day time its course was known in the night, by the rocketts, which they used as signals. It seems that having gone to the Eastward as far as Point Judith, they had shifted about to get at Large. Does the fleet return to Sandy-hook? is the fleet going to cruize in the open sea? I am intirely ignorant about it.5

Our Land and Sea position is very respectable, and I am persuaded that Rodney will not desire to come to visit it. Holland’s ferry fort, tho’ very small, is indeed situated upon a very difficult place to work in, but the Boston militia, go about it so slowly that I fear it will not be defencible by the 1st of November, when their time will be out. We must own that for want of Victuals, they have not wrought two hours this week6 Colonel Greene proposes, if it be not done by the 1st of November to go with his corps Lodge in the Barracks standing there, and to work so that it may be Speedily finished, thence he will go to take his winter quarters in rhode-island state, If your Excellency thinks it proper.

Your Letter for Dr Franklin is come to hand. I will give it to a sure person that will take care that he receives it.7

Give me Leave to send to Your Excellency a letter of consequence I had wrote to Mr Holker and sent to the Marquis de La Fayette to get it forwarded to him at Philadelphy, by the shortest way.8 that Letter is come again in a parcel of Letters that he sends to The Ch. de Ternay, and I don’t know, for what.9 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 replied to Rochambeau on 24 October.

4Rochambeau probably refers to his son and aide-de-camp, vicomte de Rochambeau.

5For this fleet, see William Heath to GW, 19 Sept., n.2.

8Rochambeau had written Jean Holker on 8 Oct. regarding money to supply the French forces at Rhode Island (DLC: Rochambeau Papers, vol. 8).

9The letter-book versions do not include this paragraph.

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