George Washington Papers

To George Washington from La Luzerne, 5 December 1780

From La Luzerne

[5 Dec. 1780]


I flattered myself that the Cloathing destined for the Army under the command of your Excellency had at length arrived in the River, in the Vessel of Paul Jones or in one of those coming under his Convoy, but I regret infinitely that You have not yet that satisfaction. A passenger arrived in one of this Convoy told me that when this same little squadron, which left France the 8th October, would arrive, they would bring but little Cloathing, being in great part laden with Arms and Ammunition, but he added that the Seraphis is destined to bring the remainder of the Cloathing, and that we may hope to see the Vessel arrive soon in our ports. I have an infinite desire to have an opportunity of giving your Excellency notice of the arrival of these Articles.1

I have recd certain intelligence that an expedition composed of four thousand troops convoyed by eight Vessels of War departed the 16th October from the Havanna to attempt an expedition agt Pensacola. But it is thought that the terrible tempests which they may have received in that passage may have retarded that Fleet.2

Another Expedition was to depart in the Month of December to attack Augustine. It was to be composed of ten thousand Men—Regulars and Militia, and twelve Vessels of War. I wish sincerely that that Military operation may meet with success, which may make an advantagious diversion in favor of the United States in that Quarter.3

Chevr de Chattelus and the Officers who had the honor of visiting you at Head Quarters desire me to present their respects to you—they expect to have the honor of seeing you again on their return.4 I am &.

Chevr de la Luzerne

Yr Excellency will be pleased to forward the packet for Count Rochambeau by the 1st opportunity.5

Translation, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; ALS, in French, DLC:GW. For the date, see GW’s reply to La Luzerne on 14 December.

1John Paul Jones did not reach the Delaware River until February 1781, and the Serapis never came to the United States (see Lafayette to GW, 4 Dec. 1780, and notes 4 and 5 to that document; see also GW to Samuel Huntington, 9 Sept.).

2A hurricane scattered this Spanish expedition (see Francisco Rendon to GW, 30 Sept., n.2, and Lafayette’s second letter to GW, this date, n.3).

4See GW to Huntington, 27 Nov., and the notes to that document; see also GW’s second letter to James Clinton, 19 Dec., and the notes to that document.

5The items in La Luzerne’s packet for Lieutenant General Rochambeau have not been identified.

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