George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant General Rochambeau, 25 December 1780

From Lieutenant General Rochambeau

Newport Xber 25. 1780


I believe that the piece of Intelligence, which I gave to Your Excellency, at the end of my Last letter, is absolutely wrong,1 Col. Wadsworth who is here, tells me that he had it by three Vessels of the Sund, gone out of Northwalk Fairfield and the Connecticut,2 the men in these vessels said they had Seen the Signals on the Coast for the militia, and all these Troops in motion.

However I this day, have received a Letter from the Duke of Lauzun, he says he has heard no talk of any thing, and the Connecticut militia has not Stirred.3 It is then very probable that the Destination of the embarkation that is going on at New-york is for the Southward,4 and I beg of Your Excellency to look upon that news as upon nothing, I had given you it in my last from the report of Colonel Wadsworth, and these three Vessels, but I have not had Since any confirmation of it.

We can not find the wind fresh enough and favorable to send away Mr Meyers, nephew of Mr Gerard, who has in his care the Duplicate of the Dispatches whereof my son is Bearer. he has been in the road for these three weeks5 These winds, however, will be favorable to bring us news from France; it is impossible that in a month, at farthest, we should not have any.6 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.

2Jeremiah Wadsworth provided erroneous intelligence from vessels on Long Island Sound that had left Norwalk, Conn., and the Connecticut River.

3The letter-book copies refer to news from Brigadier General Lauzun without mention of a letter.

4Rochambeau’s aide-de-camp Ludwig von Closen wrote in his journal for this date: “At Christmas there was a terrible storm with thunder claps and frightening flashes of lightning. It has been generally noted in New England that the weather has been very changeable and in particular, extremely foggy. …

“We learn from New York, that an embarkation of 1500 men, commanded by the traitor Arnold, is taking place there; two frigates are escorting this little convoy to Portsmouth” (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 , 48; see also GW to Samuel Huntington, 27 Dec., and n.2 to that document).

5Rochambeau’s son and aide-de-camp vicomte de Rochambeau had sailed for France on 28 Oct. (see Rochambeau to GW, 29 Oct., and n.1 to that document).

Pierre Prothais Meyer had been with the French legation in Switzerland before becoming secretary to his uncle Conrad-Alexandre Gérard while the latter served as France’s first ambassador to the United States. Meyer remained with the French legation in Philadelphia after French minister La Luzerne replaced Gérard in September 1779, but he left for Newport in August 1780 to assist Rochambeau. For Meyer’s career in the United States, see John J. Meng, “Secretary of Legation Meyer,” Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia 46 (1935): 22–48.

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