George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Lieutenant General Rochambeau, 9 January 1781

To Lieutenant General Rochambeau

Head Quarters New Windsor 9th Jany 1781.


I have been honored with your Excellency’s favors of the 22d and 25th of December and 1st instant.1 The reasons assigned by your Excellency for declining, at this time, the enterprize, which I took the liberty to refer to your consideration, are weighty, but the representation made by the Chevalier Destouche, of the impossibility of going to Sea for want of Bread,2 renders the measure impracticable, had there been no other impediment.3

The grounds, on which, your Excellency determined not to detach a single Regiment to New Haven, are perfectly military. I would always wish to pursue a compact mode of cantonment, but I am often obliged to give up my judgment and risque some Men, to cover the Country and quiet the apprehensions of the people.

Your packet, addressed to the Chevalier de la Luzerne, was this day forwarded by a careful Gentleman to Philadelphia.4

I have received intelligence that the detachment under the command of General Leslie, which left Chesapeak Bay the latter end of November, had again landed at Cape Fear in North Carolina.5 I have not learned whether Leslie seemed inclined to establish a post upon the Coast, or to march up into the Country. I have the honor to be with great Respect Your Excellency’s Most obt and humble Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’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. Rochambeau acknowledged this letter when he wrote GW on 26 January.

1See Rochambeau to GW, 1 January. In his letters to GW of 22 and 25 Dec. 1780, Rochambeau had provided naval intelligence and explained why the French expeditionary force could not cooperate with Spanish forces in southern operations.

3On the draft, GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman, who penned that document, interlined the previous thirty words after striking out the following text: “conclusive, and convince me that it would be improper to make any disposition of our force here, before we receive intelligence from Europe.”

Index Entries