George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Robert Howe, 16 February 1781

From Major General Robert Howe

Westpoint 16th feby 1781.

Dear sir

I was honoured with your Excellency’s favour of the 15th about half hour Since.1 My earnest wish was, and is, to have the honour of attending you to Newport. the uncertainty of the time of your departure alone would induce me to Set out before you, but as this is not possible to be ascertained I would proceed with your leave to Hartford, where a visi[t] to Mr Web’s family long Since due might be paid & where I should be directly in your Excellency’s rout. should your Excellency be prevented from Coming on or be longer detained than you expect, honour me with an intimation of it, And I can wait you either there, at providence or Rhode-island, and my happiness will be to attend you.2 But if your Excellency’s detention is the r[e]sult of any circumstance of Service in which I can be the least usefull: if Any Matter of enterprize is on foot, where I can be employed, for God’s Sake do not let me proceed, for the deepest wound My heart Could possibly receive would be to be out of the way when military events were taking place. I hope with anxiety your answer and have the honour to be with the greatest respect Dr sir Your Excellency’s Most obedient and Most humble servant

Robt Howe

P.S. Lest I Should Be absolutely deprived of the pleasure of attending your Excellency, I beg that you will be pleased to forward to me the letters of recommendation So Kindly offered for Governor Hancock, Count Rochambeau or any other acquaintance.3

LS, DLC:GW. For the composition of this letter, see Howe to GW, 17 February. GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman wrote on the docket: “Ansd by the Genl himself.” GW presumably replied to Howe when he sent the requested letters of introduction (see n.3 below).

1This letter has not been found.

2Howe eventually joined GW on his trip to Rhode Island. For GW’s departure, see his letter to Rochambeau, 2 March.

3On 17 Feb., GW wrote from New Windsor to an unidentified person: “Major General Howe having an inclination—during our present moments of tranquility & the inactivity of the Season—to visit Rhode Island and Boston, I take the liberty of introducing him to your Excellency’s acquaintance as he may not have the pleasure of being personally known to you” (AL [incomplete], CSmH).

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