George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Lafayette, 25 February 1781

From Major General Lafayette

Morristown [N.J.] february the 25th 1781

My dear General

inclosed I Have the Honor to Send An intelligence that is just Now Come to Hand1—Whatever May Be the Object of this Expedition, it Will Be Highly important for duke of Lauzun’s Legion to Hear of it As Soon As possible—Lauzun May Be at Rhode island—His Lieutenant Colonel is Also a Very Good officer.

Mons. de Murnan Will Be the Bearer of this And Ride day and Night—Having No Men And Believing the Expedition Would Be a Short one, He Has joined Me and Upon My Refusal goes for Your Excellency’s Leave—independent of the importance of this letter, I like Better to Let Him Ride post, than to Undeceive Him as to our destination.

You Have not Said to Me, My dear General, When You intend Going to Rhode island—in Case it Was postponed Untill you Hear of our Succes or failure, Nothing on My part Would Be Wanting to join You Speedily as Soon as My presence with the troops would not Be Necessary, if Your Excellency directed me to do So.2 With the Most tender Affection and Highest Respect I Have the Honor to Be My dear general Your Most obedient Humble Servant


I Beg leave to Request My Respects to Mistress Washington Mistress Hamilton and Compliments to the family.3

ALS, DLC:GW; copy, PEL.

1The enclosed intelligence report, a letter from John Adam, deputy commissary of prisoners, to Col. Elias Dayton, dated 23 Feb. at 11:00 P.M., was sent “per Express” to Dayton at Chatham, New Jersey. It reads: “I have just now heard a piece of news which renders me very uneasy—There is about 300 Cavalry of the Enemie gon on Long Island, from intelligence going to the Easterd, at same time a Number of Boats went up the sound, Sir Hary this day seed them off, which Vessels were to carrie them accross the sound, & supposed their Object is His Excellency Genl Washington (God grant they may be disapointed) I hear he is gon to the Eastward, how true I know not, ⟨but if⟩ it be so, you will be best judge, how far an immediate Express is requesite, with timely Notice to the Troops on the lines on the East side of Hudson & on the Sound.

“They are a good deal perplext in New York on Account of five large sail being seen off, which has drove in all their Crowssers & small Craft, they highsted signals for them to come in, on which they stood to Sea” (DLC:GW).

2GW departed for Newport on 2 March (see his letter to Rochambeau, that date).

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