George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Lafayette, 27 February 1781

To Major General Lafayette

Head Quarters New Windsor
27th Feby 1781. 8: OClock P.M.

Dear Marquis.

I have this moment recd a letter from the Count de Rochambeau, with intelligence of which the inclosed is a Copy.1 By this it appears that the first Squadron had returned to Newport but that Mr de Touches was fitting up the Romulus with an intent to despatch her and I suppose the Frigates for Chesapeak as being of more proper construction for the Navigation of that Bay than the ships which were before there. I have written to Count de Rochambeau and to Mr de Touche and have informed them that you are prosecuting your march to the Head of Elk2—That you will embark there and wait only for a certain knowledge that the French Squadron is again in the Bay of Chesapeak, to determine you to proceed to a cooperation—I hope the Squadron will have again sailed before my letter reaches Newport.

Upon your arrival at the Head of Elk you will immediately embark the troops if the transports are ready, that not a moments time may be lost after you receive certain advices that our friends are below—But untill that matte⟨r⟩ is ascertained beyond a doubt you will on no account leave Elk River.3

You will write immediately to the Baron Steuben and inform him that he may expect the return of the squadron and that he is to continue every preparation and make every arrangement before directed for the prosecution of the cooperation. With the warmest attachmen⟨t⟩ I am Dear Marquis Yr most obt and humble Servt.

P.S. You will readily perceive the propriety of keeping parts of this letter and intelligence secret.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

2See GW’s letters to Rochambeau and Destouches, both this date.

3Tilghman wrote the previous three words on the draft after striking out “commit yourself to the Bay.”

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