George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Steuben, 27 February 1781

To Major General Steuben

Head Quarters New Windsor Feby 27. 81


I received last evening your favour of the 12th instant enclosing copy of one from General Greene. I am much obliged to you for transmitting it. As you conjectured, he did not write me by the same opportunity.1

Though the return of the enemy’s missing ship has made our allies lose their superiority, which will be unfavourable to my plan of cooperation in Chesapeak bay; yet the Marquis will still prosecute his march to make the best of circumstances.2 He will inform you from time to time of his progress.

I hope immediate measures will have been taken to secure the arms and Clothing which went round in the French ships3—and that they will enable you to contribute to the succour of General Greene. His situation is truly critical and demands every effort.

Congress have ordered the Pensylvania line to the Southward;4 its present dissolution and its distance will make it a remote succour; but I shall do every thing that depends on me to accelerate its motions—I have written to General St Clair to send as many men as he can collect with the Marquis to endeavour to descend the Chesapeak under protection of the French ships.5 This if executed will contribute much to despatch.

I perceive The Governor has called together the legislature of the state—I hope the pressing danger will enforce the arguments which policy and experience have so long urged for the most decisive measures to raise a permanent force and provide supplies.6 I am with great regard Sir Yr most Obedient and Most humble servant.

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

3For the shipment of these arms and clothing, see Destouches to GW, 7 February.

6Virginia governor Thomas Jefferson had called for the Virginia General Assembly to meet on 1 March (see Proclamation Convening the General Assembly and Circular Letter to Members of the Assembly, both 23 Jan., in Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 41 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends , 4:432–34).

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