Philadelphia April 20. 1780
By various Accounts from the West Indies it seems to be beyond a Doubt that some twelve Ships of the Line, seven Frigates and a Number of Transports with Land Forces some Accounts say 10.000 from France are arrived at Martinique.
I have the honour to transmit your Excellency the Extract of a Letter enclosed which was interrepted by an American Cruizer to the Southward.
The Plan adopted by the Enemy as mentioned in the Extract when compared with their late Movements seems highly probable.
Your two Letters of the 17th were this Day received and laid before Congress. I have the honour to be with the highest Respect your Excelly’s hbble servant.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
London Jany 15. 1780
The Plan which is now understood to be determined upon for carrying on the War, is to take a certain Number of Posts in America in such a way as to command the Trade of the Country, and to have no other Object in America than the maintaining of these Posts, and the Ruling of the Trade by our Fleets. The Posts said to be fixed upon are Hallifax Penobscott, New York, Portsmouth, (in Virginia I suppose) Charles town, Savannah, & Augustine. To accomplish which we imagine you are now employed taking Charles Town, and establishing a Post at Portsmouth. These Objects being accomplished, we understand that 12.000 Men are to be detached to the West Indies which is to be the active Seat of the War against the French and Spaniards. It is evident that unless we can carry on an active offensive War against them abroad we never can succeed well. Last Campaign we were all defensive and every thing went badly with us; I never wish to see such another Campaign. We will be anxious however to know what your wise Heads in America will think of this Plan for the American War. To be sure the more Troops you can spare from thence to drub the common Enemy the better; yet I fear the Number mentioned is more than you can give after putting the Posts mentioned in a proper Condition.