George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, 5 May 1781

New port, May the 5th 1781.


I received Last night your Excellency’s two Letters of the 30th Ulto. Till now, that article of the New york Gazette which mentions the Letter to Mr Laud Washington has been known by no body but me. I have not spoken of it to the Chevalier Destouches. I did what I thought most consistent with a sincere heart, I wrote about it to your Excellency with candor, being fully persuaded your Excellency’s answer would be wrote in the same style, and I wrote only to have the means of smothering up that trifle, at its birth. I believe that the Chevalier Destouches is ignorant of it, as he has not said to me one word about it, and I shall keep your Excellency’s Letter to put his mind at rest, in case he shewed the least uneasiness as to that matter. Your Excellency is very much in the right to think that the Departure of the Chevalier Destouches was delayed from the 19th of February, that he received your Excellency’s plan, to the Eight of March, by reason of his being in want of provisions. The naval movements cannot be very speedy unless they be made in a well furnished harbour and your Excellency knows very well what condition Rhode-island was in, when the British left it. I fear very much least the Land movements meet in this country with impediments which human activity cannot prevent: Our friend Colonel Wadsworth writes me continually that it will be impossible to make any movement before the beggining of June, that he has only pastures for our horses and oxen, on the West–side of Connecticut river, and that they can only be ready at that time.

We have seen Last evening two Big vessels a cruizing off the harbour, they are either Small British Line of Battle ships or Large frigates, I am afraid least they come by way of precaution and to ward off the blow which the Chevalier Destouches is preparing to strike in the Sund. Mr De Beville is not yet arrived and will be here only on the 6th or 7th instant. I am with respect and personal attachment, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient humble Servant.

le cte de Rochambeau

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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