George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, 9 June 1781

Newport, June 9th 1781.


The Count de Barras has the honor to send to your Excellency the result of a 2d council of war that he has held, at your request. The Council has persisted in his resolution of the 31st ulto and sends you the reasons of it shewn in a manner which I make no doubt, will be agreeable to your Excellency.

of my corps of Troops, one half imbarks to morrow for Providence and I expect that the other half will soon follow, tho’ of the 500. Rhode island militia the half be not yet arrived, and according to your Excellency’s orders, which I received yesterday by the Duke de Lauzun I sent only this day to call forth those of Boston. The Duke de Lauzun having told me that your Excellency would be satisfied if I set off from Providence on the 20th instant; If I should have intelligence of the arrival of the convoy, three vessels of which separated since three weeks are arrived in different harbours, I think that the recrues, and the treasure are well worth the being incorporated with the army and that a stay of some days at Providence will agree very well with the dispositions of Colonel Wadsworth for the subsistances, and his furnishing the horses and Waggons. however the Time of stay shall be always subordinated to more urgent orders from your Excellency and to all possible events.

My letter and the extract of our conference at Wetherfield that I sent to the Chr De La Luzerne on the 28th Last were cyphered. But my Last and the result of the council of war that I sent to your Excellency by the Duke de Lauzun for the Chr De La Luzerne were not cyphered, be cause it was sent directly after, He has certainly begged of your Excellency, as I had desired of him, to send to him an officer or a sure person, as I desire you would do this. I am with respect and personal attachment Sir, Your Excellencys Most obedient Most humble serv.

le Cte de Rochambeau

This moment I receive intelligence from Boston that the convoy is seen and signalised.

The attack of St Lucia by a corps of 7000. men is confirmed from Every quarter.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


New London 2nd June 1781 6 O’Clock A.M.


Inclosed is a number of Letters Brought by Capt. Sage from Martinico who arrived here last Evening in a Ship belonging to this place having Nineteen days passage, Imagine these Letters will give your Excellency particular Accounts respecting matters in those parts, particularly if they are of a Late date, Capt. Sages Acct of the two Fleets in the West Indies differ from those sent your Excellency the 29th Ulto which I obtain’d from Capt. Ledyard who came from Guadaloupe—As Capt. Sage came directly from Martinico suppose his Account of matters may be much more relied upon—Capt. Sage says that when the Fleet first Arrived and went in pursuit of and came up with the Rear of the British Fleet a few Broadsides were exchanged between some of the Ships, but it appeard the British Fleet did not Choose to come to a General Engagement as reported before but steered off to the South West with Crouded Sail— it appears that the French Fleet did not return to Martinico from the pursuit of the British Fleet after their first pursuing them untill the third day, when they Immediately sailed for St Lucia with a large body of Troops which they landed at that Island, and when Capt. Sage left Martinico he understood the French troops had after Landing Obtained a very advantageous Emminence, and it was thought the Island would Surrender soon to the Arms of his most Christian Majesty.

I have not been able to obtain any further Knowledge of Arbuthnots Fleet since writing Your Excellency the 29th Ulto.

Capt. Sage on his passage from Martinico here took a Brig. from Charles town South Carolina, and brought her in with him, she is Laden with rice, turpentine &c. A Carolina paper taken in this prize I now Inclose Your Excellency. I have the Honor to be with Great Respect Your Excellency’s most Obedt Servt

Wm Ledyard

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