George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Antoine-Jean-Louis Le Bègue de Presle Duportail, 14 June 1781

14 jun. 1781

dear general

i have not Thought of any other thing but which occurred to me yesterday in the Conversation. but as i am more Convicted By Reflection of their advantage i will expose them again to your excellency.

since the fleet is to Come so soon and to stay a short while i thinck there is no more occasion for [Desitating] for the proper situation of the fleet of Mr du Barras. he must absolutely, i believe, stay at Rhodeisland and if a thousand militia were not sufficient for its security it should be proper to call two or three thousand, even without any other Consideration, but we have others.

the Gentleman acquainted with the eastern states assured us yesterday in the board of the general officers that the militia of New hampshire and massachuset. bay wanted to Come here at least four weeks from the time that they will Receive the orders. so if your excellency does not apply immediately to these states they Cannot be here at a time.

i observe that it is a very happy Circumstance that the french fleet is in need of militia at newport for its safety your excellency may Cover his designs but all the militia which may be Called from new hampshire, massacuset. bay, Rhodeisland, and part of Connecticut for the seige of New york can be Called to newport. it will appear natural to every body here and at new york that our french army be replaced at Newport by an equal number of militia. his militia Can, i thinck, embark on the fleet to Come to new york. i do not see any such favorable Reason for Calling soon the militia of pensilvania and jersey, but they are nearer yet would be advantageous perhaps to Call some of the state of the back ContryNew York state on the pretext of garrisoning west point.

would it not be advantageous to Collect soon provisions upon the Roads by which the militia should Come. i observe many times they are stopped in their march for want of provisions in proper places all these precautions Can be taken without betraying the first.

i do not see now any strong Reasons for hurrying the march of our army down except some large body to hinder the enemy, if possible, from destroying forage in white plain and farther Down.

i believe very important in this Circumstance to Recommend to Marquis de la fayette not to hazard his army for any Reason.

the principal thing, i believe, is to hurry our preperations for the siege. i Recommend in my department the plancks for the plattformes and the sand bags.

if something occurs to me, according your excellency’s orders, i Shall Have the honour to Communicate it to you. i am with the greatest Respect and attachment your ecellency [   ] most obedient and very humble servant


DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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