George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette, 18 June 1781

Allen’s Creek 22 miles from Richmond 18th june 1781

My dear general

Independant of public Motives private Attachement for You Renders it very Hard to me that our Correspondance is so much Interrupted. I heartly feel for the Accident that Has put Some of your letters in the Hands of the Ennemy—the more So as the friendship that You are pleased to Honor me with Had Induced you to Confidential Communications—Letters from the late governor of this State to me Have also Been taken and their Contents Improved By the Ennemy—The Inclosed Copy will give you an official Account of transactions in this quarter—So much I owe to My general, But with My friend I Beg leave to Be More Confidential.

The conduct of the Baron, my dear general, is to me Unintelligible—Every Man woman and Child in Virginia is Roused Against Him. They dispute even on His Courage But I Cannot Believe their assertions. I must However Confess that He Had 500 and odds New levies and Some militia, that He was on the other Side of a River which the freshet Rendered very difficult to Be Crossed particularly By people that Had no Boats, that the greatest part of the Accounts Make Simcoe 400 Strong Half of them dragoons, that our Stores on the South Side were Destroid By about 30 or 40 men, that the Baron went to Staunton River about 70 miles from the Point of Fork, that the Militia Abandoned Him and I am informed the New levies deserted from Him, Because they did not like His Maneuvre. General Lawson and every officer and Soldier Both in the Regulars and Militia are So much Exasperated against the Baron and Cover Him with So Many Ridicules that after I have obtained a jonction with Him I do not know where to employ Him without Giving offense.

Had not the assembly at Charlotte Ville and the State Board of War Sent for Arms which they intended to fight with and which upon the Ennemy’s approach were left in their Way, Had the twelve Hours Been Improved that were given them By three Repeated alarms, Had not the Baron abandonned an Unattakable position Before So inferior a force, the Reason of which no man of Sense will Be able to Understand, I would Have the pleasure to Say that Lord Cornwallis’s journey to Virginia Has not produced Him the Smallest Advantage. The delays of the Pennsylvania Line, the Neglects in the Several departments Have all Been Combined to Bring about what the Baron’s Retreat Has Effected—our loss is Not Very Considerable, But in our Situation we Cannot afford loosing—This affair Has Chagrined me But the Inclosed Copy will Show you that I Avoid Reflecting on the Man who ought to Have Better Managed our affairs—upon Him was my Entire dependance in that Respect—The Baron wished for a journey to the Southward, The orders to Stay in this State Had Been intercepted But all this Cannot Be an Excuse. I Request you, my dear general, to Remember that this Communication is not to the Commander in chief.

I Heartly wish, My dear General, our Movements may Meet with your approbation—in Spite of every obstacle thrown in our Way I shall Collect our Forces to a point—800 light infantry 700 Pennsylvanians, 50 dragoons, 900 Riflemen 2000 Militia and 400 New levies (the Remainder Having deserted) will Be the Utmost Extent of forces we Can Expect. But the Harvest time will Soon deprive us of the greatest part of the Militia—Governor Nelson will I Hope Be a Supporter of Spirited Measures.

What little I Have Concerning N.Y. is in a Chest with Mr Charles Washington’s papers Near the Mountains in Orange County. I shall try to get it, and will in my Next Be able Better to Explain the Meaning of the New arrived fleet—Some Say the vessels are Empty which Might look as if they Came for a Reinforcement to Newyork, or perhaps do they Carry Stores from that place to Portsmouth. Adieu, My dear General, with the Highest Respect and Most tender affection I Have the Honor to Be Your Hbl. Servant and friend


Washington Had to day Some fever But only Caused By fatigue and His assiduity in the Business we Have upon Hand.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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