George Washington Papers

From George Washington to George Clinton, 21 June 1781

Head Quarters New Windsor June 21st 1781

Dear Sir

I have just received a Letter from Brigadier General Clinton of the 15th enclosing the examination of two Prisoners who were lately taken by one of his Scouts from whence it appears the Enemy in Canada, have not made any Movements in force, or preparations for an incursion; and indeed this intelligence corresponds so exactly with that, which has been received through other channels, that I cannot but regret having sent the Reinforcement to the Northward, at a time when the aid of every Man was so essential to the success of the operations in contemplation.

As it will be indispensably necessary, when we advance towards the Enemy’s Lines, to withdraw the regular Force from the Northward, I have thought proper to advice General Clinton & Your Excellency of it, that provision might be made as far as practicable, to replace these Troops with the Men engaged for the Campaign, and the three Year’s Service. At the same time that I express my unhappiness at being forced to the measure, and assure Your Excellency, that nothing but necessity could induce me to recall the Continental Troops, I wish it may be understood, that when the Moment of operating arrives there is not any consideration which can persuade me to counteract the plan that has been concerted between the Count de Rochambeau & myself.—But, lest the Enemy should attempt to take advantage of their absence, to make inroads on the frontier in Order to distract our attention, and cause a diversion in favor of their most important Post, I beg leave to recommend in the strongest terms that every Means in your pow’r should be made use of, to guard against such an event. I will also take the liberty to suggest, whether an additional security might not be afforded to those parts which are exposed to the ravages of the Enemy, by my sending a Continental Officer to assist in rousing and assembling the force of the Country, and to put at the Head of such Volunteers & Militia as might be drawn together on an emergency from the district of Country called Vermont and whether in that case, Brigadier [Genl] Stark would not be a proper person to employ on this service, especially as he has already obtained a reputation from his successes in that quarter, as he is undoubtedly a man of bravery, and has been accustomed to command irregular Troops in action: It appears to me a popular Officer in that situation would be extremely advantageous on many accounts. Whether there may be any reasons of State against it I know not; I have therefore submitted it to your consideration. I beg your opinion freely on the subjec,t and have the honor to be With great regard & esteem Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Servant

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