Williamsburgh Decr 24th 1781
I received this evening your Excellency’s Letter of the 10th instant.
The Cartel The New Blessing after having unloaded its cargo at york has already set sail for New york, all the [Loadings] for that same place, that shall be adressed to me by Mr Ross will have the passports which your Excellency desires.
I have Learnt by the common report, that your Excellencys seat has suffered by the fire. We are Likewise plagued with it in this town, where we have no water nor Buckets to put it out tho’ we give all the succours we can, with the greatest promptitude. The Wing of the College where we lodged our wounded officers has begun to be burnt down, we carried away all the sick, and all the furniture, but could only think about hindering the communication of the fire with the main building. Last night, the same accident happened to the Palace in which was the American hospital, all the sick were saved as well as the greatest part of the effects, and we hindered the fire from communicating to the neighbouring houses, to mine specially; it is the [ ] one occupied by your Excellency, it was covered all the night Long with a rain of red hot ashes. We have put all your sick in the Capitol, and to day they have had all which it was possible for us to [furnish] them with, at Colonel Menzies’s requisition I have [ ] a guard to beset round it to prevent the same accident, and I have caused the precautions to be tripled for the police of the establishment of our hospital at the College.
A French seaman who is just now arrived from Wilmington had a pass from the Aid de camp Mr Butler which proves that the americans had retaken possession of that town on the 15th of Last month and that major Craig had evacuated it on the 13th with the British garrison. I am with respect and personal attachment Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble servant
le Cte de Rochambeau
DLC: Papers of George Washington.