George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette, 15 December 1782

Newburgh 15th Decr 1782.

My dear Marqs

In my last of the 20th of Octobr I informed you that the armies were about quitting the field, & that the French Troops were going to the Eastward—they have since embarked at Boston—(except the Legion of Lauzen which is at Burlington)—for the West Indies; and by a Letter which I have recd from the Marqs De Vaudrueil, will sail about the 20th Instt.

The Count de Rochambeau—to whose care I commit this Letter—The Chevalr Chartellux—Genl de Beville & several other French Gentlemen have passed this on their Rout to Philadelphia—where, or in the Chesapeake they mean to Embark for France—I should do injustice to the feelings of my heart, was I to suffer such characters to depart from this Country without carrying with them that testimony of my gratitude and friendship which Men of their merit and Services are entitled to from every individual of it—I could not have bid a Brother farewell with more regret than I did the Chevr Chartellux than whom no Man stands higher in my estimation.

Our Summer was inactive, and more than probably, the Winter will be tranquil. Our eyes are turned towards the Negociators at the Court of Versailles; but we are not so sanguine as to expect any thing conclusive till the meeting of the British Parliament; by which time it is presumed that Lord Shelburn will be able to know on what ground he stands, and will govern himself accordingly.

Charles Town was not evacuated on the 22d of last Month, but every thing was in a state of preparation for the event—Some Provencial Corps had been sent to St Augustine, & the 4th Battn of the Royal Americans withdrawn from that Fortress—the prevailing reports & opinions are, that the British Troops at Charles Town will go to the West Indies, & the Foreigners to Hallifax—The British Fleet has left the harbr of New York—the first division of it consisting of 13 Ships of the line, & several frigates, under the orders of Lord Hood (who had on board the Prince, William Henry) Sailed from Sandy hook the 26th of October—the Second division commanded by Admiral Pigot consisting of an equal number of Ships of the line left the Harbour the 22d of last Month; since which neither has been heard of—Admiral Digby with two Fifties & some frigates, compose the Naval force of the Harbour, at this time.

There has been much talk of a detachment of British Troops from New York to the West Indies, but none have embarked yet, tho’ four Regiments have been under Embarkation orders near a Month. certain it is the Enemy are collecting a great number of Transports at that place, not having less, at this time, than an 150 large ones in that harbour—The opinion however among the best informed in the City is, that the total evacuation of New York depends upon the determination of Parliament—to whom—add they—Lord Shelburn is resolved to submit the great question respecting the Independency of America; on the decision of which, this matter depends—but why they should delay the detachment for the West Indies, is not so easy accounted for, unless they think it unsafe to weaken the Garrison while the French Troops are in America.

Your Aid G:A: Washington, by the last Accts I had of him, was in a very declining State of health—supposed to be in a consumption—I have advised him to a trip to the Southward, & but for the danger of captivity wch might prove fatal to him in his present weak state I should have recommended a voyage to the West Indies—as the Doctrs think it might be of Service to him—Mrs Washington who is now here, offers her best wishes and most respectful compliments to Madame La Fayette & yourself—mine are added with great sincerity, as no Man is more warmly attached by all the ties of friendship and Affection to you than is, My dear Marqs Yr Most Obedt & faithful friend Hble Servt

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