Fine Books & Manuscripts
Washington, George (1732-1799) Letter Signed, Headquarters, Bergen County, New Jersey, 13 September 1780. Single laid paper leaf. To William Dobbs, regarding plans with the French, inscribed on one page, text written in the hand of Robert Hanson Harrison (1745-1790); toned, silked, mounted, with separations at folds incurring the loss of approximately three words, 13 x 8 1/4 in.
"Sir, By a variety of Accounts received through different channels and which from the correspondence between them appear to be probably true—it would seem as if Your & Captain Shaw's services may be again called for, and in the course of a very few days—if not immediately. I wish You to keep the matter an entire secret; but at the same time that you will be in readiness to proceed to Rhode Island on the shortest notice, either from Myself—Count de Rochambeau—or the Chevalier de Ternay. I inclose a letter for Captn Shaw to the same effect, which You will be pleased to forward to him. I am Sir With esteem Yr Most Obed. St
Eagerly awaiting reinforcements of guns, ships, and money from France, Washington was met with good news on the arrival of Rochambeau in North America, with whom he immediately began a lively correspondence. In a letter penned to Rochambeau on the same day, Washington writes, "Should the Count De Guichen arrive before the end of this month, I still recommend New York to be our object; and in this view, I cannot forbear repeating to you how essential it is, that the fleet should instantly proceed to take possession of the port, and that your troops should as soon as possible form a junction with ours by way of the Sound. The former is in my opinion the most critical point of the operation, and the advanced period of the season increases the necessity of dispatch in the execution." Washington and Rochambeau met to discuss their strategy in person in Hartford, Connecticut on September 22nd, 1780. Disappointed by France's continued desire for a stronger position before making a strike against the British, Washington and his troops were forced to remain patient with their French supporters until the Siege of Yorktown in 1781.
Provenance: The Estate of David Spinney.
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