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British ships from before Annapolis, I am sorry, as matters are circumstanced, that you have put yourself so much further from the point, which now of necessity becomes the object of your destination. Whether General Phillips remains in Virginia or goes further southward, he must be opposed by a force more substantial than militia alone; and you will for that reason immediately open a communication with General Greene, inform him of the numbers, situation, and probable views of the enemy in Virginia, and take his directions as to marching forward to join him, or remaining there to keep a watch upon the motions of Phillips, should he have formed a junction with Arnold at Portsmouth.*
Every difficulty, so far as respects the wants of the officers and men, and the uneasinesses, which might arise upon their being ordered upon a more distant service than they expected, were foreseen, and would have been removed by recalling the detachment and forming another, had not the reasons of a public nature, which were mentioned in my letter of the 6th, outweighed all private considerations.
You must endeavour to get shoes from Philadelphia, which will be essentially necessary before you can move; and, if you will cause a return to be made of such articles, as will probably be wanting in the course of the campaign, I will endeavour to forward them from hence, with a proportion of any stores, which may have been sent on by the States for their troops. If the officers will write back to their friends here for any additional baggage, of which they may stand in need, it shall be forwarded under careful conductors. The difficulties, which you will experience on the score of
* See APPENDIX, No. I.
provision and transportation, would have been common to any other body of troops. They will I know be great, but I depend much upon your assiduity and activity.
If the most distant prospect of such an operation as you speak of had been in my mind, I should have looked upon your detachment as essential to the undertaking ; but I can assure you, without entering into a detail of reasons, which I cannot commit to paper, that I have not at present an idea of being able to effect such a matter. This had very great weight in the determination of the general officers and myself ; for we should have been very happy in an opportunity of succouring the southern states by a diversion, could it have been attempted with any tolerable hope of success.
The small remains of the Jersey line seem necessary to form a head, to which the recruits, if any are obtained, may unite themselves. That line stands next for detachment, and therefore it is more than probable that it may soon become necessary to send the whole to the southward. But the reason, which I have
just mentioned, operates in favor of keeping the remainder as long as possible. I shall be glad to hear from you, as to the time of your setting out from Elk, your prospects of getting forward, and the temper of the troops; and, above all, I shall ever be happy in knowing that you are well, and that every thing contributes to your happiness and satisfaction, being very truly and sincerely, my dear Marquis, &c.
TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE.
New Windsor, 14 April, 1781. MY DEAR MARQUIS, Your two letters of the 10th came to hand last night. In mine of the 11th, I informed you as fully as it was prudent to do upon paper, that there was at present little or no prospect of an operation in the quarter you seem to wish.* The contingencies appeared to me so remote, in the conversations I had with Count de Rochambeau, that I could not justify myself in withdrawing a detachment already so far advanced towards the point in which relief is immediately and absolutely necessary.
To have sent the detachment by water would certainly have been in every respect advantageous; but, even supposing M. Destouches should consent to spare the number of ships you mention, would it be safe to risk so valuable a body of men, and so unequal a force, in the face of the whole British fleet? We cannot suppose their intelligence so bad, but they would have notice of the embarkation, and take measures to intercept it.
Congress have received information through General Forman, that Sir Henry Clinton means in person to take post upon the Delaware at Newcastle. I have heard of no preparation at New York for an embarkation of that consequence, or of any other, and therefore I do not put much confidence in the report, upon so large a scale. A party may perhaps be going into the Delaware Bay to interrupt the commerce of Philadelphia, and draw supplies from the disaffected near the shores. I expect to hear of some desertions from
* A combined attack upon New York. VOL. VIII.
you in consequence of your move; but the composition of your troops is good, and, if the officers enter upon the service with alacrity, I have no doubt but the men will soon forget their attachments in this quarter, and follow cheerfully. I am, &c.
TO JONATHAN TRUMBULL, JUNIOR.
New Windsor, 16 April, 1781.
Colonel Harrison, who has acted as my secretary since the beginning of 1776, has accepted an honorable and profitable civil appointment in the State of Maryland, and is gone to enjoy it. The circle of my acquaintance does not furnish a character, that would be more pleasing to me as a successor to him, than yourself. I make you the first offer, therefore, of the vacant office, and should be happy in your acceptance of it. The pay is one hundred dollars a month ; the rations those of a Lieutenant-Colonel in the army, which in fact are additional, as the value thereof is received in money. No perquisites appertain to the office. The secretary lives as I do, is at little expense while he is in my family, or when absent on my business, and is in the highest confidence and estimation from the nature of his office. I mention these things for your information, and shall be happy in a speedy and favorable answer, being, with great esteem and regard, &c.*
* The invitation was accepted by Mr. Trumbull.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
New Windsor, 16 April, 1781. SIR, Previous to the receipt of your letter,* I had directed the commissary of prisoners to renew a proposal, which was some time since made to the enemy, for exchanging General Burgoyne, and a balance of private prisoners due to us, for the residue of our officers on Long Island, and as many of the southern officers as would make up the difference. My motives for this proposal were these. General Burgoyne is said to be in ill health ; his death would deprive us in exchanges of the value of one thousand and forty private men, or officers equivalent, according to the tariff which has been settled. I thought it advisable not to risk so considerable a loss, when his exchange would give relief to a number of our officers in captivity, and
* President of Congress to General Washington. _“I have the honor of transmitting to your Excellency the enclosed resolve of the 3d instant, directing the recall of Lieutenant-General Burgoyne, and all other officers, prisoners of war, now absent on their paroles from America, to return immediately.
“ It is proper to inform your Excellency, that this resolution is adopted in consequence of information, that the late President Laurens is confined in the Tower of London, as a state criminal, under pretext of his being guilty of treasonable practices. Should this resolution embarrass or impede any measures your Excellency may have adopted relative or preparatory to a general exchange of prisoners, it is taken for granted that you will please to represent the same to Congress, previously to any proceedings for carrying the resolve into execution.” - April 5th.
Notice of the above requisition was accordingly communicated to Sir Henry Clinton by General Washington, with a request, that the necessary steps might be taken for a speedy compliance with it. In consequence of the fact made known by General Washington, that he had proposed an exchange for General Burgoyne, Congress rescinded their resolve respecting his recall, and authorized the exchange to be completed. — Secret Journals, April 23d. General Clinton was then requested to countermand the order, if it had already been transmitted to England.