Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO M. DANMOURS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. V (1776-1777)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
TO M. DANMOURS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. V (1776-1777) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. V (1776-1777).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
TO M. DANMOURS.
Headquarters, Camp atMiddlebrook, 19 June, 1777.
I have received your favour of the 6th instant, transmitting me your observations on the state of American affairs, and the part that France is interested by the motives of good Policy to act in consequence of it. Your reflections appear to me extremely judicious and well founded, and prove that you have made a good use of your time, in collecting the information necessary to regulate your judgment, in a matter that so intimately concerns all Europe as well as America. It were to be wished that sentiments similar to yours were impressed upon the French Court; and that they could be induc’d, not to delay an event so desirable both to them, and to us, as the one you are anxious should take place.—An immediate declaration of war against Britain, in all probability, cou’d not fail to extricate us from all our difficulty’s, and to cement the Bond of Friendship so firmly between France and America, as to produce the most permanent advantages to both—certainly nothing can be more the true Interests of France than to have a weight of such magnitude as America taken out of the Scale of British Power and opulence and thrown into that of her own and, if so, it cannot be adviseable to trust any thing to contingencies, when by a conduct decisively in our favor, the object in view, might be put upon a sure footing.
Permit me, Sir, to correct a mistake you have made, in narrating a fact, with respect to the Danbury expedition, in which some Magazines of ours were destroyed.—You mention only an hundred men, being lost to the Enemy, but from various accounts and circumstances, there is little reason to doubt, there must have been at least four hundred kill’d, wounded & taken—I have taken notice of this error; because it is of some little importance, the affair shou’d be rightly stated, as it serves to show in a striking point of view the spirit of opposition prevailing among the People, which animated them to assemble on so sudden an occasion, and to attack a regular Body of two thousand men, with so much vigor, as to force them to a precipitate return, little differing from a rout.
Genl. Howe has lately made a very extraordinary movement. He sallied out from Brunswick on the night of the 13th instant and marched towards Sommerset about nine miles distant, when he halted and began to fortify.—By this operation he had drawn much nearer to us, and was in a tolerably commodious posture for attacking our right, which led us to conjecture this might have been his design.—But all of a sudden He last night began to decamp, and with a good deal of expedition if not precipitation, has returned to his former position with his right at Amboy and his left at Brunswick. This was certainly a hasty resolution, but from what motive it is not easy to determine. He had begun a chain of redoubts from right to left, which together with other appearances indicated a design of remaining there some little time at least. His abandoning the ground he had taken and leaving the redoubts half finished is an argument that he had been disappointed in his views and found it necessary to alter them. Perhaps he was discouraged by the spirit that appeared among the inhabitants, who flocked together to join our Army, even beyond my expectations. As he began to retire in the night, had but a little way to go, was protected on his flank next to us by the Rariton and on his rear by the Millstone, I had little or no opportunity of annoying him in his return. His Soldiery plundered the People as usual and burnt many valuable houses in their rout.
I am sorry it is not in my Power to avail myself of your services in the way you propose:—at the same time I assure you, I entertain as high an opinion of your zeal, and abilities as the opportunities I have had of knowing you will admit. I am, &c.1
[1 ]“You should be extremely cautious in your enquiries into the character of those who are not natives, who offer to enlist. Desertions among men of that class have been so frequent that unless you find ’em on examination to be of good & unsuspicious conduct, they should not be taken by any means. Otherwise, most probably, they will deceive you—add no strength to our arms, but much expence to the Public account and upon the first opportunity will join the Enemy. If those you have enlisted, are to be suspected, will exchange places with men in the marching regts. I have no objection; I think it will be prudent they shou’d, but you cannot compell them without violating the conditions of their enlistment and doing an act of injustice.”—Washington to Colonel Baylor, 19 June, 1777.