Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO MAJOR-GENERAL SULLIVAN. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VII (1778-1779)
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TO MAJOR-GENERAL SULLIVAN. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VII (1778-1779) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VII (1778-1779).
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TO MAJOR-GENERAL SULLIVAN.
I have been favd. with yours of the 27th 10 o’clock, a.m. Upon opening of it, I was much disappointed at not hearing of Count d’Estaing’s arrival, who I hope will have made his appearance off the harbor of Newport before this time, as a reinforcement passed Mamaronec the day before yesterday morning.1 I wish it had been in my power to spare a larger detachment of Continental Troops; but remember I am left near the Enemy, with a Force inferior to theirs upon New York and the adjacent Islands. I am much pleased with the account of the readiness which you were in, to begin operations, as soon as the Count and the Marquis should arrive; and I flatter myself, that you will receive no small assistance from Genl. Greene, in the department of quartermaster-general as well as in the military line.2
As you have mentioned the matter of carrying the Enemy’s works by storm, and have submitted it to my consideration and advice, I will only say, that as I would not, on the one hand, wish to check the ardor of our Troops, so I would not, on the other, put them upon attempting what I thought they could not carry but with a moral certainty of success. You know the discipline of our men and officers very well, and I hope you, and the General Officers under your command, will weigh every desperate matter well before it is carried into execution. A severe check may ruin the expedition, while regular and determined approaches may effect the work, tho’ perhaps they may take something longer time. Upon the whole, I will not undertake at this distance to give orders. I submit every thing to your prudence, and to the good advice of those about you. You have my sincere wishes for your success, as I am, yours, &c.
P. S. By a letter from the officer of the Mamaroneck Guard he does not seem certain that the Vessel which went thro’ the Sound the day before yesterday had troops on Board, at least any considerable number.
[1 ]As soon as it was decided, that the French fleet could not pass round the Hook, and it was resolved to make a combined attack on the British in Newport, Colonel Laurens was sent to Rhode Island to engage pilots and make arrangements for meeting Count d’Estaing on his arrival. He reached Providence on the 24th of July, and the next day proceeded to Point Judith, with an ample number of pilots under the command of Colonel Wall. Eight boats were obtained, suitable for boarding the ships, and well manned. A careful watch was kept along the shore, and every thing conducted with as much secrecy as possible, that the enemy might not discover them. The fleet appeared on the 29th, when the pilots went on board. General Sullivan came from Providence, where he was then stationed, boarded the Admiral’s ship, and had an interview with him, in which the plan of future operations was arranged. The Marquis de Lafayette likewise paid a visit to the Count d’Estaing on the 30th, having reached Providence the day before.—Sparks.
[2 ]Although General Sullivan had every thing in readiness at Providence, as far as it depended on him, yet the troops did not arrive so soon as Count d’Estaing, and it was a week before they were prepared to coöperate in making a descent upon Rhode Island. This delay, which was unavoidable, may be considered the principal cause of defeat of the enterprise; for, if it had been undertaken immediately, it might have been effected before the British fleet arrived.