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.
Yours of the 10th came to hand late last night. The intentions of the enemy are yet very mysterious. From the expression of your letter, I take it for granted, that General Grey had embarked again after destroying Bedford; and by his hovering about the Coast, and Lord Howe’s coming round again to Newport, I cannot but think, that they mean something more than a diversion or deception. The destruction of the Count d’Estaing’s Fleet is an object of the greatest magnitude; but as that cannot be easily effected, while they lay in the harbor of Boston, without a coöperation by land and water, I am apprehensive, that they mean to possess themselves of such grounds in the neighborhood of Boston, as will enable them to carry such a plan into execution. Whether they would do this by landing at a distance, and marching thro’ the Country, or by possessing themselves at once of part of the harbor, I cannot determine. I must therefore recommend it to you to keep the strictest watch upon the motions of the Enemy, and if you find them inclining towards Boston, endeavor, with your own force and what you can collect upon the occasion, to prevent them from taking such position as will favor their designs upon the Fleet.
Upon a supposition, that the Enemy mean to operate to the eastward, I have already advanced three Brigades some distance from the main Body of the army, ready to move forward, should there be occasion; and I intend to place the whole in such a position in a day or two, that they may either march to the Eastward, or be within supporting distance of the posts upon the North River, as appearances may require.1
I shall govern myself chiefly in my motions by the advices I receive from you. I therefore most earnestly entreat you to be very clear and explicit in your information, and to let me hear from you every day—Tho’ there may be nothing material to communicate yet it relieves me from a state of anxiety, which a suspension of intelligence naturally creates.
I would not have you attempt, in the present situation of affairs to divide your force too much in order to cover every part of the Country, and as the Enemy have now the superiority by sea, I recommend it to you by all means to keep out of Necks or narrow pieces of land with any considerable Bodies of Men. Small guards posted at the most likely places of descent are all that ought to be expected from you. In one of my late letters I mentioned the necessity of taking the public Arms out of the Hands of the disbanded militia. I cannot help repeating the necessity again, because I find our public Magazines are unable to supply the wants of the Army, notwithstanding the great importations of last year.
Be pleased to forward my letter to Count d’Estaing with the greatest expedition, to whom be pleased to communicate every move of the enemy by land or water, as far as they come under your observation. I am, &c.
[1 ]“I was the more induced to come to this determination, as most of the accounts from New York seemed to lead to a belief, as they still do, that a considerable movement was and is in contemplation, if not an entire evacuation of the city, and this by water. Besides these reasons, the principal objects for taking post here do not now exist. One was to create every possible jealousy in favor of the expedition against Rhode Island; another, the consuming of the forage within its vicinity and towards Kingsbridge. The former is now over, and the latter in a great degree accomplished.”—Washington to the President of Congress, 12 September, 1778.