Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VII (1778-1779)
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TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE. - 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 THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE.
New Windsor, 4 July, 1779.
My dear Marquis,
Since my last, which was written (to the best of my recollection, for not having my Papers with me I cannot have recourse to dates,) in March, both Armies continued quiet in their winter cantonments till about the first of May, when a detachment of about 2000 of the enemy, under the command of General Matthew, convoyed by Sir George Collier, made a sudden invasion of a neck of land, comprehending Portsmouth and Suffolk in Virginia, and after plundering and destroying the property (chiefly private) in those places, and stealing a number of negros, returned to New York, the moment they found the country rising in arms to oppose them.
This exploit was immediately followed by a movement of Sir Henry Clinton up the North River the beginning of June. What the real object of this expedition was, I cannot with certainty inform you. Our posts in the highlands were supposed to be his aim, because they were of importance to us, and consonant to his former plan for prosecuting the war; but whether upon a nearer approach he found them better provided and more difficult of access than he expected, or whether his only view was to cut off the communication between the East and the West side of the River below the highlands, I shall not undertake to decide—certain it is, however, that he came up in full force, disembarked at King’s ferry, and there began to fortify the points on each side, which to all intents and purposes are Islands, and by nature exceedingly strong.
This movement of the enemy and my sollicitude for the security of our defences on the river, induced me to march the Troops which were cantoned at Middlebrook, immediately to their support, and for the further purpose of strengthening the defences by additional works.—in this business I have been employed near three weeks. While the enemy have not been idle in establishing themselves as above. They have reinforced their main army with part of the garrison at Rhode Island.
General Sullivan commands an Expedition against the Six Nations, which, aided by Butler and Brandt, with their Tory Friends and some force from Canada, have greatly infested our Frontiers. He has already marched to the Susquehanna, with about 4000 men, all Continental soldiers, and I trust will destroy their settlements and extirpate them from the Country which more than probably will be affected by their flight, as it is not a difficult matter for them to take up their Beds and walk.
We have received very favorable accounts from South Carolina, by which it appears that the British Troops before Charlestown met with a defeat and are in a very perilous situation. We have this matter from such a variety of hands that it scarcely admits of a doubt, and yet no official information is received of it.
When, my dear Marquis, shall I embrace you again? Shall I ever do it?—or has the charms of the amiable and lovely Marchioness—or the smiles and favors of your Prince, withdrawn you from us entirely? At all times and under all circumstances, I have the honor to be, with the greatest personal regard, attachment and affection.1
[1 ]“I intend in the orders of to-morrow to publish and approve the sentences of De Pew, King and Bettis; but as we have had frequent examples latterly in the main army, I feel a reluctance at present to add to the number. I therefore propose, as it is the anniversary of our independence, to proclaim a general pardon to all the prisoners now under sentence of death in the army. . . . Inclosed you will receive the report of a committee of the officers of the Right Wing; in which they enter into a voluntary engagement not to purchase certain articles but at a limited price. This has originated with themselves, and though I do not expect much from it, yet as they have entered into the measure, and as its utility and success depend on its being general, I send it to you to take the sense of the officers under your command. The experiment can do no harm, and it may do good.”—Washington to General McDougall, 3 July, 1779.