Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTIONS AND REPLIES. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. IX (1780-1782)
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QUESTIONS AND REPLIES. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. IX (1780-1782) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. IX (1780-1782).
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QUESTIONS AND REPLIES.
Questions by Rochambeau.
The Count de Barras in his Letter of the 13th instant, and Mr. De Choisy, in his Letter of the 15th demand both of them, Mr. De Choisy by the desire of the Count de Barras, What is to be the definitive plan of operations that his Excellency General Washington has fixed on that they may make it known to the Count de Grasse, on his arrival in these Seas, and so, enable of him to concur with us. I beg of his Excellency to fix on the answer that I am to send to them and at the same time it will enable me to make beforehand the necessary preparations for the corps of Troops that I command.
Answers by G. W.
It is next to impossible at this moment, circumstanced as we are & laboring under uncertainties, to fix a definitive plan for the Campaign—definitive measures must depend upon circumstances at the Time of the Arrival of the Count de Grasse,—particularly on the following—
1st. The situation of the Enemy at that moment.
2d. On the succors he shall bring with him—or on the Force we shall have collected by that Period.
3d. On the Operation & Advantages wch. may be gained by the Fleet in the moment of its Arrival.
and 4th. On the Continuance of the Fleet upon & probability of its maintaing. its decisive Superiority whilst it is here.
Let us suppose that the Count de Grasse does not look on it as practicable to force Sandy hook, and that he does not bring with him any Land troops:
In these two cases which appear very likely, because on one hand, the Seamen look on Sandy hook bar, as impossible to force, and on the other hand because the Court of France makes no mention of any troops to be brought here by the Count de Grasse, in the Letters that inform us of his arrival here—in these two cases, Does his Excellency think that with an Army which, joined to the French corps, will not be much more numerous than the Troops that defend New York, it will be possible to undertake with success something against that place.
If the Fleet of Count de Grasse should be late in it arriving to this Coast—if the Count should not think it prudent to attempt forcing the Passage of the Hook—or fail in making the Attempt—if he should bring no land Troops with him, & the American Force should not be considerably augmented—I am of Opinion, that under these Circumstances we ought to throw a sufficient Garrison into W. Point, leave some Continental Troops & Militia to cover the Country contiguous to N. York, & transport the Remainder (both French & American) to Virginia, should the Enemy still keep a Force there. The Season & other Circumstances will admit of late Operations in that Quarter. To be prepared for such an Event, I think it highly expedient that Mr. Barras should hold all his Transports in the utmost Readiness to take the Detachment under Mr. De Choisy & the heavy Artillery at Providence on Board, & sail with them to meet the Troops either in Delaware or Chesapeake, as may be ultimately agreed upon.
If his Excellency does not look on it as practicable to risk it, could not the operations be directed against Virginia, Mr. de Grasse be sent to Chesapeak bay and bring there the detachment of Mr. De Choisy, and a part of his Excellency’s army or the French corps march as far as Elk river, where the Count de Grasse being master in Chesapeak bay would come to convoy him? Would not we be then in a condition to undertake with Success on Lord Cornwallis and force him to evacuate Virginia. That march of the French troops would need to be prepared beforehand. It would be necessary that Count de Barras carry wtth him our Siege Artillery, and bring with him all the Transports necessary to the passage of the French corps in the Bay of Chesapeak.
Le Ct. de Rochambeau.
But should the Fleet arrive in Season—not be limited to a short stay & should it be able to force the Harbor of N. York, & in addition to all these, should find the British Force in a divided State,—I am of Opinion that the Enterprise against N. York & its Dependencies shou’d be our primary object.
To prevent the Enemy from a possibility of formg. a Junction & to lay a Foundation for their Ruin, I was anxious that Count de Barras, if he tho’t the Departure of the Royal Oak had given him naval superiority, should sail for Chesapeak, an Event if the Superiority is onhis Side, I devoutly wish as I am of Opinion that much Good & no Evil can result from it.—The Reasons which induce the Count to decline that Measure, have been communicated by him to your Excellency & to me by Letter.
Upon the whole I do not see what more can be done than to prosecute the Plan agreed to at Weathersfield—& to recommend it to the Count de Grasse to come immediately to Sandy Hook & if possible possess the Harbor of N. York at the Moment of his Arrival and then form a full View & Consideration of the Circumstances which exist form a definitive plan of Campaign upon the surest grounds.
Camp at Dobbs’ Ferry,