Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 2

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Author: Gouverneur Morris

U.S. History

From Gouverneur Morris.

Philadelphia, 26 April, 1779.

DEAR GENERAL,

You must permit me most heartily to congratulate you upon the very important intelligence which Monsieur Gerard will confidentially communicate to you. It is, and ought to be, a secret even from Congress, for which I need give you no reasons, as you are but too well acquainted with them. Measures have already been taken for obtaining the necessary supplies, which the Minister will detail to you. These you will undoubtedly assist, as far as may fall within your line.

When the enemy went to the Southern States, I considered it as a kind of madness, and I think they will feel the consequences; but certainly it cannot be worth while to lose a moment unnecessarily in that quarter, for the climate will fight for us during the summer, and what shall remain may be completed in the autumn, if the other objects succeed. The first then should be, to bring on a considerable quantity of rice, which, together with flour from the Middle States, must be transmitted eastward, for the ulterior operations. To accomplish New York, perhaps the western detachments may be useful, as a feint; but will it not be still more effectual to risk almost a retreat, in case of attack, by detaching to Albany, as if in prosecution of an expedition to Canada, calling upon Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, for a body of militia, to answer the immediate purpose of protecting the country, and the remote purpose of more consequence? This would probably lull the enemy into security, and false intelligence might be superadded to deceive them. In a few days the force, nevertheless, would be collected from Fort Edward and the Mohawk River to Albany, brought down to the Highlands by water, and coöperate, &c. A part, with the militia of Connecticut and New York, might alarm the enemy at Fort Knyphausen, and make the necessary preparations to throw a bridge over the river at Haerlem. The main body, by possessing themselves of the landing opposite to Greenwich, might, at a proper opportunity, be thrown across. The Jersey militia would keep Staten Island in alarm, and secure the posts in the rear. The other troops might be landed to attack, as the enemy landed to attack you. This, with a fire upon the town, would, in all human probability, effect the purpose.

That point gained, Rhode Island would be an easy acquisition, as the whole force might then be turned to that object, and then the great end would follow in its course. The magnitude and importance of things like these speak for themselves. The practicability will, I think, be made evident, when the means are considered. You will see the necessity of opening yourself fully to M. Gerard upon your designs, and taking, with him, all proper measures. Cattle, carriages for heavy artillery, and the like, should be assembled at Portsmouth, or some such convenient place. You will have the advantage, on this occasion at least, to be sure of your secrets; and, indeed, such steps may be taken, that, in the ignorance of the enemy as to the state and probable state of things in the West Indies, it will be impossible for them to develop the combination of incidents, so distinct as those which may be necessary at once to fulfil the objects in view, and blind them.

Excuse the length and tediousness of this letter, and believe me, with all the sincerity of private friendship, superadded to public esteem, affectionately,

Your friend and humble servant,

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS.

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Chicago: Gouverneur Morris, "From Gouverneur Morris.," Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 2 in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, ed. Jared Sparks (Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1853), 281–283. Original Sources, accessed January 31, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8DSSBXE8F63ID3B.

MLA: Morris, Gouverneur. "From Gouverneur Morris." Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 2, in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, edited by Jared Sparks, Vol. 2, Freeport, NY, Books for Libraries Press, 1853, pp. 281–283. Original Sources. 31 Jan. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8DSSBXE8F63ID3B.

Harvard: Morris, G, 'From Gouverneur Morris.' in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 2. cited in 1853, Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, ed. , Books for Libraries Press, Freeport, NY, pp.281–283. Original Sources, retrieved 31 January 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8DSSBXE8F63ID3B.