What General Washington Did
While He Stayed at The Hermitage
Through the four days that Washington was at The Hermitage, he attended to a number of issues of crucial significance in the continuing War for Independence. Despite the importance of the recent Battle of Monmouth, he did not have much time to dwell on it. He was concerned about the proper treatment of the wounded and wanted his troops to rest after the engagement and the subsequent march from central New Jersey in the oppressive heat of July.
However, Washington's mind was primarily focused on the need to decide where to position his army in case the British troops in New York City moved and to supply his men with food and other necessities. Crucially, he had to enter into his calculations the very encouraging news, received partly in Paramus on July 11, that a French fleet had arrived off the coast of Maryland and was prepared to participate in an action against the British. By July 14, Washington was receiving reports that the fleet was off Sandy Hook, at the approach to New York Harbor. Commanded by Vice-Admiral Count d’Estaing, a distant relative of the Marquis de Lafayette, the French fleet consisted of sixteen ships with 36–90 guns. On the way to New York, it had caught a 26-gun British ship and sunk it. Washington sent congratulations to Count d’Estaing and two of his own aides-de-camp, John Laurens and Alexander Hamilton.
Washington also corresponded with Governor George Clinton of New York and with General Horatio Gates and Baron Johan de Kalb, both of whom had troops north of Paramus. He discussed Indian attacks in New York and Pennsylvania with Colonel John Cleves Symmes of the 3rd Regiment of the Sussex County Militia. The seventeen or so letters of record sent by Washington from Paramus were in the handwriting of his aides Alexander Hamilton, John Laurens, McHenry, Tench Tilghman, Robert Hanson Harrison, and Richard Kidder Meade. [Tell me more about Washington's aides.] Additional letters written at this time from Paramus were sent by Laurens, Hamilton, and General Nathanael Greene. [Tell me more about additional correspondence sent from Paramus in July 1778.]
The Marquis de Lafayette, General Greene, and General Alexander, with his aide-de-camp Colonel James Monroe of Virginia, also accompanied Washington while he stayed near The Hermitage.
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