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Anonymous letter: Arrival of Rochambeau’s army at Newport, Rhode Island(1780 July)

  • MS 2007.6

In this letter from early July 1780, an unidentified correspondent reports the latest developments in British-occupied New York City. This document provided significant intelligence to Washington’s army based in New Jersey. The account reports upon the arrival of Rochambeau and thousands of French troops that would figure prominently in the 1781 siege of Yorktown.

Rochambeau landed at Newport, Rhode Island, on July 10, but was held there inactive for a year, owing to his reluctance to abandon the French fleet blockaded by the British in Narragansett Bay. At last, in July 1781, Rochambeau’s force finally left Rhode Island, marching across Connecticut to join Washington on the Hudson River at Dobbs Ferry, New York. There then followed the celebrated march of the combined forces and the siege of Yorktown. On September 22, they combined with the Marquis de Lafayette’s troops and forced Lord Cornwallis to surrender on October 19.