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Do not interfere with an army that is returning home. When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.

-- Sun Tzu

Revolutionary WarSIR,
I HAVE made several attempts to inform your excellency, that the French West-India fleet, under Monsieur de Grasse, entered the capes the 29th ult. I could not exactly learn the number; they report twenty-five or twenty-six sail of the line.


One of seventy-four and two of sixty-four, and one frigate, lie at the mouth of this river. On the 6th, the seventy-four and frigate turned down with a contrary wind, and yesterday the two others followed. My report, dated last evening, from a point below, which commands a view of the capes and bay, says, that there were within the capes only seven ships, tow of which were certainly ships of the line, and two frigates. Firing was said to be heard off the capes the night of the 4th, morning and night of the 5th, and morning of the 6th.

The French troops landed at James town are said to be three thousand eight hundred men, Washington is said to be shortly expected; and his troops are intended to be brought by water from the head of Elk, under protection of the French ships. The Marquis de la Fayette is at or near Williamsburgh: The French troops are expected there, but were not arrived last night. As my works were not in a state of defence, I have taken a strong position out of the town. I am now working hard at the redoubts of the place. Provisions for six weeks: I will be very careful of it.

I have the honour to be, &c.

CORNWALLIS
Note: York town, in Virginia, 8th Sept. 1781


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