Papers of John Adams, volume 12

From Benjamin Franklin

From Robert R. Livingston

From George Washington, 22 October 1781 Washington, George JA


From George Washington, 22 October 1781 Washington, George Adams, John
From George Washington
Head Quarters near York in Virginia 22d Octo 1781 sir

As the Transmission of the inclosed paper1 through the usual Channel of the Department of foreign Affairs would, on the present Occasion, probably be attended with great Delay—and recent Intelligence of Military Transactions must be important to our Ministers in Europe at the present period of Affairs—I have thought it would be agreeable both to Congress and your Excellency, that the Matter should be communicated immediately by a french Frigate dispached by Admiral deGrasse.2

Annexed to the Capitulation is a summary Return of the Prisoners and Cannon taken in the two places of York and Gloucester.3

I have added, upon the Principles abovementioned, a Copy of Genl Greene’s Report of his last Action in South Carolina.4

I have the Honor to be Your Excellencys Most Obedient and Most humble Servt Go: Washington

RC and enclosures (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Gen. Washington 22. Oct. 1781.”


The British articles of capitulation, dated 19 October.


The frigate Surveillante carried the Duc de Lauzun to France. He reached Paris on 19 Nov. with the first official news of Cornwallis’ surrender. JA received this letter, identical versions of which also went to Benjamin Franklin and John Jay (Washington, Writings , ed. Fitzpatrick, 23:253–254), on 30 Nov. as an enclosure in Benjamin Franklin’s letter of 26 Nov., below. JA wrote AA on 2 Dec. of the honor that Washington had done him by sending the documents and declared: “They Washington and Greene are in the Way to negotiate Peace, it lies wholly with them. No other Ministers but they and their Colleagues in the Army can accomplish the great Event” Adams Family Correspondence , 4:251.


Not found.


The enclosed letter from Gen. Nathanael Greene, dated 11 Sept. at “Head Quarters Martin’s Tavern near Fergusons Swamp South Carolina,” described the Battle of Eutaw Springs on 8 Sept., where Greene’s army of 2,000 men fought a nearly equal British 40force led by Lt. Col. Alexander Stewart (Greene, Papers , 9:328–338). Both sides sustained heavy casualties, but Stewart held the field. The victory proved hollow because Stewart soon retired to Charleston, where his troops remained for the duration of the war. The Battle of Eutaw Springs was the last significant battle of the Revolution in the deep South (Middlekauff, Glorious Cause , p. 492–494).