"I wish you to be exceedingly watchfull": George Washington to George Weedon, September 1781

This is a sketch of three soldiers operating a cannon.

As American and French troops moved to trap the General Cornwallis's army at Yorktown, General Washington wrote the following letter to General George Weedon. Weedon commanded American militia helping to block the British from escaping to the north side of the York River, but his men were low on ammunition and food supplies. In this letter, Washington acknowledges the difficulties and writes about welcoming the French forces and continuing to keep the British at Yorktown.

Spelling is original.


Williamsburg 23 September 1781 

Dear Sir, 

Your Letter of the 18th inst’ came to Hand while I was absent on a Visit to the Count de Grasse at Cape Henry—from whence I am just returned---I am very sensible of your Attention—I am sorry for the Embarrassments you meet with—I hope they will soon be removed-- 

The Legion of the Duke Lauzun is ordered to join the Troops now under your Comand--& you may soon Expect to see them---I wish you to be exceedingly watchfull upon the Motions of the Enemy on your Side, & to prevent, as much as possible, without risquing too much, the Enemy’s gaining Provisions or Supplies from the Country--and you will be so good as to give me the earliest Information of any important Circumstance that may take place-- 

The Duke de Lauzun is a Gentleman of Rank & long Service in the Army of France-a Brigadier at the present Time in the Army under Comand of the Count de Rochambeau---You will please to show him all the Respect & Attention that his Character demands--- 

I am, Dear Sir, 

Your most Obed Servt 

Go. Washington 


Related Battles

York County and Newport News, VA | April 5, 1862
Result: Inconclusive
Estimated Casualties