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D’Estaing and Sullivan

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

September 1.—The monsieurs and the rebels are likely to come to blows on account of the late movements in Rhode Island. When the Yankees heard of the intended co-operation of the French fleet with Sullivan, they all rushed down to Rhode Island, with King Hancock, that insufferable piece of bravery, at their head. It was given out that D’Estaing would make his preparations to swallow the British on Sunday, and that he would swallow them on the following day. (A precedent for such a destruction was found by every Presbyterian parson on a previous Lord’s day, and all their flocks veowed it would be jest so.) But it so happened the gallant Howe called the Frenchman out to battle, and he left his “faithful allies,” (with nothing but faith to help them,) to return as soon as he had drubbed the British fleet.

He returned to Rhode Island, dismantled and dismayed, having in his excursion not only had the British fleet against him, but the wrath of Heaven, and soon after, against the “urgent solicitations of the rebel commander (Mr. Sullivan) and his officers, he again set sail for Boston, to refit his scows, and recover his equanimity. This last act is the cause of the present difficulties. The rebels say the fleet did not need repairs, and the monsieurs say, “Be gar we will feet.” But this is not all: the renowned (La) Fayette has challenged Mr. Sullivan for something he said in general orders, and we are hourly expecting to hear of death among the rebels.1


1 Letter of Joshua Longstreet, September 8.