VARIOUS PROPERTIES
LAFAYETTE, Gilbert du Moitier, Marquis de (1757-1834), Continental General. Autograph letter signed ("Lafayette") to an unidentified correspondent (possibly Thomas Sim Lee), "Mrs. Chew's House, Herring Bay," 11 March 1781. 1 page, folio, verso discretely silked.

Details
LAFAYETTE, Gilbert du Moitier, Marquis de (1757-1834), Continental General. Autograph letter signed ("Lafayette") to an unidentified correspondent (possibly Thomas Sim Lee), "Mrs. Chew's House, Herring Bay," 11 March 1781. 1 page, folio, verso discretely silked.

LAFAYETTE'S DARING ATTEMPT TO CAPTURE BENEDICT ARNOLD IN VIRGINIA

A rare war-date letter from the young officer whom Washington had sent with three regiments of light infantry to repulse Benedict Arnold's raiding party in Virginia and capture its commander. Lafayette and his troops had sailed down the Delaware to Head of Elk on the Chesapeake, but bad weather prevented further advance: "The impossibility to find Captain Middleton last evening has been the Reason that prevented us to leave last evening and the southerly Gale...making it difficult to go down the Bay we stopped at this place in expectation to hear from Below by a vessel that was coming up. Capt. Middleton...went to speak with her, but to our great surprise both vessels returned to Annapolis. The High and contrary wind will be an obstacle to our Leaving this place...and the unexpected return of the Dolphin [the vessel that had carried Lafayette from Philadelphia] gives me suspicions of some extraordinary Intelligence having been brought...I shall therefore wait for the return of the Express and Request your Excellency will please to let me know when the vessels leave..."

Lafayette had arrived on the Chesapeake a week prior to this letter; he hoped with support of French naval vessels to take advantage of Arnold's isolated position at Hampton Roads and capture the traitor. But when the French fleet failed to arrive on schedule the expedition failed.

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