Copie de la Lettre Cerite pau M. de Segur a M. Le Cte. de Rochambeau le 30 avril 1782

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Copie de la Lettre Cerite pau M. de Segur a M. Le Cte. de Rochambeau le 30 avril 1782



Copy of the letter written by Mr. de Segur to Mr. le Comte de Rochambeau, 30 April 1782. De Segur informs Rochambeau that the King expects him to transport his troops to the island of St. Domingue should the British abandon their posts at New York or Charleston.


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Copy of a letter written by Mr. de Segur to Mr. le Comte de Rochambeau 30 April 1782

The changes befalling the Ministry of the King of England could, Sir, determine the English to change the system of operations of the war in America; the King charged me to inform you that it is necessary that you carry all your attention to keep yourself well informed if the English, for whatever cause that may be, evacuate the fortresses of New York and Charles-Town that they occupy in North America. The intention of His Majesty being that one of these cases happening, you go without awaiting new orders to place yourself on the Island of St. Domingue with the entire corps that you have under your orders.

I am charge to inform you that in consequence the transport ships which have just arrived in the Chesapeake will stay there at your orders, and there will be sent there the largest number of ships necessary in order to complete the transport of the 5,000 men of which the army corps which is at your orders is composed.

Mr. de Grasse will be informed of this disposition in order that he contribute to the execution of the King's orders which I address to you and he plans together with you if the forseen circumstances arrive.

His Majesty charged me to inform you that his intention is that when you will have arrived in St. Domingue, the commanding of the land troops belongs to you and that you will order superiority for all which could interest the defense of the island; but at the same time His Majesty understands that the interior government of the colony is always exercised by Mr. de Dellecombe, Governor General.

I must inform you, Sir, that the King being convinced with His Catholic Majesty, that Messrs, de Galvez, de Bouille and de Dellecombe plan among themselves the offensive operations and that in this case, the commanding would be vested in Mr. de Galvez and the projects having been formed of it before there could be question of your arrival in St. Domingue, the intention of the King is that you cannot upset any of the measures taken by these generals; He awaits on the other hand the zeal which animates you for his service which you will contribute with all your power to the success of the expeditions projected in having march there for them part or even the totality of the troops which are at your orders if that was necessary; but being the elder of Mr. de Galvez, the King being convince that this Spanish General would have the command of the expedition, you cannot join any of yours to him, and you will restrain yourself to give him all the aid that he will ask of you. I am authorized to inform you on the part of His Majesty that you must not be less persuaded of the confidence that he has in your talents if the King does not charge you with this expedition, but that it was planned long before one could imagine that your destination could be changed. His Majesty is perfectly content with your services, he is disposed to give you proof of his satisfaction that he has of it. Nevertheless, if the climate of St. Domingue could be harmful to your health, His Majesty permits you when you have established there the troops which are at your orders, to take advantage of the leave that I addressed to you. But will only be seeing that this arrangement will agree with you more. You will give to Mr. de Tarlé all the orders which will be necessary to the arrangements of your new destination.

Once arrived in St. Domingue you will give account to Mr. de Castries of your operations as well as all the objectives on which this minister will ask you details, and you will execture the orders that he will sent you on the part of the King: You want to send me copies of your correspondence.

It only remains to me to speak lf the funds destined later on to the payment of the expenditures of your army. I have announced to you by my earlier dispatches that I would have two million in specie leave in the first day of July in order to be carried to you in America. Instead of sending them to you directly, I have just taken measures with the department of the navy in order that these two million be delivered to the treasuries of St. Domingue toward the end of the month of August; if according to what will come about, your army is still at that time in the American continent, you will charge Mr. de Tarlé to have delivered the funds from St. Domingue. The treasury of this Colony will have orders to hold them at your arrangements and at his. I restrain myself in announcing this plan for the funds to Mr. de Tarlé in indicating to him that they were delivered to St. Domingue because that way is perhaps as short and safer than if the money were sent directly to America. You will only give to this administrative officer this part article of my dispatch, and you will guard the greatest secret on all the rest until the moment of the execution.

Signed: Segur
His copy conforms with the original

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Ségur, Louis-Philippe de, 1753-1830, “Copie de la Lettre Cerite pau M. de Segur a M. Le Cte. de Rochambeau le 30 avril 1782,” Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed December 4, 2022,

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