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The Papers of George Washington
1 November 1778-14 January 1779Revolutionary War Series, Volume 18
George Washington. Edited by Edward G. Lengel
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Volume 18 of the Revolutionary War Series covers the period 1 November 1778 through 14 January 1779. It begins with George Washington at Fredericksburg, New York, watching New York City for signs that the British were about to evacuate North America. The British had very different intentions, however, dispatching the first of several amphibious expeditions to invade and conquer the Deep South. Congress meanwhile mulled plans for the formation of a Franco-American army and the invasion of Canada. Washington worked hard to quash these plans, which he considered both impractical and dangerous. On 11 November, he wrote a long letter to Congress laying out the military reasons why the invasion could never succeed. Three days later, he wrote another, private letter to the President of Congress, warning that a French army in Canada might attempt to reestablish France’s North American empire, transforming allies into oppressors. While Congress reconsidered and ultimately scrapped its plans, Washington oversaw the transfer of the captive Convention Army from Boston to Charlottesville, Virginia; planned for the dispersal of his own army to winter cantonments across New Jersey; and rode to Philadelphia in late December to open crucial discussions with Congress about the reorganization of the Continental Army and American strategy for the 1779 campaign.

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