George Washington at "Head Quarters, Dobbs Ferry": July 4 to August 19, 1781
by Mary Sudman Donovan
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During the summer of 1781, General George Washington began to shape a new strategy for victory. In July, he moved a large contingent of the Continental army to the east bank of the Hudson River near the eastern terminus of Dobbs Ferry. There, on a large expanse known as Philipsburg, he established a joint encampment with the French army commanded by the Comte de Rochambeau. In George Washington at "Head Quarters, Dobbs Ferry," author and historian Mary Sudman Donovan provides a glimpse into this significant period in the American Revolutionary War by chronicling the activities of the two armies.
For the first time, French and American soldiers participated in joint maneuvers, surmounting language barriers with visual signals or universal commands. The two commanders surveyed the surrounding territory, evaluating strategies for invading the British stronghold on York (Manhattan) Island. George Washington corresponded with leaders of the Continental Congress and governors of the various states, imploring them to provide better support in the form of funds, supplies, and additional recruits. This day-to-day view of Washington's activities offers a rare insight into the mind of the man Americans chose as their commander in chief.
Using General Washington's Diary and the official military documents that issued from "Head Quarters, Dobbs Ferry" along with the journals of several French officers from the Comte de Rochambeau's army, the author presents a day-to-day account of the activities of the two commanders and their troops. The text is illustrated with historical portraits and maps as well as line drawings created especially for the book by Dobbs Ferry artist Larry Blizard.
This volume offers general readers as well as military historians a new understanding of the complexities involved in melding two armies into an
integrated fighting force. Readers can't help but gain an added appreciation for the valiant soldiers who served in freedom's cause and for the commander-in-chief who led them so effectively.