Wethersfield Conference, Connecticut

views updated

Wethersfield Conference, Connecticut

WETHERSFIELD CONFERENCE, CONNECTICUT. 21 May 1781. In a historic meeting at Wethersfield between Washington and the comte de Rochambeau, commander of the French forces, a plan was made for an all-out attack on the British in New York City, which Washington hoped would be the decisive campaign of the war. (This was not the genesis—except indirectly—of the Yorktown campaign, as has been frequently claimed.) After the meeting, Washington wrote to all the New England assemblies requesting more than six thousand militia to supplement his forces for the upcoming attack on General Clinton. The very next day, Rochambeau's senior officers persuaded him to switch their campaign to the Chesapeake; Washington insisted on the original proposal to which Rochambeau had agreed, but the French eventually persuaded the Americans to head south.

The Wethersfield Plan was potentially compromised on 3 June when Sir Henry Clinton received a captured copy and became aware of the Washington's plan of operation. The oldest permanently inhabited township in Connecticut, Wethersfield became a suburb of Hartford.

SEE ALSO Yorktown Campaign.

                     revised by Michael Bellesiles