*Lecture delivered by Captain C. F. Goodrich, U. S. N., at the Naval War College, Newport, R. I., July 30, 1902
History is full of the crying need of scouts. Howe in 1778 was particularly well served in this respect. He had timely information from the South that. D'Estaing had appeared off the Virginia coast and he was, in consequence, able to complete his part in the change of front from Philadelphia to New York with the certainty of being in advance of his enemy at the Hook.
In 1781, Graves at New York was in ignorance of De Grasse's advance on the Chesapeake and was amazed, on arriving off the Capes, to find De Grasse's fleet at anchor in Lynn Haven Bay. His scouts had been ordered to keep under way off the bay, but they failed to do so and were at anchor when De Grasse appeared. One was captured and the other driven up York River. Through misconduct of his scouts, Graves was surprised by a strategic move that practically ended the war.
Nelson's chase after the French fleet bound to Egypt is especially instructive on account of his own expressed views on this subject. The words of this master of the art of naval war should not be lightly neglected.