George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 26 August 1776

From Major General William Heath

Kingsbridge Aug: 26th 1776

Dear General

I have just had the Honor to receive your’s of this day’s Date, & shall continue in the most perfect readiness, the Detachment designed for your Aid if Occasion should require it—I will further confer with the Brigadier Generals & Engineers, on the Probability of the Fire Rafts answering the Purpose of a floating Bridge, It is my own, as well as Genl Clinton’s Opinion that they will, and it was also the Opinion of Col: Putnam on Saturday last1 that they cannot be employed to better purpose.

Our Works are going on briskly, but we are rather weak in Teams, I have this day sent down Boats to bring up the Gun Carriages2—Monsieur St Martin our Engineer conducts very well, he is knowing & useful in his Department.3

I have been Yesterday & this day, much unwell, Pain in my Side & Head, & something feaverish I hope it will pass off, I am determined to shake it off if possible. I have the honor to be with great Respect Your Excellency’s most humble Servt

W. Heath

P.S. Col. Thomas this moment comes in, & says he hears that One Ship & Two Frigates have entered the Sound, & that an Express is gone to the Congress of New York—doubtless by this Your Excellency has an Acct of it.4


ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1The previous Saturday was 24 August.

2Henry Knox wrote Heath on 24 Aug.: “I send you Lt [David] Preston of the artillery to mount the Guns and get the Implements & ammunition to the post at Kings Brid⟨ge⟩ you will please to give him such direct⟨ions⟩ as you think proper—you must give him men as it is utterly imposs⟨ible⟩ for us to spare one from this place [New York] You must also find a Boat for the Carriages &c. as Genl Putnam refuses to let one go from this” (MHi: Heath Papers).

3At GW’s direction Joseph Reed wrote Heath on 17 Aug. recommending St. Martin to his notice “as he may be of some Service at your Post & is not so immediately wanted here” (MHi: Heath Papers).

4The British frigates Brune and Niger and brig Halifax were sailing to the western entrance of Long Island Sound “to prevent Supplies being sent through that Channel to the Town of New York” (disposition of British warships in North America, 13 Aug., in Clark and Morgan, Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964—. description ends , 6:167–69; see also the Connecticut Journal [New Haven], 28 Aug.). On 27 Aug. the New York convention read a copy of the letter that Erastus Wolcott wrote to the Saybrook committee of safety on 24 Aug. reporting that three British warships had passed New London heading west in Long Island Sound. In response the convention resolved to inform GW “that the committee of Southold at the east end of Nassau [Long] island, have mounted four cannon as field pieces, vizt: 3 6–pounders, and 1 3–pounder, to prevent depredations of the enemy along the Sound, and to enable the inhabitants to make a stand at certain passes, and that His Excellency be requested to send a sufficiency of powder, ball and cartridge paper for the said cannon, to the care of Col. Livingston” (N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:593–94; see also Henry Beekman Livingston to GW, 30 Aug.).

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