George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 27 August 1776

From Major General William Heath

Kingsbridge Augst 27th 1776
8 oClock A:M.

Dear General

By Express this moment, I am Informed that Two Ships and One Brig are Just Come to Anchor above Frog Point near the New City—I have Instantly Detached Colo. Graham with his Regiment with orders to prevent their Landing to Pillage or Burn,1 I Imagine that more ships will follow them—But whether their Plan is only to Block up the Sound or to make a Diversion on this Side, Time must Discover, I have Given orders for Two Six pounders to be Brought from mount washington to this Post,2 we Suffer here Extreemly for Horses not a Single One at this Post to Send on Express, General Mifflin Acquaints me that He Cannot Spare Either Horse or waggon from that Post, I beg that two or three may be Ordered here.3

An Ammunition Cart or Two Such as have been Provided for Each Regiment at New York would be very Servicable Here, and I think the Same Reason holds good here as there that each Regiment should have One. I Have the Honor to be with great respect your Excellencys most Humble Servt

W. Heath

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1Throg’s Neck, also called Frog’s or Throck’s neck, is in the southeast corner of the present-day Bronx. Lying between the East River and Long Island Sound, this strategically important peninsula was bordered by creeks and marshes on the north and west at the time of the Revolutionary War, making it virtually an island during high tides. Most of Howe’s army landed there on 12 Oct. 1776.

Heath says in his memoirs that on this date “several barges full of men landed on New City Island, and killed a number of cattle. Two companies of the [Graham’s] regiment, immediately on their arrival, ferried over to the island. The enemy carried off one man and 14 cattle—the remainder of the cattle were secured” (Wilson, Heath’s Memoirs description begins Rufus Rockwell Wilson, ed. Heath’s Memoirs of the American War. 1798. Reprint. New York, 1904. description ends , 65). City Island is in Long Island Sound about a mile and a half northeast of Throg’s Neck. Heath’s orders to Graham of this date are in MHi: Heath Papers.

Morris Graham, a colonel in the Dutchess County militia, was named by the New York convention on 17 July to command a regiment of militia levies from his county, which was assigned to Gen. George Clinton’s brigade (see 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 , 1:528). Accused of retreating without orders at the Battle of White Plains, Graham was tried and acquitted by a court-martial on 2–4 Nov. (see the court-martial proceedings in Hastings, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 1:413–16; George Clinton to GW, 29 Oct. 1776, ibid., 394; and General Orders, 1, 8 Nov. 1776). During 1777 and 1778 Graham commanded various regiments of militia levies that supported the Continental army. On 1 Aug. 1777 George Clinton ordered Graham to reinforce Schuyler at Albany (ibid., 2:149–51). In May 1778 Graham was stationed at White Plains where he gathered intelligence about the British forces in and around New York City, and on 8 Aug. 1778 GW attached Graham’s regiment to the light infantry corps commanded by Gen. Charles Scott (see General Orders, that date).

2See Heath to Thomas Mifflin, this date, MHi: Heath Papers.

3GW’s aide-de-camp Richard Cary wrote Heath on 1 Sept. informing him that GW “has directed the Qr Mr Genl to furnish you with the Horses wanted” (MHi: Heath Papers).

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