George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 30 August 1776

From Major General William Heath

Kingsbridge Augst 30th 1776

Dear General

A Sloop from Red Hook (up the North River)1 has Just Come to Anchor near this Place, having on Board about 4 Tons & half of Gun Powder made at Livingstons Mills which was to be Deliver’d to your Excellency at New York, but the master has Stoped here Untill He Knows your Pleasure where to Land it.2

A very Extraordinary Report has Just Spread here, that whether True or false we are as yet uncertain That Long-Island is Evacuated by Our Troops.3

The Ships in the East River fall Down yesterday afternoon to Hunts Point, where they now lie at anchor.4

I have just Sent the Prisoners Taken on the 27th Instant to Connecticut.5

I am in Anxiety Untill I hear from you and am with great respect your Excellencys most Humble Servt

W. Heath

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1Heath apparently is referring to Lower Red Hook Landing (now Barrytown) on the east bank of the Hudson River in Dutchess County near the inland town of Red Hook. The other Red Hook, which the Americans fortified, is on New York Harbor at the western end of Long Island.

2“The General,” Joseph Reed wrote Heath later on this date, “desires you will detain the Powder you have received till further Order at Kings bridge except 1 Ton to be sent down—the Remainder to be procured occasionally” (MHi: Heath Papers).

3Joseph Reed explains the reasons for evacuating Long Island in his letter to Heath of this date (MHi: Heath Papers).

4Hunt’s Point, which is bounded by the East and Bronx rivers, was in the part of Westchester County that is now the Bronx. The British warships Halifax, Niger, and Brune anchored on 29 Aug. in Flushing Bay, a mile or two south of Hunt’s Point (see the logs of the Halifax, 29, 31 Aug., and the Niger, 30–31 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 , 6:355, 370–71).

5For the capture of Lt. John Ragg’s detachment during the Battle of Long Island, see Robert Hanson Harrison to Hancock, 27 Aug., and note 3. For the sending of these prisoners to Fairfield, Conn., on this date, see Heath to Nathan Umstead and Heath to the Fairfield Committee of Inspection, both 29 Aug., and Heath to the Commissary of Provisions, 30 Aug., MHi: Heath Papers. The Fairfield committee of inspection wrote GW on 25 Sept., informing him that, agreeable to his directions communicated by his secretary, it had sent Lieutenant Ragg and his servant to Middletown, Conn., and the other twenty-one prisoners to Wallingford, Conn., “where they are placed in the Parishes in the interior part of the County agreable to Rules of Congress. . . . As we could find no Rule of Congress how the charges of marching them were to be defrayed; We took a Guard of a Sergeant and Six from our Battery, and advanced them a penny a Mile for their support—Whether we have done right or not we do not know—The Men we were sensible could not be marched without support—We should therefore take it as a favor if your Excellency would direct us to whom we are to look for their billiting for 11 Days, and the advanced Money for marching them to the places of their destination” (LS, written and signed by Thaddeus Burr, DLC:GW). The expense account for £14.6.½ enclosed with the committee’s letter is also in DLC:GW. No reply to that letter has been found.

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