George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 13 September 1776

To Major General William Heath

New York Sepr 13th 1776.

Dr Sir,

Before this Letter can reach you, the Brigade under Colo. Chester’s Command no doubt has reached you, but unless more assistance of Waggons and Teams are sent I cannot undertake to say when you will get a further reinforcement—let me entreat therefore that Genl Clinton and yourself will exert yourselves in getting, by Impressment, or otherwise, a parcel of Teams to come to our Assistance.1

The Brigades which I mean to Send to you are these following, and which I mention, that your disposition of them may be thought of in time, taking into consideration that Sheas Magaws & Haslets, will return to their former Station at Mt Washington under the immediate Comd of their old Brigadier,2 Mifflin, but in lieu of these Regiments, it is possible when we get removed from hence you may get an equivalt numbe⟨r⟩.

Officers R. & File3
Parsons’s 400  1221 
Scott 284  963 
Wadsworth 334  1195 
Fellows 272  1122 
Silliman 367  677 
Douglas’s 347  744 
Chester 513  1178 
Total 2517  7100 

I must also beg that you will have the Vessels that go up with Stores &ca immediately dispatch’d back to this place. you cannot conceive how we are put to it for conveniences to transport the Sick—the Stores—the Baggage &ca—In short we are hazarding every thing in a confused way. Let there be the most vigilant lookout kept. you know I suppose that four More Ships two of the⟨m⟩ 40 odd Guns are gone up the East River.4 I am Yr Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, MHi: Heath Papers. The portions of the text enclosed within angle brackets are mutilated in the manuscript.

1Adj. Gen. Joseph Reed wrote on the cover of this letter: “The Waggons some of which have taken Sick contrary to Orders are to be sent back immdy we shall want every Waggon here.”

2GW inadvertently wrote “Brigagier” on the manuscript.

3In the manuscript these columns are broken between two pages following the entry for Silliman’s brigade. Subtotals of “1657” and “5178” are “Brought up” to the top of the respective columns on the second page under headings reading “Officrs” and “R. & F. fit for duty.”

4On the afternoon of this date, the British warships Phoenix and Roebuck, accompanied by the frigates Orpheus and Carysfort, sailed about three miles up the East River to the mouth of Bushwick Creek on the Long Island side of the river. The Phoenix lost one man to the fire of American batteries on Manhattan Island. None of the ships returned fire, but the American batteries were answered by British batteries on Governors Island and at Brooklyn (see Tatum, Serle’s Journal description begins Edward H. Tatum, Jr., ed. The American Journal of Ambrose Serle: Secretary to Lord Howe, 1776–1778. San Marino, Calif., 1940. description ends , 99–100; Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends , 97; and Mackenzie, Diary description begins Diary of Frederick Mackenzie Giving a Daily Narrative of His Military Service as an Officer of the Regiment of Royal Welch Fusiliers during the Years 1775–1781 in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. 2 vols. Cambridge, Mass., 1930. description ends , 1:45; see also the logs of the Carysfort, Orpheus, and Roebuck for this date 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 , 6:805–6, 839).

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