George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 20 August 1777

From Major General William Heath

Boston Augt 20th 1777

Dear General

I have this day received per Mr Fessenden the honor of yours of the 5th 10th & 12th Instant, most heartily thank your Excellency for the Intelligence communicated therein, and shall strictly attend to the directions given.

We have just received the inclosed Intelligence of the success of our Troops under General Starks near Bennington, upon which I beg leave to congratulate your Excellency.1 We are happy to find the Tide is turning at last in our favor. It has been long ebbing in that quarter.

Major Trescott has just been with me. He informs me that he is in a disagreeable situation, That he was appointed by your Excellency a Major to Colo. Cornels Regt, That Regiment failing you were pleased to advise him to accept a Captaincy in Colo. Henly’s, promising him one of the first vacancies. He thinks it rather dishonorable to serve as a Captain after being appointed, and for months considered as a major. That he would chearfully serve as a Corporal if he could do it consistant with those principals which are the first Characteristick of a good Officer. He would serve as a Captain could he obtain a Majors Brevitt which would secure his Rank untill a vacancy offered. As he is a most excellent Officer I beg leave to recommend him to your Excellency’s particular notice, and that if it be consistant with the Establishment of our Army and agreeable to your pleasure he may have a Brevitt of Major if nothing more can be done for him at present, otherwise I fear a good Officer will be lost.2

Being just informed that the Army at or near Bennington are short of ammunition I have wrote to Colo. Cheever to send on immediately 2000 wt of Powder 4000 wt of Ball and 6000 Flints.3 It is said, their numbers are between three & four thousand, and many on the march to join them. I hope this step will meet your Excellency’s approbation. We are impatient to hear the result of the Action, as it was very warm when the Express came away. I have the honor to be with great respect Your Excellency’s Most Obt Servant

W. Heath

LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers. The LS is docketed in part “Ansd 6th Sepr.” For that reply, see Tench Tilghman to Heath, 6–10 Sept. 1777.

1This enclosure has not been identified.

2Lemuel Trescott (1751–1826) of Dorchester, Mass., who had been an orderly sergeant in Capt. Joseph Pierce’s company of Boston grenadiers before the war, served as a captain in Col. David Brewer’s Massachusetts regiment from May to December 1775 and in the 6th Continental Regiment during 1776. Although Trescott was nominated to serve as major of Col. Ezekiel Cornell’s Additional Continental Regiment in January 1777, he was obliged to accept a captaincy in Col. David Henley’s Additional Continental Regiment after Cornell failed to raise his regiment. Trescott was not promoted to major of Henley’s regiment until Dec. 1778. Trescott transferred in April 1779 to Col. Henry Jackson’s Additional Continental Regiment, which was designated the 16th Massachusetts Regiment on 1 Jan. 1781, and he subsequently served as major of several different Massachusetts regiments before retiring from the army on 1 Jan. 1783. Trescott also was a major in the U.S. Army from March to December 1791. After leaving the army, he settled on Passamaquoddy Bay in Maine.

3The draft of Heath’s letter to Ezekiel Cheever of this date is in MHi: Heath Papers.

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