To Major General William Heath
Head Quarters Fredericksburgh 20th Otbr 1778
In my last letter of the 18th Instant I observed that the whole current of intelligence from New-york suggested an immediate evacuation of the City—My accounts from different quarters still wear the same complexion. An intelligent officer stationed at Amboy reports—“that the 16th Otbr about twelve ships fell down to the Hook—and the 17th early in the morning about one hundred ships of war, and transports also fell down to the hook”—Lord Stirling who transmits this information, says, that signal guns have been firing all day (17th) in New-york bay, which he supposes were for more ships to follow.1 I am Dr Sir your most hble sert
LS, in James McHenry’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Df, DLC:GW; copy, MHi: Miscellaneous Collection; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW franked the addressed cover of the LS. GW apparently sent his letter to d’Estaing of this date with this letter to Heath (see Heath to GW, 23 Oct.).
McHenry first docketed the draft manuscript: “20th Octr 1778 to Gen. Heath & Genl Sullivan.” Both of those names were subsequently struck out, and Robert Hanson Harrison wrote “& Gen Heath” below them. At the end of the text on the draft manuscript, McHenry first wrote: “I have directed Brigadier General Stark from Albany to join your command.” That sentence, a similar version of which appears in GW’s letter to John Sullivan of this date, was subsequently struck out.