George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 9 July 1779

From Major General William Heath

Mandeville’s [Dutchess County, N.Y.]1
July 9. 1779

Dear General

I do myself the honor to forward, to be disposed of as your Excellency may direct, Fra[nci]s Wynn & Jeremiah Olnes prisoners of war taken at Pound ridge the 2d Instant & Sent here the last Evening.2 Also take the Liberty to enclose a Complaint made against Lt Colo. Loring with the opinion of a Court of enquiry thereon.3 beg to be informed whether it is your Excellencys pleasure to refer the matter to a General Court martial of the line, or that a General Court martial be appointed in the Division. If the lat[t]er, reques⟨t⟩ that the Complaint & opinion of the Court of enquiry may be Sent back.6

Cap. Flowers of Colo. Greatons Regt is importuning a furlough to Visit his Family who are Sick. Apprehending that it would be disagreable to your Excellency to furlough any officers at this time I have endeavor’d to disuad⟨e⟩ him, but, he informs me that unless he can obtain a furlough he Shall apply for leave to resign his Commission. in this view of the matter I wish your Excellencys direction.5

Gen: duPortail has not yet been over to lay out the works.6 I have the honor to be with the greatest respect, Your Excellency’s Most obedt Servt

W. Heath

LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers. Mutilated letters on the LS are supplied in angle brackets from the draft manuscript.

A reply from GW’s aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton to Heath on this date reads: “His Excellency commands me to acknowlege the receipt of your letter of this day with two prisoners. He says he spoke to you to day on the points mentioned in your letter which probably was written antecedent to your interview— Lt Col. Loring is to be tried by a Court Martial of the line—Capt. Forrest, under the peculiar circumstances represented by Col. Putnam, to be indulged with a furlough” (MHi: Heath Papers). Hamilton mistakenly wrote “Forrest” for Capt. Samuel Flower (see n.5 to this document).

1Mandeville’s was less than a half mile east of the Hudson River across from West Point. A French officer traveling from Continental Village to West Point passed Mandeville’s on 23 Aug. 1781 and described it as “a little place of four or five houses” (Hastings and Holden, 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 7:113–14).

2These prisoners evidently were captured during the action involving Col. Elisha Sheldon’s 2d Continental Dragoons (see Heath to GW, 4 July, and n.1 to that document; see also GW to Benjamin Tallmadge, 5 July, and n.1 to that document).

Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton wrote Sheldon “or any Officer commandg the Enemys Outpost” from “Camp on the Sound” on 12 July, proposing a private prisoner exchange: “Francis Wynne private Dragn in the 17 Regt for any Dragn of Col: Sheldons Regt you nominate—taken at Pound Ridge & now in our Possession; or I will give Corpl Elihu Ross wounded & left at the above Place when from his Parole. if you chuse it, in lieu of said Wynne miss’d at Pound Ridge owing I believe to his Horse being tired—To exchange privates of the Infy of the [British] Legion Neil Campbell, James Harper lost near Bedford—Randle Broughton, George Parkinson lost at Pound Ridge—Miles Keough lost at Crum Pond—for any five Militia Men taken (Captn James Tallon [Talmadge] inclusive) either at Crum Pond, or Bedford, or Pound Ridge Districts … be pleas’d to signify it by the Return of Cornet Thomas Rikar who bears the Flag—On my Honor you shall receive the Equivalent you nominate on immediately sending in the abovementioned Persons” (MHi: Heath Papers). No response to this proposal has been identified.

3The enclosures have not been identified.

4For GW’s decision to try Lt. Col. Jotham Loring in a general court-martial of the line, see the general orders for 10 July, and n.1 to that document.

5Col. John Greaton of the 3d Massachusetts Regiment wrote a communication from Constitution Island, N.Y., on 8 July: “The Bearer Capt. Saml Flowers of my Regt has my Consent to have a Furlough granted him. if agreeable to Major Genl Heath” (MHi: Heath Papers). For GW’s favorable reply, see Hamilton to Heath, this date, in the source note to this document.

Samuel Flower (Flowers; 1742–1815) served as a lieutenant in Col. Timothy Danielson’s Massachusetts regiment from May to December 1775 and became a captain in the 3d Massachusetts Regiment in January 1777. He resigned in March 1780 and later served as a major in the Massachusetts militia.

6Heath stated this same concern in his letter to GW of 7 July.

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