George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heath, 8 June 1780

Roxbury June 8th 1780

Dear General

The enclosed State of the British Garrison at Hallifax, was obtained from the Gentleman mentioned in my last, but is rather more particular than what he mentioned to the Honble Mr Bowdoin, I therefore take the liberty to enclose it.

Two days after I had the honor last to write your Excellency your requisition to the General Assembly here to raise a number of men to complete their Battalions was received by them, and yesterday their orders were Sent to the several Brigadiers of the Militia to cause the men to be drafted immediately, they will probably in the usual way, be bought at a very high price, I am however happy to hear that many of the old Soldiers intend to offer themselves, I am Just informed that the men are to rendezvous at Springfield, where they are to wait your Excellencys further orders, A large number of officers are here on the recruiting service, which will now be at an end, They might receive and march the drafts on immediately to Camp, And as the Season is far advanced, and it is very probable many of the drafts will be raw, I apprehend that it will be your Excellencys wish to have them marched on, formed and drilled as soon as possible, at the Same time as I have not received the least hint of your pleasure respecting them, and by last accounts from West point the Troops at that Post being at half allowance, leaves me at loss to determine what your intentions are, or what mode of Conduct is to be pursued, I will however venture to order Several Officers to repair to Springfield to receive the men from the Superintendent, prese[nt orders], and have them in readiness to march the moment your pleasure is signified.

Capt. la Touch who lately Sailed from Boston to the Southward in the Hermione frigate, has Just sent into Dartmouth, a Brig. which he took off Nantucket Shoals bound to New York with upwards of 1700, Firkins of butter[,] 150 Boxes of Candles, and 150 Boxes of Soap on board, This will be agreable news to the Marquis de la Fyette who will be happy to hear of the good Fortune of Capt. la Touch, I have the honor to be with the greatest respect your Excellencys most Obedient Servant

W. Heath

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Boston June 6th 1780

State of the British Garrison at Hallifax the last Winter

At Hallifax five Regiments,

Colonel Bruces Regt consisting of about 500 men
Argyles do 750 do
Emigrants a Highland Regt 500 do
Orange rangers a Regt raised at N. York,
Colonel Bayard, 250 do
Nova Scotians, a Regt consisting of about
500 men,, made up of recruits from
Newfoundland, and the Fisheries destroyed
on the Nova Scotia shore, vizt Canso,
Petit de Grate and Louisbourgh 500 do
Two Companies of the Train 80 do
Hambletons Regt at Ponobscot 450
Royal Fencibles stationed at Fort
Cumberland 250

about 1000 Militia men can be raised at Hallifax, And about 4000 Militia thro’ the rest of the Province.

Naval Force

Robust 74 guns, Deleware 28 Guns The Allegiance a 20 Gun ship—Two Hulks made out of the Pembroke Man of war, and Bellona Frigate (the former an old Sixty Gun ship) both with their Guns on board.

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