George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heath, 25 July 1780

New Port July 25th 1780 9 oClock PM

Dear General

This Afternoon the Intelligence contained in the enclosed came to Hand, upon which General Rochambeau immediately made a requisition for 2000 Militia, I Have Called upon Governor Greene for 1500 Men and on Brigadier Godfrey of the Brigade in the County of Bristol (Massachusetts) for 800, General Rochambeau Saies that in Six days he shall be safe without the Assistance of the Militia, I Have Written to the Council at Boston, that if their Militia for Reinforcing the Army for three Months are detached and not Marched that those from the Counties of Suffolk, Plymouth Barnstable and Bristol may March to Tiverton which will not be greatly out of their Way to the place of their distination, and Should Sir Henry Clinton be coming this Way May Answer a good Purpose, it will also be less burthensome to the Militia who After so great drafts as has been lately made will think an Additional one in the Midst of Harvest Almost unsurmountable.

If Sir Henry should not Come this way there shall be no needless detention of any of the Levies, The Marquiss de La Fayette is in Sentiment with me in this Particular; I hope it will not be disagreable to your Exellency, it Cannot at any rate make a Detention of more than five or Six days, It is with pain that I call on the Militia to turn out, but General Rochambeau is so pressing in his Application that he cannot be denied, Indeed if Sir Henry Clinton has a Land force to Spare from New york adequate to the Enterprise I think he never had a more inviting Object than the present Situation and Curcumstances of things off[ered] him here. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect Your Excellencys Most obedt Servt


P.S. The Article of Bread will be Obtained I fear with much difficulty, for the Troops that Will Assemble Here.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Westerly 24th July 1780


“This moment I have received an account from a person who left Long Island last night—who saw a Friend of his a man of undoubted Character (my informant says) that left New York last Fryday who assured him that General Clinton was embarking ten thousand Troops for Rhode Island That the English Admiral had detachd from his Squadron two Frigates to convoy the British Troops thro the Sound.

The Person who brought the above intelligence from Long Island is a young Gentleman of undoubted veracity and Son to a member of the Assembly of New York State who fled from Long Island & resided a year with his Family in my house at Stonington and he may be relied upon—he says the person who informd him is a man of Character.”


Signed Henry Babcock

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