George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heath, 19 September 1780

Newport September 19th 1780

Dear General

I have just been favored with a Sight of your letters to General Rochambeau and Admiral de Ternay, mentioning the arrival of a fleet at Sandy hook—Supposed to be a squadron under the command of Admiral Rodney—a few moments before I received the enclosed from Colonel Ledyard at New London. General Rochambeau and Admiral de Ternay went yesterday morning to Providence, were not expected to return until to morrow or next day. Baron Viominel who is the Senior officer of the French troops here is very desirous to be precisely ascertain’d that Admiral Arbuthnot’s fleet were at Gardners island the 13th & 14th Instant, which will fully determine whether the fleet which arrived at the Hook was Arbuthnot or Rodney. I have sent an officer to have the matter fully determined. Baron Viominel has also sent off an Express to the General and admiral at Providence. for my own part, I am of opinion that the fleet which arrived at the Hook is part of Admiral Rodney’s from the West Indies.

A very intelligent man just from New York informs me that the most active preparations are making there for the embarkation of a body of Troops—that a number of Vessels are fitting for their Horses—that the awnings are made very strong, and have the appearance of being design’d for a voyage of some length—but the approaching rough season may be the motive for this—that there were conjectures that the embarkation was destined for the West Indies, the Southward, and by some that an attempt would be made here before winter at least on the shipping.

Enclosed is a certificate of the time of Lieutenant Cooks resigning his commission. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect Your Excellencys Most obedient Servant

W. Heath

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


New London 17th Sept 1780


I wrote you several days since Respecting the information my Boat brot from Long Island relative to the British Fleet in Gardiners Bay but was prevented sending it on account of the Light horse mans not calling according to my [   ] to Capt. Hurlburt, it would be in my power frequently to give you information of matters this way could I be made acquainted when the Express goes Eastwd without detaining them at any time five Minutes—Inclosed I send a List of the British ships brought by my Boat from Long Island given by a Petty Officer belonging to the Fleet—the Fleet lies far up the Bay near East Hampton there taking in Wood Water &c. this moment three Ships are seen of abrest this Harbour nothing new from the Southerd, expect the return of a Flag I sent to N. York every Moment & anything by her worthy Notice will imeadeitly inform you Interium I am with all due Respect Your Honors Most Obt Servt

Wm Ledyard

List of the British Ships laying in Gardiners Bay Vizt


Ship Uropa Adml Arburthnot 64

London Adml Graves 98

Resolution Lord Robt Manners 74

Bedford Capt. Edmond Aflock Affleck 74

Prudent Capt. Burnet 64

Royal Oak Sir Digbedent Digby 80

America Capt. Thomson 64

Robust Capt. [Ukrown] 74

Captain Chiles 74

am informd that Admiral Graves has lately hoisted his Flag on Board the Resolution your Most Obt

Wm Ledyard


Newport Sept 19th 1780

I do hereby certify that Lieut. John Cooke of the 1st Rhode Island Regt was discharged from the army of the United States of America, on the 17th of this Instant, at his own request, and with honor.

W. Heath M.G.

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