George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heath, 24 October 1780

Westpoint October 24th 1780.

Dear General,

The last Evening I was honored with yours of the 21st 21st and 22d Instant to which I shall duly attend.

The Minister of France passed by the Peeks kill Road yesterday before I was honored with your letter or heard of his approach.

The Enemy did not come out as was expected, and Colo. Hazen has returned. I shall appoint a Court of Enquiry for Lieut. Colonel Varick &c. and facilitate Mr Garangers trying experiments in Gunnery when he arrives.

A deserter from the Brittish Artillery came to this post to day he left New york last Saturday, says it was reported there that General Clinton had gone with the Troops which lately Sailed their destination variously conjectured—that General Kniphausen Commands—that the Troops which lately arrived at New York were said to be only recruits—102 of which were for the Six Companies of Artillery—that the Cork fleet had arrived &c.

It was my intention on my first arrival to have represented to your Excellency that there is at Providence in the State of Rhode-island a large quantity of ammunition and Ordnance Stores. I think too many to be trusted at that place, and are not altogether so well secured as they should be if their present Repositories are to be considered as permanent: I submit it to your Excellency. I cannot but express my anxiety at the prospect we at present have of proper supplies for this important post, we but just obtain a daily supply of Provisions, when the magazines should contain a supply for an emergency. One long storm, or spell of severe weather would drive us on the verge of want. I cannot yet learn from what quarter permanent supplies are to be drawn. A large quantity of Salted meat and Flour should be in magazines before winter. I cannot learn that any preparations are making in this vicinity for putting up the former. Would it not be much the best and least expensive to have the Beef killed and Salted as near the Post as possible? it would Save a great expence in transportation, and be within our Reach. I request to know on whom I am to call or depend for supplies of every kind, not only for present use, but to Replenish the magazines. When I am ascertain’d of this no exertions of mine shall be wanting to secure them if possible in Season and I shall avoid troubling your Excellency with complaints on that head unless necessity compels me. I have written to his Excellency Governor Clinton and Colonel Hay on the subject—have requested the assistance and support of the former, and exertions of the later. I have the honor to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellency’s most obedient Servant

W. Heath

P.S. I am just informed that a number of prisoners made their escape from the provost at Fish Kill the last night by digging upwards of 20 feet under ground.


DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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