George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Heath, 23 December 1780

New Windsor 23d Decr 1780

D. Sir,

Some days ago General McDougall informed me, that a Majr Hayes (I think that was the name)—or Hughes, had suggested to him, that the Inhabitants of Westchester County could, without inconvenience to themselves, spare at least ten thousand Bushels of Indian Corn and Two hundred Tons of Hay; and that a number of Pettiaugua’s sent to the nearest good Landings to the Foragers (but not too low for fear of leaving them) would aid the Waggons, & get it off with much ease.

This measure, though desireable at all times and particularly so in our circumstances, I postponed, because I thought it would interfere too much with the building of Hutts, & injure the Men on that acct—but if it was possible for you now, or before the river closes (there by preventing the aid of the water craft)—to avail the Garrison of this resource, it ought by no means to be neglected, as it may have a double operation—serving us, & injuring the enemy. Genl McDougal added—if I recollect right—that the People would receive certificates—but their not doing it, should be no bar to our obtaining what they can share.

He mentioned Colo. Hull as a fit officer to command—or at least to be with the Foraging Party, from his perfect knowledge of the Country, & People. Hayes, or Hughes, might also be useful in the execution of such a project—& if I remember right, he told me he now was, or had been in the Qr Masters department—but more particular information may be had of this person from Genl McDougal.

Having received information that a good road might be opened to the Garrison on the West side of the River, and knowing the indispensable necessity of it in case of Frost, I have employed Captn Machin to mark it out, and when done you will please to order a party to work on it, as it may become essential (as there is no magazine at West point) to the existance of the Garrison when the river closes. I am Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

MHi: Heath Papers.

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