George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heath, 10 April 1781

West point April 10th 1781

Dear General

The enclosed was put into my hand by Major John Porter, the D.A.G. at this post, who appears very desireous to make an attempt, to surprise, and take, the Hessian General at Morriss House, as your Excellency is much better acquainted with the Situation, and probably the prospect of Success, than I can be, I wish your Opinion, and pleasure on the matter. Major Porter appears pretty Sanguine that he can effect it. I have the honor to be with the highest respect your Excellencys most Obedient Servant

W. Heath

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


April 9th 1781

On hearing of some enterprizes of the Enemy against us, the following against them turned in my mind.

according to the best information I can obtain, General Hakenburgh quarters in Morris’s house on york island, & lodges in the south west lower room—The City road runs nearly south from Kings bridge, the House is on the east side of the way; On the west side, & opposite the house stands a Barn which contains not more than a Sergt & 12 guard—with prudence & fortitude I think, thirty men may take off this Officer, I would land at from North river at the nearest distancee the house from the shore; (leaving a proper guard for the Boats) proceed, & fall into the road a little above the house I would then divide the party, one half attacking the Barn, at the same time the other surround & enter the house. this is to be done without delay & the retreat effected by the very nearest route to the shore—In case of alarm at landing, or other accident unforeseen, the attempt may be given over, or discretion used.

J. Porter Majr

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