George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heath, 23 June 1782

Highlands June 23d 1782

Dear General

I have been honored with your several letters of the 22d and a letter address’d to General Sir Guy Carlton. Your pleasure signifyed in the letters shall be duly observed—the letter to Sir Guy Carleton forwarded to the enemies out post.

It has been enjoyned on the Troops at the late musters and Inspections to be constantly supplied with fifty rounds of cartridges pr man; these cannot be always all carried with that convenience & safety which will secure them, there is consequently a great waste of ammunition, by the wearing out of the cartridges. I have thought it my duty to mention it to Your Excellency.

The enclosed from General Patterson was sent me yesterday—altho every thing which has the complexion of mutiny whether it be in writing words or actions merits severe rebuke & chastisement if the Authors can be found, I am sure your Excellency will remove every just cause of complaint and uneasiness as far as is practicable. Several of the matters of complaint will I presume be removed by the proposed alteration in the mode of Issues. But why the Contractors withhold the issue of rum or whiskey, especially if they have it in Store I cannot conceive—It was but a few days since that I had a similar complaint from Major Gibbs commanding on the Lines—I wrote Messrs Sands on the subject, they have in that case promised redress in the other case I beg leave to submit the matter to Your Excellency. I have the honor to be With the greatest respect Your Excellencys most Obedient Servant

W. Heath

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


c.21 June 1782

Hond Sir

We your distressed Soldiers beg leave to approach your Honor, and beg you would use your best endeavours that we may have some pay, as it is very hard for us to live as we do without money having none this long time, which your Honor is sensible of, for the want of which we cannot procure necessaries, such as vegetables &c. not even a little spirits to refresh us as a number of us were on guard four days and nothing but a little Beef & Bread, scarce sufficient for a Child of four years old, as the Regiment has but one draught when it is divided into Companies, it does not amount to more than half a Pound of Beef pr day for each man, nor is this all the Contractors do not fullfill their [agreement] as we have not drawn spirits this some time at the same time they say there is plenty in the store—This we beg leave to lay before your Honor, and unless we get pay soon I am afraid you will loose a great many of your old Soldiers who are determined to leave the Badge of honor and not fight for their Country any longer, We beg your honor will let us Know in orders soon our destiny, what we have to hope or fear. We remain your faithfull soldiers during good Usage.


West Point 22d June 1782


Enclosed I send you a Copy of a letter found on the parade last evening—the complaints are too true but the mutinous spirit it breaths ought to be quelled, the hand is unknown.

The Contractors have not delivered Whiskey for some time, tho’ they have it in store; a number of Soldiers have made a practice of exchanging it for vegetables in the Country, the only means of procuring them—I wish money may soon arrive but do not expect it will, the want of which with the scantiness of the ration and method of delivery I am fearfull will be attended with unhappy consequences.

Desertion has prevaled lately in Camp, and I am afraid will be more prevalent unless the grievances they complain of, can in some degree be redressed. I am Sir with the highest Esteem Your obedient Servant

John Paterson

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