George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 12 August 1779

From Major General William Heath

Mandavilles [Dutchess County, N.Y.]
Augst 12th 1779

Dear General

In Consequence of receiving the inclosed Letter this morning from Major General Howe1 I have detached from the Connecticut Line Lt Colo. Gray Major Cleft and four Companies of 41 rank & File each, properly officered; to march with all possible Expedition to Stanford to be ready should an attempt on the Enemy be thought adviseable, would request the return of Genl Howes Letter when your Excellency has done with it.2 I have the honor to be with the greatest respect your Excellencys most Obedient Servt

W. Heath

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1Heath presumably enclosed Maj. Gen. Robert Howe’s letter to him of 11 Aug., dated at “Camp Keeler’s Hill”: “Should Affairs wear the Aspect they do at present—and that we hope to ascertain in a Day or two—the Ente[r]prize projected may be undertaken with a probability of Success—and in that Case ought to be attempted. I think with you that the Men and Officers of the Connecticut Troops would, from their Knowledge of the Country, as well as from some other Circumstances, be the most eligible to be employed; and, if they can be spared should be sent on—General parsons expresses a wish that Col: Grey and Major Clift should be sent with the party, as they have the most intimate Knowledge of the Country, of the Inhabitants, and of other Matters—with such other Officers as possess similar Advantages—Every thing militates in favour of the Attempt; no delay should happen, and if you wait to hear from me again upon the Subject too much time will be lost.” Howe added the following postscript: “The Troops should be ordered to march with Expedition directly to Stamford” (MHi: Heath Papers).

2Heath’s orders of this date to Lt. Col. Ebenezer Gray of the 6th Connecticut Regiment to march the detachment to Stamford, Conn., and Heath’s wing orders for the detachment, also dated 12 Aug., are in MHi: Heath Papers. The troops began their march at 12 P.M. on this date (Heath to Howe, 12 Aug. [letter date 1 P.M.], MHi: Heath Papers). For Brig. Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons’s proposal for this expedition against a British-Loyalist fort on Long Island and GW’s qualified approval of the operation, see Heath to GW, 10 Aug. (first letter) and GW’s first letter to Heath of the same date (also see Heath to GW, 11 Aug.). For GW’s orders to Heath to recall these troops shortly after they commenced their march, see Heath to GW, 13 Aug., and n.4 to that document, and also GW to Howe, 15 August.

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