George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 4 September 1779

From Major General William Heath

Mandavilles [Dutchess County, N.Y.]
Sept. 4th 1779

Dear General

I forward three Deserters, one from the 23rd Regt One from the Hessian Riflemen, and the other from the Vulture Sloop of war. The former is one of the New recruits, and relates some particulars which if true makes the Enemy boasted reinforcment very Small,1 The Hessian is a very Intelligent man, Says he is an Apothecary, Docter Ledyard who is present wishes that he may be allowed to take him into the Apothecarys department in our Army where Docr Ledyard thinks he will be very Serviceable, to the publick and to which the Hessian is inclined.2

I also forward one McCarthy who is taken up on Suspicion, He is a deserter from Burgoynes Army, has been Some time about the Country, has Some Letters of recommendation.3 I have the Honor to be with the greatest respect your Excellencys most Obedient Servt

W. Heath

P.S. If your Excellency Should approve of the Germans going to the Hospital I would request that he may be directed to Docr Ledyard at Fishkill.

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1Heath is referring to the recruits who were part of the 3,800 British troops that had arrived at New York on 25 Aug. with the naval squadron of Vice Adm. Marriot Arbuthnot (see GW to John Jay, 24–27 Aug., and n.8 to that document). For the composition of this long-expected reinforcement and GW’s defensive preparations for its arrival, see GW to Jay, 11 Aug., n.5.

In a letter to Heath of this date written at “Camp Highlands,” Brig. Gen. John Nixon summarized the information provided by the deserter from the 23d British Infantry Regiment: “he informs me that the Reinforcment lately arived, consist of two new Chores [Corps] raisd in Scotland and Recruits for six Regiments, and that Admiral Arbethnot, parted with them eight Days before they arived to New York and is gone to the West Endias” (DLC:GW).

2Isaac Ledyard (d. 1803) served as surgeon’s mate of the 1st New York Regiment from March to November 1776. In 1777 Ledyard was an assistant deputy director general in the hospital department. In October 1780, Congress appointed Ledyard assistant purveyor of the hospital department, in which office he served to July 1782.

3In a second letter to Heath of this date written at “High Lands,” Nixon provided information about Charles McCarthy, who, he told Heath, “was sent Prisoner to my advanced Picquet, from Phillipston, by Mr James Cook; and with him sundry Papers. The said McCarthy upon Examination informed me that he had kept School about three Months at Fish Kill, and that his Wife & Child are now at Mr Cosby’s in that Place, near the landing, where I apprehend his Charecter may be readily obtained” (DLC:GW).

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