George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 31 August 1776

From Major General William Heath

Kingsbridge, Augst: 31st 1776

Dear General

What Fatality Attends the Sinking of the1 Chevaux De Frise I cannot tell, I was Extremely Uneasy yesterday at the Delay, I went to the Place, Called Capt. Cooke on Shore, told him every moment was precious, and that if any Benifit was ever to be reaped from them it would Probably be Soon, He told me that they met with many & Great Dificulties, that the night before last one of the Vessells which was fitted for Sinking, Drove with her Anchors nearly Down to the Glass House, I have Just this moment Received the Inclosed from Colo. Hutchinson, How the Rapidity of the Current Should be but Just now discovered I cannot tell[.]2 I wish Colo. Putnam if he Can be Spared may Still Superinte[n]d this Business, or Such other Order be Taken as your Excellency shall think Proper—Judge Morris this moment Informs me that Troops have been Seen at New Town.3 I have the Honor to be with great respect your Excellency most Humble Servt

W. Heath

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1Heath neglected to strike the word “our” at this place on the manuscript when he changed the wording.

2Col. Israel Hutchinson wrote Heath on this date from Mount Washington “that Capt. Cooke sunk a Cheveaux D Fries which is now floating down the River He has been with me this Morng and tells me that it is His Opinion that the current is so rapid that all Endeavours of the Kind will not stop the River” (MHi: Heath Papers). Capt. Robert Cook commanded the row galley Lady Washington. The glass house, which opened as a bottle manufactory in 1758 and subsequently became a tavern, was about four miles up the Hudson from New York City.

3Richard Morris (1730–1810) of Mount Fordham in Westchester County, a younger brother of Lewis Morris and a half brother of Gouverneur Morris, was judge of the royal vice-admiralty court for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut from 1762 to 1775, when he resigned his office over the objection of Governor Tryon. On 2 Aug. 1776 Morris declined to become judge of the state admiralty court, telling the convention that “he most heartily joined with his countrymen, and was ready to support them with his life and fortune; but that from the situation of his family and property, the remainder of his life was necessary for attention to his own affairs” (N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:554). In 1778, however, Morris accepted a seat in the state senate, and the next year he became chief justice of the state supreme court, on which he served until he retired from public life in 1790.

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