George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 26 November 1777

From Major General William Heath

Head Quarters Boston Novr 26th 1777

Dear General

At the request of Lt General Burgoyne I do myself the honor to transmit to your Excellency a packet which I have this day received from him. The Subject of his Letter will not be new, as you saw the grounds of it in the Letter from General Howe brought by Lieut: Vallancy. Genl Burgoyne is anxious to know your Excellency’s pleasure as soon as possible with respect to the Army, or himself & Suit and I must beg your explicit instructions to me also.1

Resting assured of your Excellency’s wisdom and that the least advantage will not be gained by the Enemy in any Manœuvre proposed by them where you are to have the decision. I will not presume to mention any objections that have arisen in my mind against Genl Howe’s proposal.

Congress not long since directed me to take down in writing not only the name & Rank of every Commissioned Officer of General Burgoyne’s Army included in the Convention, but also the name former place of abode, Occupation, Size, Age, & Description of every Non Commissioned Officer and Soldier,2 the latter General Burgoyne absolutely refuses to comply with any further than giving the names, asserting that no president can be produced in Military History of more being given, that the public Faith is to be the Security, that if the Convention was short in any article, additions cannot now be made for if it were to be admitted in one article amendments may be proposed in the whole—They are signing their paroles which will be completed to morrow, and behave with great good order.

General Burgoyne is much pleased with your treatment of Lieut. Vallency, which he says was polite and noble.

I would request an answer as soon as agreeable and wish it may be sent by Express as Letters are a long time coming by the Post. I have the Honor to be With great respect Your Excellencys Obedient Servt

W. Heath

LS, DLC:GW; ADf, MHi: Heath Papers. The cover of the LS is docketed in part “Ansd 15th Decemr,” but no letter of that date has been found.

1See John Burgoyne to GW, 25 November. The letter from Howe was the one that he wrote to Burgoyne on 8 November. The copy of that letter that Howe sent to Lord George Germain on 24 Mar. 1778 is in P.R.O.: Colonial Office Records, Secretary of State’s Correspondence with Commander-in-Chief, North America.

2For Congress’s resolution on this subject, see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 9:881–82.

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