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To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 4 July 1779

From Major General William Heath

Danforths [Highlands, N.Y.]
July 4th 1779 10 oClock Evening

Dear General

I have this moment received the enclosed Letters from Colo. Sheldon and Major Talmage, by which your Excellency will preceive that a Skirmish happened with the Enemy on the morning of the 2nd Instant, with Some loss on both Sides.1

permit me in behalf of Major Talmage to request Some releif of Clothing from the Public Store if your Excellency should think it proper. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect your Excellencys most Obedient Servt

W. Heath

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1The enclosed letter from Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge to Heath has not been identified, but what probably was the enclosed letter from Col. Elisha Sheldon to Heath, written at Salem, N.Y., on 3 July, reads: “I am Just set down to give your honor an account of our movements yesterday—On the morning of the 2d inst. about sunrise (a detachment of my Regt about ninety in number being posted near pound ridge meeting house) We were notified of the advance of the enemy by our videts, our horses being previously saddled and bridled the men were ordered immediately to mount as soon as we were paraded the Enemy’s horse were discovered rapidly approaching about 360 in number as soon as the enemy had drove in our advance parties, they began the Charge upon the detachment which from the great superiority of the enemy I found necessary to Order off— The Enemy persued hard on our rear for more than two miles, in the course of which a scattering fire was kept up Between their advance and our rear and a Constant charge with the sword. The Country through which we passed being very mountanious & Rocky. Blundered our horses much which occasioned some to fall into the hands of the Enemy.

“The Militia being immediately collected we pursued the enemy following them down to North Castle Church they moved off with great percipitation our loss on this occasion is as follows—Wounded—Serjts—0—Corpls—1— Trooprs—1—Privats. 8 Missing—[Serjts—] 3—[Corpls—] 1—[Trooprs—] 0—[Privats.] 4 Horses missing—4—The enemies loss was Killed—1—Prisoners—4—Horses taken—4—Ditto Killed—1. Their wounded cannot precisely determine but am certain some Were badly wounded, By accounts from the Inhiabitats I learn that an Officer of theirs was very much wounded Before the enemy moved off they set fire to the meeting house, and dwelling house of Majr Lockwood which with the greatest part of the furniture was intirely consumed; they also burnt the dwelling house of Mr Benja. Hays at Bedford” (DNA:PCC, item 152; see also DNA:PCC, item 169, and Wilson, Heath’s Memoirs, description begins Rufus Rockwell Wilson, ed. Heath’s Memoirs of the American War. 1798. Reprint. New York, 1904. description ends 220–21).

Heath wrote both officers about their letters on 5 July. His letter to Sheldon in part reads: “Your favor of the 3rd came to hand the last night, I am sorry to hear that Your Regt Sustained any loss in the action of the 2nd but am happy that you so well baffled the intentions of the Enemy much Superior in force, and in turn obliged them to fly with preciepitation I think the Enemy will endeavour to harrass you much, Colo. Moylans Joyning you will make your force, respectable however be much on your guard” (MHi: Heath Papers).

Heath’s letter to Tallmadge reads: “Your favor of the 3rd Instant Came to hand the last evening am Sorry to hear that you have been so unfortunate as to lose part of your Clothing at a time when it is hardly to be obtained, I have transmitted your letter to his Excellency Genl Washington & have Subjoyned my Solicitations to yours that releif may be afforded you, hope the event will be fortunate” (MHi: Heath Papers; see also GW to Tallmadge, 5 July, and n.1 to that document).

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