George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 30 September 1776

From Major General William Heath

Kingsbridge Sept. 30th 1776

Dear General

By a Letter Just received from Colo. Harrison, I am Informed that it is your Excellency’s Pleasure, That Such of the militia belonging to General Saltonstalls Brigade as have not been ordered to move Forward, should now march and take Post opposite to Head Quarters on the Morrisania Side of Harlem River & c.1 I beg leave Just to represent to your Excellency, That this Brigade Consists of nine Regiments One of which is on the Jersey side, Two orderd to Newyork Island, Four to Joyn Colo. Chester, and the Other Two Posted from East Chester to the Saw Pitts, Where as I am Informed by Colonel Trumbull, That He is Collecting Large Quantitys of Stores, in Places Easy of access to the Enemy, and Surrounded by those Unfriendly to our Cause,2 I think the greater Part if not the whole of the Two Regiments are wanted there, However I Submitt it to your Excellency’s better Judgment If it should be thought best to Continue those Regiments at their Present Posts, and that Two, of the Four ordered to Joyn Colo. Chester should Take Post on Harlem River, as Soon as your Excellency’s Pleasure is Known it shall be Done. I have the Honor to be &c

W. Heath

If I should hear nothing further I shall order the whole to march forward.3

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers. The receiver’s copy of this letter, which has not been found, apparently included some additional text, because GW’s aide-de-camp William Grayson wrote Heath on 3 Oct. that “on looking over your letter of the 30th of Sepr he [GW] has discovered a passage respecting Col. Trumbull, which he thinks has nor [not] yet been answered; He has no objection to Col. Trumbuls inlisting the number of men out of the Militia which you have mentioned; indeed he looks upon it as a proper step” (MHi: Heath Papers).

1See Robert Hanson Harrison to Heath, this date, MHi: Heath Papers. These militiamen, Harrison writes, were to be instructed to build huts for themselves “with Straw, Rails & Sod . . . on this side the Heights facing Harlem River, that they may not be in the way of such Works & Lines as may be judged necessary to be thrown up on them.”

2Saw Pit, now called Port Chester, was a small village near the mouth of the Byram River in Westchester County. Its name derived from the building of boats there.

3William Grayson writes in a postscript to his letter to Heath of 3 Oct. that GW “cannot imagine what has been the reason why the Regiment ordered to the heights opposite to this, are not yet arrived there; he desires you may forward it with all possible dispatch; they may be furnished with tents from the Quarter Master here” (MHi: Heath Papers).

Index Entries