To Major General William Heath
Head Quarters Brunswic [N.J.]1
29th Novemr 1776.
Yours of the 26th overtook me a few Miles from this place where I arrived this day at Noon. The Enemy gave us not the least Interruption upon our March. I am glad to hear that the Stores that were at Tapan and Slotts Landing are all got safely up; I hope you will have the same good Luck with the Flour.
I approve of the Steps you have taken to keep the Tories, in the Neighbourhood of your post, in Order, and also of your Offers of Assistance to the State of New York in obstructing the Passage of the North River above Fort Constitution, it is an Object of so much Consideration, that I think too much Attention cannot be paid to it.
I hope you will be able to prevail upon Scotts Brigade to remain with you some little time beyond their Engagement, if the recruiting Service goes on with tolerable Success, their Numbers will soon be replaced by that Means.2 I am led to expect considerable Reinforcements from Pennsylvania and this State, I shall be in want of them, as the Time of the Flying Camp from Jersey & Maryland expires tomorrow and I fear few will be induced to stay longer. If the Reinforcements are equal to my Expectations, I hope I shall at least be able to prevent a further penetration of the Enemy who have already got too great a Footing in this part of the Country.
Mr Palfrey has orders to advance to the Colonels, who are appointed and have agreed to remain in the Service, such Sums of Money as are necessary for the Bounties of the new inlisted Men.3 I am Sir yr most obt Servt
LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers.
1. GW began his retreat from Newark to New Brunswick on the morning of 28 Nov. (see GW to Hancock, 30 November). His place of lodging that night, if any, is not known. New Brunswick, which was known almost universally at the time of the American Revolution as Brunswick, is on the Raritan River about twenty-five miles southwest of Newark. GW’s headquarters in the town was at the southwest corner of present-day Albany and Neilson streets (see Wall, Chronicles of New Brunswick description begins John P. Wall. The Chronicles of New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1667–1931. New Brunswick, N.J., 1931. description ends , 219). For the continuation of GW’s retreat to Princeton and Trenton on 2 Dec., see GW to Hancock, that date.
2. On 27 Nov., before GW received Heath’s letter to him of 26 Nov. regarding Gen. John Morin Scott’s efforts to extend the enlistment time of his troops, Robert Hanson Harrison had written Heath from Newark: “The situation of Affairs on this side Hudsons river, requiring that we should have the assistance of the Division under Genl Lee, His Excellency [GW] requests that you will mention to Genl Scott the expediency of his Brigades continuing in service with you, for fifteen or Twenty days more than they first engaged for. The importance of the measure will be obvious to Genl Scott & his Excellency is well assured, that his exertions will be employed to influence his Troops to stay. Many advantages will be derived from it—on the other hand, their departure at this time, when the Season is so favourable to the Enemy’s Plans, may be attended with sundry bad & alarming consequences” (DLC:GW).
3. Robert Hanson Harrison wrote William Palfrey on this date from New Brunswick: “The critical situation of our Affairs making It necessary, that every measure should be adopted that can possibly facilitate the recruiting service and raising a New Army, His Excellency [GW] is willing that you should advance from Time to time to such Cols. as you know are appointed & who agree to serve again, such Sums of money as they may conceive to be necessary for paying the bounty of Twenty Dollars allowed by Congress to each Private who shall enlist, keeping in view that they are not to go beyond the amount which the whole bounty to a Regiment will be. You will inform the Cols. of this who come under the above discription, & take their receipts for whatever Money they obtain on the back of which his Excellency will sign you Warrants whenever you present them. This Scheme is meant to expedite matters. The Genl Intended to have done something of the sort before, but omitted it through hurry & the constant business that is pressing upon him. The Enemy are now at New Ark if not advanced farther.” In a postscript to that letter, Harrison says: “I do [not] see any necessity for the Cols. drawing for the whole bounty at once. though they may do it” (anonymous donor).