George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 2 February 1777

From Major General William Heath

Kingstreet Feby 2nd 1777

Dear General

Since I wrote you last 12 more Ships have come down the Sound—4 of which were supposed to be of 40 Guns.1

We are informed from Long Island that General How is arming the Militia for the Defence of the Island—and that such as refuse to take arms are imprison’d.

I have formed our Line on this Side from Tarry Town to Maroneck, with our Guards as far down as Stephen Wards, from which we scout & patrole towards the Enemy Yesterday we brought off upwards of Eighty Loads of Forage.2

We are impatient to hear from your Excellency being informed, that a heavy Cannonade, was a day or two ago heard towards Brunswick. I have the honor to be With Great Respect Your Excellency’s Most humble Servt

W. Heath

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1Heath last wrote GW on 30 Jan., the same day that four British warships, H.M.S. Orpheus, Unicorn, Juno, and Greyhound, accompanied by thirteen transports of British soldiers, sailed down the Connecticut Sound for New York (see Lord Howe to Peter Parker, 31 Jan. 1777, in Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964—. description ends , 7:1069–71; see also Wilson, Heath’s Memoirs description begins Rufus Rockwell Wilson, ed. Heath’s Memoirs of the American War. 1798. Reprint. New York, 1904. description ends , 125, and Tatum, Serle’s Journal description begins Edward H. Tatum, Jr., ed. The American Journal of Ambrose Serle: Secretary to Lord Howe, 1776–1778. San Marino, Calif., 1940. description ends , 181).

2Heath ordered the repositioning of the troops under his command on 31 Jan., and in the following week he sent large foraging parties into the lower parts of Westchester County, N.Y. (see Jonathan G. Tompkins to Heath, 3 Feb., Heath to Alexander McDougall, 4 Feb., William Duer to Heath, 6 Feb., Heath to David Wooster, 7 Feb., and Heath to the Commanding Officer for Collecting and Burning Forage, 8 Feb., all in MHi: Heath Papers; see also Heath to GW, 5 Feb., 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 , 125–26).

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