George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 29 March 1777

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters Morris Town 29th March 1777.

Dear Sir

The Situation of our Affairs again compells me to call upon you in express and positive Terms to hasten the Troops of your State (those inlisted for the continent I mean) to Peekskill and Ticonderoga, in such proportions as I have before directed, without one Moments loss of time. The Enemy have lately, taking advantage of our weakness at Peekskill, made a descent there, burnt the lower Barracks, our Store Houses, and a valuable parcel of Stores.1 Perhaps elated by their Success, they may return up the River, and proceed as high as the Forts, which, if they do suddenly, and with any tolerable Force, I do not see what is to hinder them from making themselves masters of them. Those Regiments intended for peekskill may march immediately thither and undergo innoculation ⟨mutilated⟩ except you think ⟨mutilated⟩ pay Mr Jarvis of Boston Ten thousand dollars on account of Ordnance Stores which he has purchased.2 The Money may be obtained from Mr Hancock the Deputy Pay Masr Genl.

I shall expect to hear from you by the Post every Week and am Dear Sir Yr most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS (mutilated), in Tench Tilghman’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers. Most of the bottom one-fifth of the first manuscript page, which includes at least two lines of text, is missing. Although GW included Heath’s name in the address on the draft of his letter to Samuel Holden Parsons and James Mitchell Varnum of this date, the text of this LS differs markedly from the text of that draft after the first sentence (see GW to Parsons, Poor, and Varnum, this date, source note).

1For accounts of the British raid on Peekskill, N.Y., of 23–25 Mar., see Henry Beekman Livingston to GW and Alexander McDougall to GW,, both this date.

2Leonard Jarvis, the deputy Continental agent for Dartmouth, Mass., had taken charge of the military stores imported aboard the ship Hancock and Adams after its arrival at Dartmouth the previous fall (see the Board of War to GW, 18 Nov. 1776; 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 , 7:59–60).

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