George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 5 May 1777

From Major General William Heath

Boston May 5th 1777

Dear General

This will be handed to you by Capt. Mullen (accompanied by Monsr Du Bouchet Brother in law to Col. Conway) who came from France in the Ship Amphitrite—He appears to be a very good Officer, & I think would make a most excellent Major of Brigade, if your Excellency should think it proper.1

The Assembly of this State have Resolved to complete their 15 Battalions by Draught, which is to be made on the 15th Inst.2—I should be glad of your Excellency’s Direction, whether those Draughted for the Eight Regts destined to Peeks-kill, who have not had the Small Pox, should be Inoculated here; or sent on—The latter I think will be rather dangerous, unless the Situation of the Army requires their immediate marching, notwithstanding the Hazard of taking the Disorder.

The Assembly have also ordered 15 Hundred of the Militia of Hampshire & Berkshire Counties to march to Ticonderoga to secure that post until the Continental Troops can arrive there.

They have also adopted Col. Henly’s Lee’s & Jackson’s Regiments, & voted the Recruits of those Regts the State Bounty (£20).3

The Inhabitants here are alarmed at the late Reports from France via Philadelphia, that the British Army is to pay them a Visit this Campaign—The Assembly are deliberating upon the Raising of several Regiments—Some Troops will undoubtedly be necessary for Guards to the Stores, which are very considerable, and after to morrow when the time to which Col. Craft’s Regt of State Artillery who now mount the Guard expires, will be intirely destitute of Sentrys Large Magazines of Provisions & Stores, such as Flour, Rice, Molasses, Salt &c., which are daily arriving are depositing in different parts of the State, between this place & Springfield, by the Commissary Genl & his Deputies—The number of Disaffected persons in almost every place, renders it improper to trust them without small Guards, as any abandoned Villains may set them on Fire—A sufficient number of Men will be readily granted by the State—but as the Stores are Continental, they expect that the Troops who do this duty, will be paid & subsisted by the States in General.

General De Borre sets out to morrow to join your Excellency.

I have ordered Three Hundred new Arms from Springfield, to Ticonderoga, having received Information from Col. Marshall & Francis, that those Troops who marched upon the Presumption of obtaining them there have been disapointed, & your Excellency having directed in your last that Arm⟨s sho⟩uld be sent on to Such.4 I have the honor to be Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Humble Servt

W. Heath

LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers. The mutilated text in the LS is supplied within angle brackets from the draft.

1Thomas Mullens (1738–1793) entered an Irish regiment in the French army as a common soldier in 1756 and rose through the ranks to become a sous-lieutenant in 1770. GW appointed Mullens brigade major of General Preudhomme de Borre’s brigade on 19 May (see General Orders, that date). Although a court-martial in August 1777 sentenced the hotheaded Mullens to be cashiered for insubordination to Preudhomme de Borre, Mullens apparently remained in the army as an aide-de-camp to Gen. Thomas Conway (see Preudhomme de Borre to GW, 2 Aug. 1777, PHi: Gratz Collection, 12 Aug. 1777, DLC:GW; GW to Preudhomme de Borre, 3 Aug. 1777, DLC:GW; John Sullivan to GW, 7, 12 Aug., DLC:GW; GW to Sullivan, 10 Aug. 1777, DLC:GW, 14 Aug. 1777, NhHi: Sullivan Papers). GW on 3 Oct. 1777 named Mullens acting brigade major to Conway’s brigade, and because of Mullens’s courageous actions during the Battle of Germantown on 4 Oct., GW on 6 Oct. made that appointment permanent (see General Orders, 3, 6 Oct. 1777). In June 1778 Congress brevetted Mullens a lieutenant colonel and agreed to pay for his passage to France, where he resumed service in the French army as a lieutenant. Mullens sailed to America in 1780 with Rochambeau’s army as commander of a company of guides, and he served in the Yorktown campaign. Returning to France in 1783, Mullens became a captain in the French army two years later and retired in 1791.

Denis-Jean-Florimond Langlois de Mautheville, chevalier Du Bouchet (1752–1826), whose sister was married to Thomas Conway, entered the French army as an engineering cadet in 1767 and became a sous-lieutenant in 1770. Obtaining the rank of captain in the Continental army in June 1777, Du Bouchet at his own request was sent in August to the northern army, where he was assigned to Col. Daniel Morgan’s rifle corps (see GW to Horatio Gates, 7 Aug. 1777, NHi: Gates Papers). Du Bouchet’s “spirited conduct” in the two battles of Saratoga earned him a promotion to major from General Gates in the fall of 1777 (see 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 , 9:1035, 10:8–9). Citing heath problems, Du Bouchet sailed the following winter to France, but he was captured at sea and was sent to a British prison ship in New York Harbor. Escaping after several weeks, Du Bouchet reached France in July 1778 and rejoined the French army, in which he had been promoted to lieutenant during his absence. Du Bouchet became a captain in 1779, and in 1780 he accompanied Rochambeau to America as an aide-de-camp. Du Bouchet served in the Yorktown campaign, and upon his return to France in 1783, he was brevetted a lieutenant colonel. Dismissed from the army and imprisoned during the French Revolution, Du Bouchet subsequently escaped. Under Napoleon he served as fort commander from 1809 to 1813. In 1816 Louis XVIII gave Du Bouchet an honorary rank as a lieutenant general and made him a marquis.

2The General Court took this action on 30 April (see “Mass. Council Journal,” Feb.–Oct. 1777 sess. description begins In Journals, Minutes, and Proceedings, State of Massachusetts Bay, 1775–1780. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records.) description ends , 341–48).

3The actions regarding Ticonderoga and the additional Continental regiments were taken by the General Court on 30 April (see ibid., 348–49, 351–52).

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