George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 25 December 1777

From Major General William Heath

Boston Decr 25, 1777

Dear General

Not long since I received a Letter from Colo. Sam. B. Webb, informing me that the fortune of War had thrown him into the Hands of the Enemy, that he was admitted on parole, and was very desirous if possible to effect an Exchange for some British Officer in our hands.1 As Colo. Webb is an active and good Officer, I beg leave to recommend him to your Excellency’s particular attention, and as an exchange might, I imagine be very easily made for some Officer out of the many that are here. I beg leave to solicit the favor in behalf of Colo. Webb, but submit the propriety, or expediency of the measure to your Excellency’s determination.

General Burgoyne has not as yet sent to Rhode Island to have the Transports ordered round, although he has been talking of it ever since he was informed of the Resolve of Congress restricting him to the Port stipulated by Convention.2 He is very uneasy that he does not hear your Excellency’s determination as to himself and Suit which he daily expects.3 I have the honor to be with great respect Your Excellency’s Most Obed. Servt

W. Heath

LS, DLC:GW; ADf, MHi: Heath Papers.

1For Samuel Blachley Webb’s letter to Heath, which was written at Providence on 16 Dec., see Ford, Webb Correspondence and Journals description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford, ed. Correspondence and Journals of Samuel Blachley Webb. 3 vols. New York, 1893–94. description ends , 1:399–400. The content of Webb’s letter to Heath closely parallels that of Webb’s letter to GW of 29 December.

2For Congress’s resolution of 1 Dec. regarding this subject, 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 , 9:982.

3Although GW had written John Burgoyne on both 17 and 20 Dec., he did not in those letters address the issue of whether Burgoyne and his “Suit[e]” would be allowed to depart for England in short order. Burgoyne was not permitted to leave Cambridge, Mass., until 5 April 1778. He sailed for England from Rhode Island on 15 April and arrived there in mid-May.

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