George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 18 January 1778

From Major General William Heath

Head Quarters Boston Jany 18, 1778.

Dear General

Lieut. General Burgoyne has requested leave for his Assistant Commissary General, Mr Clarke, to proceed to Sr Wm Howe, to lay before him the Accounts of provisions &c. which have been supplied to the Troops of the Convention, those for the Months of November and December having been exhibited.1 I imagine this is in order to consult General Howe which will be most for their Interest, to refund the provisions or pay off the Accounts in Solid Coin. I have consented to his request if your Excellency approves of his going in. I have directed Capt. Gooch who attends him, to stop him at the out post of the army, and then himself to wait on your Excellency with the Letters, and receive your Orders.2

I have also permitted an Officer to proceed to General Gates, at the earnest request of General Burgoyne.3 He cannot well digest paying the Accounts in Solid Coin; but the liberty of replacing the provisions is a check upon his complaining—for my own part I wish he may return provisions as I think it will be much for our own Interest.

The General Assembly here have now a Committee considering the most speedy and effectual measures to complete their several Regiments in Continental service4—I have the Honor to be with great respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Servt

W. Heath

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

1Jonathan Clarke, commissary general of the Convention Army since 1777, remained in New York after the removal of Burgoyne’s army to Virginia in the fall of 1778, and he departed for England in July 1781. On his journey to Philadelphia, Clarke carried a letter of 18 Jan. from Burgoyne to Gen. William Howe enclosing copies of several letters between Heath and Burgoyne (MHi: Heath Papers; see also Heath’s letter to GW of 19 Jan. enclosing a letter to Burgoyne of that date).

2John Gooch served as a captain in the 9th Continental Infantry Regiment from January to December 1776, acting as GW’s courier under fire at the siege of Fort Washington in November of that year (Wilson, Heath’s Memoirs description begins Rufus Rockwell Wilson, ed. Heath’s Memoirs of the American War. 1798. Reprint. New York, 1904. description ends , 97). From January to July 1777, Gooch was paymaster of Col. Ezekiel Cornell’s incomplete Rhode Island State regiment; at this time Gooch was a deputy quartermaster general.

3The officer was Lt. George Preston Vallancy.

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