George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 26 May 1778

From Major General William Heath

Head Quarters Boston May 26th 1778,

Dear General

This will be handed to your Excellency by the Marquis Devienne lately from France. He has come to serve in our Army, and requested a line to you.1

We have a report this day that a number of the Enemy from Rhode Island, yesterday morning surprised a party of our men who were posted at Warren Neck and made prisoners of nearly the whole, burnt the meeting house & destroyed a large number of Boats and returned to the Island; We have not as yet had any Express therefore cannot give the particulars.2

Colo. Lee this moment comes in—he is anxious to know whether he is to be allowed to resign, or is yet expected to go on. About one Hundred fine fellows belonging to his Regiment will march the day after to morrow to join your Excellency; other Detachments both of Recruits & Drafts will march this week.

General Glover proposes seting out on monday next for Camp. I have the honor to be With great respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedt Servant

W. Heath

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

1Louis-Pierre, Marquis de Vienne (b. 1746), a former captain in the French army, was breveted a colonel without pay by Congress in July 1778 and subsequently saw service at Savannah and in the West Indies before returning to France in 1779.

2Early in the morning of May 25th, 500 British and Hessian soldiers sallied out of Newport, R.I., and sacked the towns of Warren and Bristol, destroying ships and large quantities of munitions and other supplies. The American defenders either fled or skirmished ineffectively, allowing the enemy to withdraw in good order at noon with sixty-nine prisoners, mostly civilians (see John Sullivan to GW, this date, and Paul F. Dearden, The Rhode Island Campaign of 1778 [Providence, 1980], 25–27).

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