George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 6 June 1778

From Major General William Heath

Head Quarters Boston June 6th 1778.

Dear General

I have been honored with your favor of the 20th Ultimo.

Several Detachments are now on their march to join you. Mr Parker the pay Master of Colonel H. Jackson’s Regiment has in charge for you Seven & a half pounds of Sealing Wax—hope it will come safe to hand.1

We are pushing on the Stores of all kinds with the utmost expedition. Mr Agent Bradford has just informed me that he has received 28 Casks Sulpher & Nitre, 40 Chests Arms, 1 d[itt]o Gun locks (500)—4 Cases broad Swords, 250 Piggs Lead—these I have ordered to Springfield immediately.2 Mr Bradford has, besides, an immense Quantity of Goods which he has lately received from France and is waiting directions from Congress to whom he has wrote respecting them.

I take the liberty to enclose a request of Captain Cleavland of Colo. M: Jackson’s Regiment for leave to resign his Commission in the Army Requests expressed in such terms are truly painful.3

It is just reported that the Commissioners are arrived at New York, of which your Excellency will most probably have better intelligence than we have ere this reaches you.

Desertion prevails exceedingly among the foreign Troops at Cambridge. I think they may be trusted in our service. Last night a Lieutenant come off, who, with several others, declare that the Colours of the Regiments of the Convention, heretofore reported to be burnt, were secreted in Trunks, and the poles only were burnt. I have wrote to Congress on the Subject and have sent the Lieutenant’s Deposition to them.4

We are yet employed in unloading the provisions from the Victuallers. I think our obtaining them a happy circumstance in our favor at this time. Eight Sail in the whole have arrived, of which five are unloaded & gone back. I have the honor to be With great respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedt Servant

W. Heath

P.S. Since writing the foregoing, Quarter Master Stacy of Colo. Lee’s Regiment has sent the enclosed request.5

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

1Stephen Parker of Boston was appointed paymaster of Col. Henry Jackson’s Additional Continental Regiment in May 1777 and left the army in April 1779.

2John Bradford’s letter to Heath, dated 5 June, is in MHi: Heath Papers.

3The enclosed letter from Capt. Ebenezer Cleaveland to Heath, dated 4 June at Boston, reads: “Having serv’d my Country this three Years past; Supported With pay unequal to the Task, or in other Words have scarcely Had a livelihood, by Reason of my having no other Income, Yet Stimulated by motives of Gratitude, to my Country, have chearfully Sacrifised my time & what little I had Saved before the commencement of this Unnatural War: have long Waited for a Generous Spirit to take place in the Minds of the People that they might be excited to acts of Benovolince to the Soldiery who are the Nerves of the land, at len[g]th am Reduced to a Necessity of Begging & imploring your Assistance in gitting Me a Discharge as I cant aford one farthing towards the support of my Family while in the Service, therefore they must inevitably Suffer, unless I get a discharge from the Army. my Compy is exceding Small perhaps not more then ten, or twelve at most wich makes me the more desirous to quit. I have Coll Jacksons Approbation on the Matter. he tells me has informd Your Honor of my Desire: & that you will do me the favor of writing to his Excellency on the Subject” (DLC:GW).

4Heath’s letter to Henry Laurens of this date and its enclosure are in DNA:PCC, item 157.

5The enclosed letter from Joseph Stacy to Heath, dated 27 May from Sewall’s Point, Mass., reads: “I am under necesity to request of your Honor, my discharge from the Continental service. My reasons for this request are, that my family is large, and requires my assistance to support it—But my wages are not adequate to my own necessary expences, which oblidges me to draw from my own Interest, by which mean my family must soon be reduced to want.

“If your Honor can think me a proper subject upon whom to confer so great a favour, by granting my request; or otherwise transmitting the same to his Excellency Genl Washington” (DLC:GW). Stacy, a native of Marblehead, Mass., had previously served as a quartermaster in Col. John Glover’s Massachusetts Regiment and in the 14th Continental Infantry Regiment before joining Col. William Raymond Lee’s Additional Continental Regiment in January 1777.

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