George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 29 June 1778

From Major General William Heath

Head Quarters Boston June 29th, 1778

Dear General

This will be handed to your Excellency by Captain Langdon of Colo. Henry Jackson’s Regiment1 who will also present a packet from General Phillips addressed to Sir Hy Clinton, which your Excellency is requested to send in by the first flag if you should approve thereof.2

General Phillips first sent me a letter for Sr Heny Clinton which contained many expressions, which, duty to the honor & dignity of my Country obliged me to object to passing; he had also selected particular paragraphs of his own and my Letters on the late unhappy death of Lieutenant Browne, I insisted upon his sending the whole or none. That every thing might wear the fairest face After the Coroner had taken his Inquest I appointed a Court of enquiry, fully to enquire into the Conduct of the Sentinel in a Military view—this Court after fully investigating the matter on the examination of many Evidences both of our own troops and of the Convention, acquitted him as having done no more than his duty. I have the honor to be with great respect Your Excellency’s Obedt Servant

W. Heath

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

1John Langdon of Boston was appointed a captain in Col. Henry Jackson’s Additional Continental Regiment in February 1777 and resigned in October 1778.

2For Maj. Gen. William Phillips’s letter to Gen. Henry Clinton of 21 June, see Heath to GW, 22 June, n.2. Phillips’s letter to Clinton of 26 June reads: “I writ to your Excellency on the 21st Instant a Letter containing my report of the Death of Lieutenant Browne of the 21st Regiment killed by an American Centinel and various other matter—Major General Heath refused to let it be sent alledging that parts of my representations were not just and decent—I sent the dispatch again to Major General Heath desiring him to mark those passages to which he objected—This he has done and my Letter is thereby much mutilated, but I am desirous to Send you, Sir, as far as I am able and allowed the State of my situation—That of the Troops is not altered nor has their conduct called for any reproof from Major General Heath.

“The Letter Accompanying this will go by Major General Heath’s consent” (DLC:GW).

Index Entries