George Washington Papers

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

From Major General William Heath

Head Quarters Boston Augst 6th 1778

Dear General

Some Time in the month of april last Capt. Willoe of the Troops of the Convention, went to Canada by the way of Hallifax in order to forward to this Place the Baggage Belonging to those Troops—to which by the Convention they had a Right if it was found necessary, nothing has been heard of Capt. Willoe Since, General Phillips applies for leave for an other Officer to go to Canada by the way of the Lakes—not knowing the Condition of our Posts on that rout or whether it would be Prudent to let an Officer go that way. I am led to request your Excellencys Opinion & Direction.1

Every Exertion is in Exercise Here for the reduction of Rhode Island The Roads are filled with Companies of Militia and volluntiers Three Thousand Militia have been ordered to be Drafted, The State Regt of artillery under Colo. Crafts marched Some Days Since, as did an artillery Company Commanded by Major Bumstead of this Town, The Independent and Light Companies march this Day & to morrow[.] a Large Company from Salem and another from Newbury Port Composed of Gentlemen of the first Families & Fortunes marched through this Place yesterday and the Day before for Providence2—General Sullivan has a Train of Field artillery Consisting of Thirty Brass 6 and 4 pdrs, Four Brass Howitz Eight or nine Brass Mortars—and a Marine one of 13 Inches this latter I have Sent from this Place—Genl Hancock Sets out to morrow or Next Day—Brigadiers Lovell and Titcomb are gone with the militia3—I have the Honor to be with the greatest respect your Excellencys most obt Servt

W. Heath

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers; copy (extract), DNA:PCC, item 152; copy (extract), DNA:PCC, item 169. The extract in item 152 was enclosed with GW’s first letter to Henry Laurens of 16 August. Both extracts consist of the first paragraph of the letter.

1Heath enclosed Maj. Gen. William Phillips’s letter to him of 29 July, in which Phillips requested that if Heath was disinclined to grant his request, “an Officer may go to General Washington for his directions” (DLC:GW).

2Thomas Bumstead was commissioned a captain in the Massachusetts militia in November 1776. Thomas Crafts, Jr., was commissioned as colonel of a Masssachusetts artillery regiment in November 1776 and resigned in February 1779. According to the Continental Journal, and Weekly Advertiser (Boston), 6 Aug., Crafts’s regiment marched on 31 July and Bumstead’s company marched on 3 August. One hundred and eight volunteers from Salem left Boston on the morning of 4 Aug., while the Newburyport company arrived on 5 Aug. and left on the morning of 6 August. The Boston light infantry company was to march on the afternoon of 6 Aug., and John Hancock’s independent company on 7 August (see also “Price Diary,” description begins William S. Pattee. “Items from an Interleaved Boston Almanac for 1778, Being a Diary of Ezekiel Price.” New England Historical & Genealogical Register 19 (1865): 329–38. description ends 334).

3Solomon Lovell (1732–1801) of Weymouth, Mass., was commissioned as colonel of a Suffolk County regiment of militia in February 1776 and as brigadier general of the Suffolk County militia in June 1777. His service on this Rhode Island expedition ran from 1 Aug. to 14 Sept. 1778. He subsequently served on the Penobscot expedition from July to October 1779 before resigning his commission in August 1780. Jonathan Titcomb (1727–1817), who represented Newburyport in the Massachusetts General Court at this time, was commissioned as colonel of an Essex County militia regiment in February 1776 and as brigadier general of the Essex County militia in October 1777. He served on the Rhode Island expedition from 28 July to 11 Sept. 1778. Appointed a major general of militia in June 1781, Titcomb served at that rank at least until 1787. In 1789 GW appointed him to be naval officer at Newburyport, Mass., a post he filled until 1812.

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