George Washington Papers

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

From Major General William Heath

Head Quarters Boston 26th Augt 1778

Dear General

Nearly our whole time for several weeks has been taken up in forwarding provisions, Stores &c. to Rhode Island, and in order to accelerate the operations of the Expedition we have sent to that place all the provisions that could possibly be spared from the Magazines, in particular Flour, of which upwards of 1000 Barrels have been forwarded. The unexpected destination of the Count D’Estaing’s Squadron to this place will I fear be not a little embarrassing on that account, as it is reported that they are short of bread. I have wrote Mr Colt and desired him to send on a quantity of flour with the utmost expedition. The Cesar only has as yet arrived; the whole Fleet are hourly expected.1

It is truly unfortunate that circumstances would not admit this Squadron to have remained at Rhode Island to co-operate with our Army in the reduction of that place—the prospect of which was promissing—the Seige will now most probably for a time be turned into a Blockade. But it is surprising to hear the unguarded and imprudent expressions & writings of many on this occasion, the severe reflections which are thrown out I fear will give umbrage and if care is not taken wound our great & good Cause. From the unthinking Multitude some indiscreet or unguarded expressions may be expected—I wish they may be from such only.

I have offered every assistance in my power to the Officers who have already arrived. I shall extend it with every mark of respect to those who are expected. Every step is already taken to refit the fleet, a Vessel some days since was dispatched for Spars &c. I have the honor to be With the greatest respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedt Servt

W. Heath

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

1The César, which had become separated from the French fleet during the storm of 11 and 12 Aug., anchored at Boston on 22 August.

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