George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 23 September 1778

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters Fredericksburg 23d Sepr 1778

Dear Sir

I am glad to find by yours of the 19th that such progress had been made in forwarding the Cloathing from Boston to Springfeild &ca. I think you did right under the appearance of matters, to send the unmade Cloathing out of town, and I would recommend it to you to keep the Bulk still there, bringing it in as the Taylers want it.

By a letter from Genl Greene of the 19th I am informed that the General Court had ordered in three thousand Militia for the defence of Boston, untill the Continental troops should arrive. I suppose this measure was taken upon a presumption that General Gray would make an attempt upon the Fleet and Harbour. But, as I have before informed you, he has returned.1 If therefore the Militia should have been assembled, and are not disbanded before this reaches you, I would advise its being immediately done. They will consume Stores unnecessarily, and will not be so ready to turn out again should there be occasion.

I will inform you in my next of the terms upon which Congress directed Officers should be supplied. The Resolve passed in November last, and I have not the papers at hand just now.2 I am Dear Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

p.s. I have recd advice from New York that two Brigades were ordered to be held in readiness to embark for the West Indies, and that four of the Regiments had actually gone on board. This is brought out by deserters.

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

On the draft Tilghman wrote and then struck out a long second paragraph concerning efforts to enable officers to obtain clothing at lower prices.

2Congress recommended to the states on 26 Nov. 1777 that they try to procure additional supplies of clothing beyond the allowances made by Congress and sell those additional items to their officers and soldiers “at such reasonable prices as shall be assessed by the cloathier general or his deputy, and be in just proportion to the wages of the officers and soldiers, charging the surplus of the cost to the United States” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 9:968–69).

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