George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 12 October 1778

From Major General William Heath

Head Quarters Boston 12th October 1778

Dear General

I have been honored with the receipt of yours of the 29th Ulto per Brigr Genl Portail, and since, with that of the 4th Instant—The General has been taking a survey of the different Works every day since his arrival here, but has not as yet taken a plan. I shall pay strict attention to the injunctions of your Excellency’s Letter respecting the works.

I beleive the intelligence communicated by Mr Colvill in general may be depended upon:1 I find by a late Rhode Island News paper that Admiral Byron in the Princess Royal of 90 Guns and the Cullodon of 74 had arrived there in 15 days from Hallifax and that they had sailed again for New York,2 and by a person lately from Halifax we have confirmation of the arrival of the Scotch Troops at that place.

Several Letters have of late passed thro’ my hands from General Pigot, Prescott &c. in one, the former writes General Phillips that he has resigned the Command to General Prescott, but he believes his (Gen. Phillips’s) old friend will soon be appointed to the Command of that place. I have since been able to find that the old friend hinted by General Pigot is Lord Cornwallis.3

General Pigot & Lord Howe are gone home, the latter is to be Vice Admiral of the Red.4

A considerable quantity of Cloathing has gone on since my last.5

Provisions are daily arriving for the french Fleet &c. The Count & General Bouganvillee and some of the Officers have just been with me to view the Works—they appear to be much pleased. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedt Servant

W. Heath

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

1For the intelligence provided by British deserter William Colvill, see Heath to GW, 28 Sept., and note 4 to that document.

2Admiral Byron had arrived off Sandy Hook on 16 Sept. and then had sailed to Newport, where he arrived on 18 September. He remained there until 28 Sept., when he sailed back to Sandy Hook (see Mackenzie Diary description begins Diary of Frederick Mackenzie Giving a Daily Narrative of His Military Service as an Officer of the Regiment of Royal Welch Fusiliers during the Years 1775–1781 in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. 2 vols. Cambridge, Mass., 1930. description ends , 2:396, 399).

3Maj. Gen. Robert Pigot’s letter to Maj. Gen. William Phillips, who was a prisoner with the Convention Army at Cambridge, Mass., has not been identified. Maj. Gen. Richard Prescott took command of the British garrison at Newport on 28 September. Lt. Gen. Charles Cornwallis was not subsequently sent there.

4Pigot sailed for New York from Newport on 28 Sept. and went to England in 1779. Admiral Howe sailed for England from Newport on 26 September.

5Heath is referring to his letter to GW of 28 September. On the manuscript of the letter signed, the copyist inadvertently wrote “gone one.” The draft reads “gone on.”

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