George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 6 November 1778

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters Fredericksburg [N.Y.]
6th Novemr 1778

Dear Sir,

I have your favor of the 30th ulto by Captain Master, who waits in this Neighbourhood until he can hear from New York, having written to Sir Henry Clinton in order to effect his exchange. a Resolve of Congress lately passed put it out of my power to indulge his wish of going in himself.1

From part of Genl Phillips’s letter I am led to believe, that he had not received orders from you to prepare for his journey to Virginia, and from your own, you seem to doubt of the propriety of his removal, until the terms mentioned in the opinion of the President of Congress shall be complied with. The late resolve for the removal of the Convention Troops being general, and subsequent to the opinion of the President, I think includes Genl Phillips, and justifies a change of his present situation.2

I have mentioned this matter to Genl Gates, upon whom the Command at Boston has by this time devolved, that if Genl Phillips should have remained behind, he may be directed to follow the Troops.3

I thank you for your caution in concealing the route from the Officers of the Convention, although in the present situation of the Enemy’s affairs, I do not think any danger is to be apprehended. I am Dr Sir Your Mo. Obet hum. Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW signed the cover of the LS.

1GW apparently is referring to a resolve of 21 Oct. “that Congress do not approve of partial and parole exchanges” (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 , 12:1033).

2Tench Tilghman wrote this paragraph on the draft in place of the following marked-out sentence written by Meade: “The Resolve of Congress for the removal of the Convention Troops must I should suppose mean to include General Phillips, it being couched in general terms and posterior to the opinion of the President of Congress.”

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