George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 25 March 1779

From Major General William Heath

Roxbury [Mass.] march 25. 1779.

Dear General

I take the Liberty to do myself the honor to enclose to your Excellency a Letter which I have just received from Colo. Armand who has express’d a great inclination, if agreable to you, to have Major Daniel Lyman my eldest Aide de Camp advanced to the Lieutenant Colonelcy of his regiment, which is now vacant.1

I should with much reluctance part with Major Lyman from my family, but, if this request of Colonel Armand’s should meet your Excellencys approbation, I would by no means object to his leaving me when his own honor by the promotion, and the cause of our Country by his Services I think would be equally benefitted. The decision is with your Excellency.

With respect to Major Lyman, I would beg Leave to observe, that upon the first commencement of hostilitys in 1775 he left his Studys at Yale College in Connecticut & march’d a volunteer to Cambridge under Captn Arnold, now Major General Arnold, from Cambridge he went as a Lieutenant under the same officer who was then a Colonel, to St John’s on Lake Champlain—The Campaign of 1776, (after having finish’d his Academic Studys) he went a Volunteer to Newyork, where, he was appointed by your Excellency a Brigade Major. In 1777 He was appointed in Colo. Lee’s Regt Commissioned and Arranged Senior Captain, where he did duty untill the beginning of the Year 1778, when, from the strongest recommendations, I appointed him one of my Aids de Camp; since which time he has had the rank & pay of a Major in the Army—While he has acted under my observation & direction I have found him an attentive, diligent, capable & active officer. I will only add that his connexions are respectable. Should your Excellency wish for any further information, it is in the power of the Adjt General to give it. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect Your Excellencys Most obedient Servant

W. Heath

ALS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers. In his reply to Heath written on 22 April, GW declined to give his “opinion for any appointment of Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel Armands corps” because that corps was not attached to a state and it was inexpedient to increase “the number of their officers, in the present circumstances of the army” (MHi: Heath Papers). Daniel Lyman remained aide-de-camp to Heath until the end of the war.

1The enclosure is a letter from Colonel Armand to Heath written at Boston on this date, which reads: “the lt Colonelcy of my corps being vacant, i am Exeedingly deserous if possible to have Major lyman your oldest aide de Camp appointed to that office. nothing Could flater me more than to serve with that gentleman who beside his charactere, having the advantage to be born americain, is more acquainted than anny foreigner with the law and costumes of this Country, and Could be on several subjects, of a great help to me. i am uncertain of my succes in recruiting but in the mean time, if they were according to my desire, i would be in some kind effray’d that congress would find me for lt cnl one foreigner officer who should be perhaps of more disavantage to the service than of anny good, should he be the most courageous and learn’d officer. if you have not objection to the promotion of mjor lyman, when i say objection, i understand if your friendship for him could allow you to leat him go from you, i wish you would wrait to his Exellency gnl wasingston, from who only i Expect and will deserve my good fortune in this Country, and in the trues the comon father of all solgears; i dont doubt but your recommendation shall have the succes which i can only desire” (DLC:GW). Also on this date, Heath wrote to Armand that “I think you will find in Major Lyman every thing you Can wish—I have done myself the honor to write his Excellency General Washington on the Subject and have taken the Liberty to inclose your letter and hope the answer will be agreable to your wishes” (MHi: Heath Papers).

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