George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 26 June 1779

From Major General William Heath

Danforths House [Highlands, N.Y.]
June 26th 1779

Dear Genl

Upon being honored with your Command, on yesterday I immediately detached Lieut. Colo. Grosvenor with 200 Light Infantry to march to Robinsons Stores with proper Instructions conformable to your directions1—I have received no reports of Consequence this morning should any be made worthy of notice they shall be transmitted.

I think the forming the Light Infantry of this division into a Corps and holding them in ready to march at a moments notice will tend to promote the Service, If your Excellency approves of it permit me to propose That Colo. Meigs of Genl Parsons’s Brigade Lt Colo. Sherman of Huntingtons and Major Oliver of Nixons may be detached to Command the Corps Untill your Excellency may think proper to order otherwise. I have the Honor to be with the greatest respect your Excellencys most Obedient Servt

W. Heath

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

A letter of this date from Brig. Gen. Jedediah Huntington to Heath, written from the Highlands, N.Y., reads: “The Officers of my Brigade are informed there is a very considerable supply of Cloathing suitable for Officers hourly expected at Fish Kill—As they are very destitute they wish not to be behind hand in obtaining their share—A Mode has been lately pointed out in Orders by which soldiers cloathing is to be drawn but none for that of Officers.

“I have no authentic Intelligence of the Enemies Movements to day—Lt [Thaddeus] Keeler of my Brigade came from Ridgfield Yesterday—he heard at salem that the Enemy had gone from Pines Bridge—Fires were seen at or near Bedford—& he saw some Connecticut Militia Horse who told him they were going to join Col: sheldon at Greenwich—I hear the Governor has ordered a hundred Horse to join him” (MHi: Heath Papers).

Heath replied to Huntington on the same date: “your favor of this Date was delivered to me when in Company with his Excellency the Commander in Chief to whom I shew it He was pleased to reply He did not know of any Clothing being arrived, when it Came to hand he Should endeavour to do equal Justice to all the Officers.

“please to Continue to advise me of any Intelligence that may Come to your Knowledge and let me request that you would take every Possible means to obtain it his Excellency earnestly wishes it” (MHi: Heath Papers).

A letter from Heath to Col. Elisha Sheldon on the same date reads: “Having the Honor to Command the Troops on the East Side of Hudsons River I am very happy in having your Regt of Horse fall within my Command. I am to request that you would take Post at or near Bedford or Such Other place as may be most Centrical between the Sound and north river as from such a Situation you will be best able to afford protection to the Country on both Sides of you which will give great Confidence to the distressed Inhabitants It was this Day intimated that you had removed or intended to remove to Greenwich, his Excellency General Washington being present expressed Some Surprise that you should remove so far towards the Sound, could not account for it and wishes you would Inform him of the reasons for Such a Manoeuvre. If you have removed from Bedford I would have you remove back as Soon as Possible to that place or its neighbourhood. please to acquaint me as often as Possible with any remarkable Occurrences” (MHi: Heath Papers). Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge replied to Heath from “Poundridge near Bedford,” N.Y., on 27 June, explaining that he was in command with Sheldon “absent in Connecticut” and supplying possible reasons for the erroneous report of a move to Greenwich, Conn. (MHi: Heath Papers).

1See GW to Heath, 25 June, n.2.

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