George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 27 June 1779

From Major General William Heath

Danforths House [Highlands, N.Y.]
June 27th 1779

Dear General

I do myself The honor to enclose your Excellency a line of Intelligence this moment come to hand with a Deserter from Robinsons Corps—perhaps a part of the1 Enemy are going to wards New York,2 I shall however be doubly on my Guard Untill I am assured of their departure, I had this morning ordered a Strong regiment to march on to Sugar Loaf Hill3 this Evening and to remain their Untill Seven oClock tomorrow morning, I have also ordered Parsons and Huntingtons Brigades to ly on their arms this night.

The Lad which I have Sent up is of a very good family and I think his Intelligence maybe relyd on. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect your Excellencys most obedt Servt

W. Heath

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1At this place on the manuscript, Heath first wrote “the.” He then struck out that word and wrote “a Considerable part of the” above the line before striking out the word “Considerable.”

2Heath almost certainly is referring to a letter of the same date from Lt. Col. David F. Sill to Brig. Gen. Jedediah Huntington that reads: “Advance Lines … This moment am informed by a deserter that the greatest part of the Enemy have embark’d, and that they are bound down the River. I make no doubt of the Truth of the above account, but Shall Send a party immediately off to See what discoveries they can make. I was informed by a Woman, Wife to a Brittish soldier taken last Evening that they were about going off, & that the report was they were to go below fort Washington and encamp there. Should the party make any discoveries, I shall not fail to give your Honor the earliest intelligence” (MHi: Heath Papers). Huntington enclosed Sill’s letter with one of his own to Heath of the same date, which reads in part: “Inclose You a Line from the Commanding Officer at the Village—and forward on a Deserter—I have had no other Intelligence this day—Col. sills Conjectures as to the Intentions of the Enemy may be wrong—I shall caution him to be doubly on his Guard” (MHi: Heath Papers).

3This 765-foot elevation is about one-half mile east of the Hudson River roughly two miles below West Point.

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