George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 3 July 1779

From Major General William Heath

Danforths [Highlands, N.Y.] July 3rd 1779

Dear General

Colo. Putnam returned yesterday afternoon from reconnoitreing the Enemy at Verplanks and Stony Point.1 He approached near those Posts and has made the best observations the Situation of the Ground would admit of. I do myself the honor to enclose a draught which he has given me.2

I also send a Frenchman who deserted from the British legion.3

The Parties from Huntingtons Brigade Patrole Some distance below Peeks Kill with proper precaution, this will I think encourage desertion. The Enemy keep closely within their Lines. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect your Excellencys most obedient Servt

W. Heath

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1Col. Rufus Putnam had begun this reconnaissance on 30 June (see Heath to GW, that date, and n.1 to that document).

2At this place on his draft manuscript, Heath wrote and then struck out a sentence, which reads: “Nixons Brigade passes muster this Day which prevents Colo. Putnams waiting on your Excellency in Person.”

The enclosure was Col. Rufus Putnam’s map of British works at Stony Point and Verplanck Point, now in NIC: Sparks Collection (see Fig. 1). GW’s aide-de-camp Richard Kidder Meade docketed the back of this map: “from Genl Heath letter 3d July 1779.” Written on this map are “References for Stone Point” that read: “I[.] the Cappital work on the highest part of the point Commanding the out flashes [flèches] which is Conformed to the Brooken eminance it is built on. 2. flashes built on So many little eminances each of these small carracters Represent an Embr[a]sure in 3 the prinsiple Incampment Numbers unsertain being Covered by the works and the declivity of the Hill. ¥¥ two Rows of Abbettes accross the point from curtin to curtin. 4 ferry Stairs.” Also written on this map are “References for Vanplanks” that read: “I[.] Forte De La F[  ]tte with Blockhouse and Barbet Battery. 2 American Barbett. 3: two New Flashes by the Brittons. ¥ Abbettes. 4 British Tents about one Regiment. 5 Board Hutts in form of tents. 6 Ferry Stairs.” Heath apparently retained another rendering of this map, docketed “Plan of the Enemies works at VerPlanks & Stony Points—July 1st 1779” (MHi: Heath Papers).

3Heath’s draft manuscript includes a struck-out continuation of this sentence: “he will Inlist in our army if your Excellency should think him worth having.”

Fig. 1. Col. Rufus Putnam’s sketch of British works at Stony Point and Verplanck Point, N.Y. (The George Washington Atlas, 1932, plate 17. Original at Cornell University Library.)

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