George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 3 July 1779

To Major General William Heath

New Windsor July 3: 1779

Dear Sir

I have duly received Your favors of the 1st 2d & the present date. I do not yet know in what light Captain Cole will be considered, whether as a prisoner of War, or a Citizen. I have written to Major Talmadge to inform me of the circumstances of his capture.1 The Deserters to Bedford, I think, had better go to Connecticut. Directions will be given for purchasing their Arms—and as to the sum to be paid for them.

You will represent to Doctor Foster the purveyor—and Doctor Turner the surgeon General, the deficiency of Instruments, Bandages &c. and urge them to supply them as soon as possible.2

Inclosed you will receive the report of a Committee of Officers of the right Wing; in which they enter into a voluntary engagement, not to purchase certain Articles but at a limited price. This has originated with themselves, and though I do not expect much from it; yet as they have entered into the measure—and as its utility and success depend on its being general—I send it to you to take the sense of the Officers under your command.3 The experiment can do no harm and it may do good.4 I am Dr Sir with great regard Yr Most Obedt servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1This letter from GW to Tallmadge has not been found.

2For Heath’s concern over medical supplies, see his letter to GW of 1 July, and n.3 to that document. For Isaac Foster’s controversial management of his medical responsibilities, see Smith, Letters of Delegates, description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends 13:22–23 and 14:197–99; see also Saffron, Cochran, description begins Morris H. Saffron. Surgeon to Washington: Dr. John Cochran, 1730-1807. New York, 1977. description ends 51–52, 67.

3The enclosure was titled “Report of a Committee of Officers appointed to fix the prices of the articles of provision held on the right wing” and dated 30 June (MHi: Heath Papers; see also General Orders, this date, source note, and GW to Stirling, 4 July). For the favorable reply from officers under Heath’s command, see Heath to GW, 10 July (first letter), and n.1 to that document.

4This paragraph is the same as the postscript to GW to Alexander McDougall of this date.

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