George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 19 July 1779

From Major General William Heath

Mandevilles [Dutchess County, N.Y.]
July 19. 1779

Dear General

I was honor’d with your favor of yesterday an hour or two Since on my way from Bald hill to this place. I had before order’d Parsons’s Brigade to encamp near Robinsons, Huntingtons near the place where Parsons’s encamp’d before they left this place, Patterson’s between that place and Danforths, Nixons at the Gorge1 of the Mountains.

Glover is not yet arrived. May I be permitted to request that when it does it may be attach’d to Major General Howes Division?2

By intelligence received Since I had the honor to write in the morning, I learn that the Enemys advanced Sentinels & Videttes were posted the last Night on the New Bridge.3 they appear to advance with the greatest Caution.

I think Major Genl Howe was very fortunate in making his retreat at the instant he did. had he remain’d I think he would have been Burgoyned. his intelligence being good he escaped it.4

I have taken measures to obtain intelligence from every quarter on this side the River. Such as I receive shall be transmitted.

I have order’d the light Horse to the left, & am determined to harrass the Enemy if possible. I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect Your Excellency’s Most obed. Servt

W. Heath

LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1For this gorge, see Heath to GW, 1 July, and n.2 to that document.

2The general orders for this date placed Brig. Gen. John Glover’s brigade under Heath’s command. By the end of the month, however, GW placed Glover’s brigade under Maj. Gen. Robert Howe’s command (see GW to Howe, 28 July, and GW to Glover, 29 July).

3Heath may be referring to intelligence contained in letters written to him on 18 July, one from Capt. David Hopkins, and another from Cornet Dade Payton (Peyton), both officers in the 4th Continental Dragoons. The letter from Hopkins, written at Pine’s Bridge, N.Y., reads: “The enemy were encamped last night on Davis’s hill near Tarry town this morning they marched on the post Road towards new bridge—the last I heard of them was that they were within four miles of the Bridge—I shall inform my[self] better of their Situation & Strength.

“This I got from a Man & woman who Saw the enemy near Tarry town—I Sent Mr Paytan on the new bridge Road—their number could not learn nor whether any artillery the Inhabitants Say they are a large army” (DLC:GW).

The letter from Payton, written at Croton Bridge, N.Y., reads: “I have the honour to inform your Excellency the Enemy at this jun⟨c⟩ture lies upon the hill Over the New bridge over Crowton River with their tents pitchd by a Negroe that Came from them we learn their is about 2000 foot and 500 Horse I cannot find out which way they Intend to March tho assoon as they move I Shall know and will inform you by another dragoon” (DLC:GW).

4For the retreat of Howe’s command from Verplanck Point, see his letters to GW of 18 July and this date.

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