George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 24 July 1779

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters [West Point] July 24th 1779

Dear sir,

Your favor of this morning inclosing a letter from Captain Hopkins I have just received.1

The present situation of the enemy and our ignorance of their designs induces me again to express my anxiety that you should use your utmost exertions to obtain a knowledge of their plan—I know of no means so effectual as that of employing a faithful inhabitant—if you can meet with such a one—by giving the necessary instructions in this way good intelligence may be had.

You will be pleased to order Col., Moylan to collect his horse & join Genl Glover under whose command he will be for the present.2 I am Dr Sir Yr Most Obet, servant

Go: Washington

LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW signed the cover of the LS.

1The enclosure apparently was a copy of a letter of this date from Capt. David Hopkins to Heath’s aide-de-camp Thomas Cartwright, written at Crompond, N.Y., reading in part: “I am much Surprized at the information of a complaint being lodged against me—if you will take my word of honour, I do not know what it can be founded on—there was a private or personal disgust betwen us, but nothing that can come under the cognizance of a Court Martial—Mr Starr, that was his Signature in a note he wrote me has endeavoured to injure my character as an Officer and a Gentleman for which I am bound to call him to a severe account—Please to inform the General that it is in my power to make it clear to him, that it has been very wrongly represented to him, on the contrary my conduct while at Danbury as an Officer was as justifiable as any part has been this campaign—I will wait on him tomorrow & explain the matter to him.

“I am much obliged to you my friend for the good opinion you entertain of me and am happy that I can in some measure Support it—in this instance I am Shure I am not reprehensible” (MHi: Heath Papers).

These allegations against Hopkins may have been related to his eventual court-martial on the charge of repeatedly selling public horses for his own gain. For his acquittal, see General Orders, 29 Aug. 1780.

2For Heath’s fulfillment of GW’s order, see GW to Stephen Moylan, this date, and n.1 to that document.

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