George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 28 July 1779

From Major General William Heath

Mandavilles [Dutchess County, N.Y.]
July 28th 1779

Dear General

I do myself the honor to forward a Letter from Genl Glover,1 and take The Liberty to enclose one I have received from Genl Wolcott,2 I also Send two deserters who came in this morning One from the Queens Rangers the other from the Irish Volluntiers, They mention3 the arrival of Lord Cornwallis, without Troops.4

By a Letter from Colo. Armand to Major Genl Howe it appears that the Adjutant of the Regt and fourteen men have deserted to the Enemy5—I fear but little Service will be derived from that Corps if they continue on the Lines as the greatest part of them are deserters from the Enemy. I have the honor to be very respectfully your Excellencys most obedient Servt

W. Heath

P.S. I received Letters from Boston the last evening which mention that the Fleet destined for Ponobscot Sailed the 19th Instant.6


ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1Heath probably is referring to Brig. Gen. John Glover’s letter to GW of 27 July, which has not been found.

2The enclosure from Maj. Gen. Oliver Wolcott, Sr., to Heath has not been identified, but Heath acknowledged that letter when he wrote Wolcott on this date: “I am Just honored with your favor of the 26th Instant and much Obliged by the Intelligence you have Communicated and earnestly request a Continuance as Occurrences Transpire, I have Transmitted your Letter to his Excellency General Washington, Should the Enemy advance to the Eastward I hope timely Succour will be afforded you” (MHi: Heath Papers).

3At this place on his draft manuscript, Heath initially wrote “confirm.” He then struck out that word and wrote “mention” above the line.

4The diary entry for 21 July of a British officer stationed in New York City reads: “The Greyhound Frigate, Captain Dixon, arrived from England, having sailed the 4th of June & brought over Lieutenant General Earl Cornwallis & his Suite—Brigadier General Patterson, Lieutenant Colonel Stewart [Stuart] & other Officers” (Ritchie, “New York Diary,” description begins Carson I. A. Ritchie, ed. “A New York Diary [British army officer’s journal] of the Revolutionary War.” New-York Historical Society Quarterly 50 (1966): 221–80, 401–46. description ends 429).

5A struck-out portion of his draft manuscript indicates that Heath’s initial inclination was to enclose this unidentified letter from Colonel Armand to Maj. Gen. Robert Howe.

Lt. Heinrich Carl Philipp von Feilitzsch, an Anspach officer in camp near Philipse Manor, wrote a diary entry for 26 July: “Today one officer and fourteen privates, deserters from Colonel Armand’s Corps, arrived. They were all Germans and part of them had been brought to Boston in ships and part had been captured with Burgoyne” (Burgoyne, Diaries of two Ansbach Jaegers, description begins Bruce E. Burgoyne, ed. and trans. Diaries of two Ansbach Jaegers: Lieutenant Heinrich Carl Philipp von Feilitzsch and Lieutenant Christian Friedrich Bartholomai. Bowie, Md., 1997. description ends 62; see also Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries, description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends 201).

6Heath is referring to letters that have not been identified. Massachusetts officials had organized an American expedition to reduce Fort George on Penobscot Bay. The British garrison held out until a formidable relief squadron arrived on 13 August. That squadron wrecked the American vessels and scattered the troops. For details of this disastrous expedition, which likely were among the first reports to reach GW, see Horatio Gates to GW, 6 Sept. (MHi: Gates Papers).

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