George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 30 July 1779

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters [West Point] July 30th 1779

Dr Sir,

I have received your letter of this day—Capt. Hopkins conduct really deserves applause and shows a spirit of enterprise that does him honour—I beg you, in your next, to present my thanks to him.1

In what, I said to Col. Harrison respecting a work to be erected in the gorge of the mountains I did not mean to confine you to any particular spot; but to leave it to you to choose the most advantageous— My idea is to have some place occupied, which will best command the road, to be defended by musketry, to which the troops stationed in that quarter may have recourse on a sudden emergency and be secured from insult, in case of an attempt to surprise them, by a superior number. This will be so far an advantage to us and can be of little service to the enemy. Tis not intended to oppose a serious movement in force. I am Dr Sir Your most Obedt Servant

Go: Washington

I shall be glad of the favour of your company and that of the Gentlemen of your family tomorrow at dinner.2

LS, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers.

1In response to GW’s request, Heath wrote Capt. David Hopkins from Mandeville’s (Dutchess County, N.Y.) on 31 July: “after I wrote you on yesterday I had the honor to receive a Letter from His Excellency General Washington to whom I had represented your Conduct in the affair of the morning. The following is paragraph of His Letter ‘Capt. Hopkins Conduct really deserves applause and shows a Spirit of Enterprise that does him honour I beg you in your next to present my thanks to him’ I do therefore my Dear Sir by virtue of the foregoing Present you the Thanks of the Illustrious Commander in Chief of the American Army for your gallant behaviour in the action of yesterday morning with A Body of the Enemy, Cavalry and Infantry near Youngs” (MHi: Heath Papers). For Heath’s letter to Hopkins of 30 July, see Heath to GW, this date, n.2.

2In his reply to GW on 31 July, Heath declined this dinner invitation because of a commitment to complete the arrangement of the Massachusetts line.

Index Entries