George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 10 August 1779

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters West-point 10th August 1779

Dear sir

I have just now received your two favors of this date, inclosing General Parson’s letter on the detention of Leach.

The propriety of the proposed attempt on Lloyds neck, can be best determined by those who are nearer the ground than I am, and whose inquiries may have been more particular, as to the exact situation and strength of the enemy, in its vicinity. If you find a favorable report, I have no objection to the undertaking. I cannot however consent to a Brigadier General’s taking the command of so small a party as is to be employed; but besides the military impropriety I should not like to hazard his loss for the prospect of taking 25 or 30 men.1

Respecting the distribution of the recruits from the State of Connecticut—you will be pleased to give orders for such a proportion of them to be applied to each company or regiment, as to make each of the same strength, or as nearly so as possible.2

It appears to me that Leach should be sent into the enemy as we have some time since received an equivalent—and as the faith of the State has been pledged for his exchange, you may therefore order him to their lines as soon as you think proper.3 I am Dr sir your most hble servt

Go: Washington

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

1For Brig. Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons’s proposal for this raid and GW’s countermanding of the operation two days after issuing this authorization, see Heath to GW, this date (first letter), and n.2 to that document.

2On this date Heath wrote to GW from Mandeville’s in Dutchess County, N.Y.: “about a Dozen recruits from the State of Connecticut are arrived in Camp, others are Soon expected, I request your Excellency direction how they shall be distributed to the Several regiments” (ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers).

3On 13 Aug., Heath issued a pass to Lt. Hezekiah Rogers of the 5th Connecticut Regiment “to proceed with a Flag and Drum to the nearest out Lines of the Enemy and there deliver Ebenezer Leach a Prisoner of war taken near the Sound, and Some time Since Exchanged for one [ ] an Inhabitant of the State of Connecticut who has been Sent out” (MHi: Heath Papers). Two names, “Saml Webb” and “David Bushnell,” are lined out at the point of the blank space; both were named by the Connecticut legislature as persons to be exchanged (see Heath’s first letter to GW of this date, n.3).

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