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 to acknowlege your favor of this day with its inclosure to your address from Gen: Nixon.1

The apprehending of Rissimbarack is worth a little trouble. I have therefore sent back, deserter, Nifer; and would recommend the using him as a pilot to the place he has pointed out as Rissimbarack’s rissidence. You may send with him three or four trusty soldiers, and a sergeant, under proper instructions. They should be particularly directed to avoid insulting Rissimbarack’s family, or daring to plunder any thing whatsoever.2 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.

1No letter of this date from Heath to GW on the subject of this letter has been found.

2Although it is uncertain what letter Heath enclosed with this letter, Brig. Gen. John Nixon sent a letter to Heath, dated 10 Aug. at “Warren’s House,” addressing the case of John Risimbarak and Henry Nifer: “I beg leave to present you with one Henry Nifer an Inhabitant in Livingston’s Mannor, who deserted from Col. Fanning’s Regt at Verplanks Point last Evening, and came to me this Morning Who gives the following acct, viz. That last June was twelve Month he was persuaded off to the Enemy by John Risimbarak of little Nine Partners [N.Y.], that He has served as a Pionere & Risimbarak as a Guide who has been into the Country from Time to Time to plunder and bring in Horses &c—He likewise informs me that Risimbarak told him Yesterday that He intended to set out last Night for the little Nine Partners to visit his Family (which has been his usual Practice) and return agn to the Enemy.

“He also informs that six Negros were carried into the Enemy on Verplanks Point, by two White Men, last Week, one of whom was sold to Q. Master [George] Thomas of Col: Fannings’ Regt for 50 Guineas the others being sold the two Men returned into the Country—supposed to be in quest of more.

“I am informed by another Deserter that one Jenkins was one of the Men that carried the Negros in.

“Nifer says if He could have a small Party he shd be willing to go in serch of Risimbarak and thinks he could find him, as he is well acquainted with that Part of the Country where he lives.

“John Pell likewise came in this Morning from the same Place, who belonged to Robertsons’ Core and informs that He supposes the Number of the Enemy to be 8 or 900, on the Point—Consisting of the 33d Regt—A Detachment from the 78th Regt—Fannings & Robertsons Cores—Also says that Women frequently go on the Point & return—Likewise that 5 or 6 Negros were piloted on to the Point by two White Men: but dont know who they were, nor how the Negros were disposed off” (MHi: Heath Papers).

For Heath’s orders to the party sent to apprehend John Rissimbarack, see Heath to GW, 11 Aug., n.2.

Index Entries