George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 11 August 1779

From Major General William Heath

Mandavilles [Dutchess County, N.Y.]
Augst 11th 1779

Dear General.

I have been honored with your two favors of yesterday, General Parsons went down towards the Sound the last night in order to obtain the best Intelligence from Long Island—Confer with Genls Howe Glover &c. and to direct the proposed attempt on Lloyds Neck if it should from Circumstances appear advisible, I shall from Time to Time acquaint your Excellency on that Head as Intelligence may be Sent to me.1

I have Sent off a Serjeant and four men to apprehend Rifienbarack if to be found.2

I send a Deserter from the Navy, he reports that the French have Drubbed the English in the west Indies.3 I have the honor to be very respectfully your Excellencys most obedient Sert

W. Heath

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1Though he had issued qualified approval for the raid on 10 Aug. (see GW to Heath, that date [first letter]), GW soon canceled this raid for “private motives” (see Heath to GW, 13 Aug., and GW to Robert Howe, 15 Aug.). The raid was deferred until September, when it was successfully undertaken by Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge (see GW to Howe, 11 Sept.).

2Heath’s orders of this date to Sgt. Nehemiah Coy of the 3d Connecticut Regiment read in part: “you are to take the Command of four men, who are detachd for that purpose and with them proceed with all posible Dispatch to Little nine Parteners [N.Y.] takeing with you Henry Nifer as a Guide. a[t] your arrival at the nine Parteners you will if Possible apprehend and bring to this place one John Rifianbarack a Spy and Guide to the British army who is Supposed at this Time to be with his Family at that place—you will take every necessary precaution to effect this Business—you are not to offer or allow the least insult to be Offered Rifienbaracks Family either by word or action, or suffer the least article to be plundered—you will preserve strict order and Discipline during your absence from Camp” (MHi: Heath Papers).

3The French had captured two islands from the British in the West Indies in June and early July, but a subsequent fleet action had been indecisive (see John Jay to GW, 10 Aug., n.1).

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