George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 3 September 1779

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters West-point 3d Septr 1779.

Dr Sir

I am just now favored with your letter of to-day with its inclosures which I return.

I do not see that any further measures can be taken on your part, to1 apprehend those prisoners who have escaped, or to prevent their gaining the enemy’s lines.

It will be necessary on this occasion to order the person who had the principal charge of the provost, provided he2 is an officer under arrest—if a sergeant he must be confined and tryed, for suffering the escape—you will be pleased therefore to give the proper orders for this purpose.3 I am D. Sir your most obt sert

Go: Washington

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

1The draft, written by GW’s assistant secretary James McHenry, has “detect the culprits” at this point, and it does not have the next six words.

2McHenry mistakenly wrote “his.” On the draft, he wrote “he.”

3A letter of this date from Heath to Lt. Col. Ezra Badlam, written at Mandeville’s in Dutchess County, N.Y., reads in part: “If a Commissioned Officer had the principal Charge of the Provost at the Time the Prisoners made their escape you will please to order him in Arrest, if it was a non Commissioned officer Confine him immediately and Send him to this place in order to his being brought to Tryal” (MHi: Heath Papers).

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