George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 27 October 1779

To Major General William Heath

Head qrs West point 27th Octr 1779

Dear Sir

I am just now informed that the Enemy landed yesterday Morning at Amboy (said to be 5000) and were advancing towards Brunswic.1 Their design is not yet known, but a forage or an attempt to interrupt the communication from the southward, is most probable. The Virginia division and the Light Infantry have in consequence, moved from the Neighbourhood of Kackeat, lower down. Till we are assured of the Enemy’s views, I think it most adviseable to draw our force in this quarter, together, and I have therefore requested General Howe by the inclosed (which be pleased to seal & forward) to move up & join You near peck’s Kill.2

I had determined that the Work upon Stony point should be executed by the Virginia Troops & the Light Infantry; but as they have left that Neighbourhood, I must request You to send a party over to carry on the Work, at least till the Virginians have resumed their Station—or some Other Troops shall have taken up their ground.3 Be pleased to direct Your quarter Master to provide Tools necessary for the purpose, if he has not already got them. I am Dr Sir with great regard Yr Most Obedt sert

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For the receipt of this intelligence, which proved to be Lt. Col. John Graves Simcoe’s raid into New Jersey, see Anthony Wayne to GW, and GW to Wayne, both this date; see also GW to George Clinton, 29 Oct., and n.5.

2GW is referring to his letter of this date to Maj. Gen. Robert Howe written at West Point. A draft of that letter reads: “I have this moment recd advice that the enemy landed yesterday in considerable force at Amboy, this has occasioned the Virginia Division and Light Infantry to move from Kakeate lower down the Country. Under present circumstances I therefore think it advisable for you to move up and join the Connecticut Division under the command of Major Genl Heath, who will march from hence this morning and encamp in the neighbourhood of Peckskill—You will leave light parties advanced at a proper distance in your front” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). Howe’s division joined “the Connecticut line, and encamped with them” on 29 Oct. (Wilson, Health’s Memoirs, 235).

3For Heath’s compliance with this order, see his letter to GW of 31 October.

Index Entries