George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 26 July 1780

From Major General William Heath

New Port. July 26th 1780

Dear General

By a Variety of Intelligence from various Quarters (all which agree) the Enemy intend to make an Attempt on the Fleet and Army of our Great and good Ally at this place I have Called for the neighbouring militia of Massachusetts, and the Whole of this State, Have also requested the Council of Massachusetts to send all the three months militia this Way except those of the Counties of Hampshire & Berkshire1 Whilst these are Collecting with the Advise of the marquiss I shall call on Governor Trumbull to send One Thousand militia from the nearest Towns of Connecticut, to Rendezvous at Greenwich.2 I have the Honor to be with the Greatest respect Your Excellencys most Obedt Servt

W. Heath

P.S. The Fleet off the harbour from their first appearanc have kept nearly the Same Station, to the Eastward of Block Island.


LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers. The postscript, which is in Heath’s writing, appears only on the LS. GW replied to Heath on 31 July.

1In his letter of this date to Massachusetts council president James Bowdoin, Heath called for the three additional militia regiments held in readiness by the council and for the three-months militia designated to reinforce the Continental army, except the men from the counties of Hampshire and Berkshire (MHi: Heath Papers). Bowdoin’s reply, dated 27 July, complying with Heath’s request is in MHi: Heath Papers. For the original call for the three-months militia, see Circular to the States, 2 and 30 June.

In his letter to Rhode Island governor William Greene, also of this date, Heath requested that he deploy the whole militia of the state “with the Utmost dispatch” (MHi: Heath Papers). For Greene’s reply of 27 July, 9:00 P.M., complying with Heath’s request, see Bartlett, R.I. Records description begins John Russell Bartlett, ed. Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in New England. 10 vols. Providence, 1856–65. description ends , 9:210.

2On this date, Heath requested that Connecticut governor Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., order 1,000 of his state’s “nearest militia to rendezvous with all Possible dispatch” at Greenwich, Conn. (MHi: Heath Papers). The Connecticut council acted on Heath’s request on 27 July (see Conn. Public Records description begins The Public Records of the State of Connecticut . . . with the Journal of the Council of Safety . . . and an Appendix. 18 vols. to date. Hartford, 1894–. description ends , 3:138–39; see also Trumbull to Heath, that date, MHi: Heath Papers).

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