George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 4 August 1780

From Major General William Heath

New Port. August 4th 1780

Dear General

Since I had the honor last to write your Excellency I have been closely employed in forming the Militia who have been comeing to our Aid into Brigades and makeing other necessary arrangments. Two thousand men have been & still are advanced near this Town about 1500 at Butts hill and the remainder at Howlands and Bristol Ferry perhaps a greater spirit never was discovered than has been on the present occassion. The Militia of this State & that of the County of Bristol in the State of Massachusetts with six other Regiments from that State have come in—The extreme busy Season the scarcity of provissions and probability that Sir Henry Clinton will not come this way has induced General Count De Rochambeau to consent that the Militia return home except 3,500 in which number is to be included Colo. Greens Regiment & the three months men from Massachusetts. Two thousand of these are to be posted between Quaker Hill and the Town Black Point &c.1 The remainder at Butts Hill and the communication with the main. The rest I shall discharge immediately. Nothing remarkable has transpired since I had the honor last to write you.2 General Count Rochambeau has some intelligence from the Hon: Mr Cushing of Boston of a Fleet haveing been lately seen at Sea which he thinks may probably be the second Divission of the French. He will transmit the intelligence.3 I take the liberty to inclose a letter I have just received from Colo. Allan at Machias.4 I have the honor to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellencys most Obedt Servt

W. Heath

LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers. Heath dated the draft 5 August. GW replied to Heath on 8 August.

1Black Point, on the northeast coast of Aquidneck Island, was the name for a small point of land in Portsmouth jutting into the Sakonnet River about one-half mile southeast of Butts Hill and ten miles northeast of the town of Newport.

4Part of the enclosed letter from John Allan, superintendent of the eastern Indian department, to Heath, dated 15 June, contained intelligence regarding the defenses of Halifax, Nova Scotia (DLC:GW). GW incorporated an extract from Allan’s letter in an undated memorandum he wrote after receiving Heath’s letter (which he acknowledged on 8 Aug.). GW docketed the memorandum “Extracts respectg the Force at, & situation of Hallifax.” The extract regarding Allan’s letter reads: “Also gives a description of the Fortifications of Hallifax. & makes the force of the Enemy as follows—viz.[:] Argyles Regt 1100 [in] 2 Battns[;] Hessians 150 [in] 3 Compys[;] Orange Rangrs 400 [in] 1 Battn[; Maj. Timothy] Hurleheys [Hierlihy’s companies] 200[in 1 Battn; Royal Highland] Emegrants 100 [in] 4 Compies[;] R[oyal] Fen[cibl]e Amer[ica]ns 30[;] Govr [Francis] Legges Regt 100 [in] 1 Battn[;] Artillery 80[; total:] 2160. sundry small Posts 280 [total:] 2440 (AD, DLC:GW; filed with 15 June 1780 documents). For other portions of the memorandum, dated 29 and 31 May, see James Bowdoin to GW, 29 May, n.5, and 31 May, source note; and Heath to GW, 31 May, source note.

Index Entries