George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 17 August 1780

From Major General William Heath

New Port August 17th 1780

Dear General

The British Fleet under the Command of Admiral Arbuthnot, which was lately at Anchor in Gardners Bay, came to sail the day before yesterday, and yesterday we are informed were off New London.1 Some Deserters lately from the Fleet, report that Sir Henry Clinton has yet designs against the French Fleet & Army here, and that he will soon make an attempt with 13000 Land Forces; little credit is given to this Report.2 I believe Admiral Arbuthnot from the superiority of his Fleet wishes to come this way, and has been & still is urgeing it; but that Sir Henry Clinton is very diffident about it.3 The State of Rhode Island have not raised their Regiment of three months Militia.4 I have the honor to be With the greatest Respect Your Excellencys Most Obedient Servant

W. Heath

LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers. GW replied to Heath on 21 August.

1For a similar report of British ship movements, see Nathaniel Shaw to GW, 13 Aug., and n.2 to that document; see also Shaw to GW, 18 August.

2This erroneous report apparently was received from Shaw at New London, Conn. (see Shaw to GW, 13 Aug.).

3For this discord between the two British commanders, see GW to Rochambeau, 27 July (second letter), n.3.

4For the call for this militia, see Circular to the States, 2 and 30 June. On 16 Aug., Heath had written Rhode Island governor William Greene to urge him to fill the regiment immediately, as GW desired it held in readiness to march for the army on short notice (R-Ar; see also GW to Heath, 3 Aug., postscript).

Index Entries