George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 6 September 1780

From Major General William Heath

Newport September 6. 1780

Dear General—

I am just honored with yours of the 2d Instant—I address’d your Excellency on the 22d Ultimo, and requested Your direction in Several instances therein mentioned. in Yours of the 2d you are pleased to acknowlege the Receipt of mine of the 25th and 28th Ultimo, but make no mention of that of the 22d—which leaves me at uncertainty whether my letter reached you or not, or whether an answer is on the road by the post. If the Letter reached you and an answer has Not been made, I request your Excellency would favor me with one as Soon as may be agreable—in particular respecting a pardon for the Culprits who are under Sentence of death and the Arms for Colonel Green’s regiment.1

I have this day received a Letter from Major Talmadge containing Some intelligence,2 and another from Colo. Ledyard. the latter your Excellency will find enclosed.3 I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, Your Excellencys Most obedt servt

W. Heath

P.S. We have not heard of the Brittish Fleet Since they Sail’d from Martha’s Vineyard.4

LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

3The enclosure from Lt. Col. William Ledyard to Heath, written at New London, Conn., on 5 Sept., provided intelligence from privateer captain Amaziah Jocelin on French rear admiral Guichen’s fleet sailing from West Indian waters (DLC:GW; see also The Connecticut Journal [New Haven], 14 Sept. 1780).

British admiral George Rodney’s fleet came from the West Indies to near New York City on 13 Sept. intending to counter Guichen’s warships (see David Forman to GW, 14 Sept., n.1). By that date, GW knew that Guichen had aborted an attack on Jamaica and that his fleet had sailed from Saint Domingue (see Samuel Huntington to GW, 7 Aug., n.1, and GW’s second letter to Rochambeau, 13 Sept., n.1). Not knowing that Guichen’s fleet headed for Europe, GW planned erroneous strategy with Lieutenant General Rochambeau and Rear Admiral Ternay (see The Hartford Conference, 20–22 Sept., editorial note, and Rochambeau to GW, 25 Sept.).

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