George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 14 October 1780

To Major General William Heath

Head Qrs near passaick Falls Oct. 14th 1780

Dr Sir

In my Letter of the 26th Ulto, by which I requested You to rejoin the Army, I desired that You would come Yourself to Head quarters. I am now to request that You will proceed to West point and take upon you the command of that post and its Dependencies. Major General Greene, who is at present there, will either communicate to You himself or leave with General McDougal to be transferred, the Instructions he received respecting the post, to which You will be pleased to attend. If this should not find You at West point, it is my wish that You should arrive there, as soon as circumstances will possibly admit; and I hope there will be nothing to delay it. I am Dr Sir With great regard & esteem Yr Most Obedt st

Go: Washington

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

Uncertainties regarding Heath’s movements caused GW to write another version of this letter to Heath without the final sentence before the closing (LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also GW to Nathanael Greene, this date). GW presumably enclosed the variant LS when he wrote Maj. Gen. Alexander McDougall from headquarters near Preakness on this date: “Some circumstances have taken place, by which General Greene will have a different command from the one he now holds, and General Heath will command at West-Point. If he should not have arrived already, from the Eastward, I expect he will certainly be there in the course of a few days, and request in the mean time that you will take charge of the Post. The inclosed Letter you will be pleased to retain till he arrives. I have requested General Greene in case General Heath is still at the Eastward, to communicate to you the Instructions he received respecting the Post, which you will observe and transfer when he comes. I have nothing new to inform you of” (LS, in David Humphreys’s writing, PPRF; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

Heath replied to GW from West Point on 16 Oct.: “I arrived at Mr Mandeville’s the last Evening, intended this day to have continued my Journey for Head quarters; but crossing over to this place this morning to speak with General Greene, had the honor to receive your Excellency’s Commands of the 14th instant, to which I shall endeavor to pay strict attention” (LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers).

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