George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 21 October 1780

From Major General William Heath

West point October 21. 1780

Dear General.

I have just received intelligence from Major Delavan and Colonel Drake that they have received information from below that the Enemy intend to make an excursion this night or tomorrow, and sweep off the Stock between Pines bridge and the new bridge1—that they (the Enemy) have procured a number of Horses—that about five or six hundred Horse and Infantry mounted are to Cross Pines bridge, take a Circuit and return by the new bridge where a body of Infantry are to receive and cover them if necessary.

I have written to Lieutenant Colonel Jameson to move towards Pines Bridge and have ordered Colonel Hazen with about five hundred men to move towards the Same place, but not to pass Croton River.2 Should they come up so high I hope they will pay for their temerity. I have cautioned the Several advanced posts to Keep a sharp look out.3 I have the honor to be With the greatest respect Your Excellencys Most obedient Servt

W. Heath

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

1For these bridges over the Croton River, see GW to Charles Scott, 25 Sept. 1778, n.3.

2See Heath to Moses Hazen, and to John Jameson, both this date (MHi: Heath Papers; see also Wilson, Heath’s Memoirs description begins Rufus Rockwell Wilson, ed. Heath’s Memoirs of the American War. 1798. Reprint. New York, 1904. description ends , 273).

3See Heath to James Livingston, this date (MHi: Heath Papers).

GW replied to Heath from headquarters at Preakness on 22 Oct.: “I have received your favor of yesterday. Should the enemy put their design into execution, I hope the troops under Colo. Hazen will be in readiness to give them a proper reception.

“Yours of the 19th is come to hand. I will consider the Contents and give an answer in my next. I am much hurried Just now in dispatching Genl Greene” (LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). GW next wrote Heath on 23 Oct., but see his letter to Heath on 24 October. GW had selected Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene to command the southern department (see GW to Greene, 14 Oct.).

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