George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Philip Burr Bradley, 14 November 1780

To Colonel Philip Burr Bradley

[Passaic Falls, 14 Nov. 1780]


You are to take the charge of the Invalids and such other Detachments of the Connecticut Line, as were mentioned in the General Orders of the 13th1 as also of such of the Baggage as shall be sent from thence, to the Winter Quarters of the Troops: and proceed to King’s Ferry, keeping the Baggage in front of the Line of march, and causing the strictest regularity and order to be observed in it.2

You will send forward an Officer to have Boats provided ready at Kings Ferry to receive and transport the Baggage up the River, that the Waggons may be dismissed, and sent back without delay.

The Troops are to cross the River at Kings Ferry, and move on the east side to the vicinity of West Point, where you will receive Major Genl Heath’s further Instructions respecting their disposition, having previously given information to him of the time when you shall arrive.3

You will be pleased to pay the utmost attention, to prevent the destruction of fences, or violation of any other property of the Inhabitants on the march; as well as to the accomodation of the Troops under your Command. Given at Head Quarters Passaic Falls this 14th Day of Novr 1780

Go: Washington

LS, in David Humphreys’s writing, Washington State Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, Seattle; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW’s aide-de-camp David Humphreys added an “N.B.” at the end of the draft: “The same Instructions were given to Major Wm H. Ballard of the Massachusetts Line (mutatis Mutandis) except the Paragraph included in parenthesis—instead of which ‘If On your arrival at Kings Ferry, there shall not be a sufficiency of Boats to transport the Troops to West Point you will March them by the route of Storms’s Clements’s & Fort Montgomery; in either case you will apply to Major Genl Heath for his Orders respecting their disposition.’” The modification applied to the third paragraph of the LS. The letter sent Maj. William Hudson Ballard has not been found.

2Lt. William S. Pennington of the 2d Continental Artillery Regiment wrote in his diary entry for 16 Nov.: “This day and yesterday the sick and weakly men, and those wanting clothing, marched with the baggage that could be spared to the ground where our winter-quarters will be” (Pennington, “Diary,” description begins A. C. M. Pennington, contributor. “Diary of William S. Pennington, of New Jersey, 1780–1781.” Journal of the Military Service Institution of the United States 4 (1883): 314–29. description ends 324; see also GW to William Heath, 12 Nov.). Capt. Henry Sewall of the 12th Massachusetts Regiment wrote in his diary entry for the same date: “Sent off the invalids and men destitute of clothes under proper officers, from the brigade to winter quarters (Maine Farmer [Augusta], 12 Oct. 1872; see also GW’s first letter to Heath, 16 Nov.).

3Bradley wrote Maj. Gen. William Heath from King’s Ferry, N.Y., on 18 Nov.: “I have this moment arrived at this place with about four hundred men from the Connecticut Line: I am ordered by His Excellency to give you the earliest information of my arrival: To send my Baggage up the River by water, send all the Waggons back, and march the Detachment to the vicinity of West point and there receive further instructions from you. I expect to be at the [Continental] Village tomorrow by 12 OClock” (MHi: Heath Papers).

Heath replied to Bradley from West Point on 19 Nov.: “I would have all the Sick, Under your Command with one Capt. one Subaltern and Ten of the able bodied men go on to the Barracks at Fishkill they may proceed by Land or water as you may think most convenient, their Baggage had best go by water, The remainder of your Detachmt both the ablebodied and Invalids through want of Clothing will march to and occupy a part of the Hutts built the last year by Genl Glovers Brigade near Budds, or pitch their Tents in the woods, between those Hutts and Danforths as upon a view of the Hutts you may Judge most expedient” (MHi: Heath Papers). Heath later wrote in his memoirs for 19 Nov. that “the invalids of the Massachusetts and Connecticut lines, and a detachment of able-bodied men, the whole about 1000, arrived at West Point, from the main army” (Wilson, Heath’s Memoirs description begins Rufus Rockwell Wilson, ed. Heath’s Memoirs of the American War. 1798. Reprint. New York, 1904. description ends , 278). French major general Chastellux presumably described these troops in his journal entry for 21 Nov. when he came across “several hundred invalid soldiers” deemed so because they “were not covered, even with rags; but their assured bearing and their arms in good order seemed to cover their nakedness, and to show only their courage and their patience” (Chastellux, Travels in North America description begins Marquis de Chastellux. Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781 and 1782. Translated and edited by Howard C. Rice, Jr. 2 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1963. description ends , 1:88–89).

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