George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 26 November 1780

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters Passaic Falls 26th Novemr 1780

Dear Sir

I have recd your favors of the 18th and 21st.1 When the Army gets together and settled in their Winter Quarters, I intend to make some general Regulations respecting the troops receiving Flour or Bread, in the mean time, they may continue to draw in the manner that they have been accustomed to do.

You will be pleased to order the New York line to the same position which that of New Hampshire has taken, where they are to Hut adjoining to them. One of the Regiments moving more to the left, so as to occupy the Ground near Robinson’s Mills, which will serve to cover the other pass of the Mountain.2

Hazens Regt is to move to Fishkill, where it will lay this Winter and do the duties at that post.3

The Massachusetts and Connecticut lines will march the moment the Weather will permit, and as the Jersey line is to take post this Winter in the Neighbourhood of Pompton—you will put them under marching orders, that they may be ready to come down to King’s ferry upon the day which the Massachusetts troops will arrive there, and take advantage of their returning Waggons to transport their Baggage.4 You shall be informed on what day that will be.5 I am with great Esteem Dear Sir Your most obt Servant

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Heath replied to GW on 27 November.

2Heath wrote GW from West Point on 28 Nov.: “In Obedience to your orders of the 26th instant, I have ordered the new York Regiments to move to the east side of Hudsons river and Hutt adjoining to the New Hampshire regiments, with one regiment near Robinson’s Mills. The New York Regiments have just finished their Hutts, at the place I mentioned to your Excellency in mine of the 20th Ulto. Some of the Officers apprehend that it might not occur to your mind that those Troops were already hutted, that if it had possibly you would not have ordered them to another place to build new Hutts; This circumstance and another which is a matter of delicacy with me viz.—that the Hutts built by the York regiments will probably be occupied, if they remove, by some of the Massachusetts regiments, constrain me to represent the case fully to your Excellency. The Troops are under marching orders, & will act conformable to your pleasure the moment it is known. I think under these circumstances your Excellency will excuse, my makeing this representation for the reasons I have hinted” (LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers; see also Heath to GW, 20 Oct.; GW to Heath, 28 Nov.; and n.5 below). Heath struck out the closing words of his draft: “as uneasiness would arise which may Injure the Service.” GW acknowledged this letter when he wrote Heath on 8 December.

3John Keese, assistant deputy quartermaster general, wrote Heath from Fishkill, N.Y., on 29 Nov.: “I will do whatever I can for Col. Hazen’s Regt you may rely, Sir; but as the Barracks are all occupied; they will be Obliged to hut. Tools are provided for the purpose.

“A few Boards are just come from Albany; directed, by Col. Hughes for Head quarters, at New Windsor, where Guard Houses, Stables &c. are Ordered to be immediately built. …

“I told you, Sir, a few Days ago, that I wou’d send some of the first that came down; but, as Genl Washington will be, shortly, at New Windsor, and these Boards are expressly Ordered there; I cannot send them to West Point, unless you give positive directions” (MHi: Heath Papers).

4Heath wrote Col. Israel Shreve from headquarters at West Point on 29 Nov.: “Having forwarded the Baggage of the Jersey Brigade by water to Kings Ferry there to be loaded on the returning Waggons that bring forward the Baggage of the Massachusetts Troops, you will proceed with the Brigade through the Clove to Pompton Where you will receive further Orders, Wishing you good winter Quarters” (MHi: Heath Papers; see also General Orders, this date, n.3; GW to Samuel Huntington, 28 Nov., and n.12; and Shreve to GW, 4 Dec.).

5GW again wrote Heath from headquarters at Passaic Falls on Monday, 27 Nov.: “The Connecticut and Massachusetts troops will march from hence tomorrow and reach King’s Ferry on Wednesday—at which time the Jersey troops will meet them there, and make use of their Waggons as far as Pompton, where they will halt. The Commanding Officer will receive particular directions there respecting the position which he is to take” (LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also Heath to GW, 3 Dec., and n.4 above).

GW also wrote Maj. Gen. Robert Howe from headquarters at Passaic Falls on 27 Nov.: “You will perceive by the order of March that you are to take the direction of the column which marches to Kings ferry—You will proceed there accordingly—in the manner prescribed—and when you arrive send your baggage up by water, marching the troops by land—to their respective cantonments the Connecticut line crossing the ferry will proceed up the East side of the River, the Massachusettes line will proceed up the West side of the river to West Point. General Heath will designate the particular distribution” (Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

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