George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 10 December 1780

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters New Windsor 10th Decemr 1780

Dear Sir

I am favd with yours of the 9th. From the representation made by General Clinton and Colo. Hay of the supply of Meat in the Northern department, I do not think there will be any need of sending the 100 Barrels of salt Beef to Albany. You will endeavour to have it distributed in the different Works.1

Under present circumstances, we should rather increase than diminish the discharge of the Levies, and such of the three years Men whose times are nearly out, and who are unfit for duty for want of Cloathes had better be discharged than new cloathed out of our slender Stock.

If our Magazine of provision was ample, it would make no great odds whether the Officers drew their extra Rations upon the issuing days, or once or twice a Month—But by letting them lay, they may perhaps demand their due Bills at times when we are particularly distressed. I therefore think they had best draw regularly, or not let them lay more than a week behind hand.

I have no objection to the State Cloathiers delivering out to the troops what Articles they have upon hand, under this strict injunction, that they, immediately after the Issue, make returns to the Cloathier General of the Quantity delivered. If they do not do this, they will not be allowed to draw any thing from the public store when the general Issue is made.

I gave you my sentiments the day before yesterday upon the manner of Colo. Hazen arresting Majr Reid. He ought, I think, either to go into the trial immediately, or withdraw the Arrest untill he can come to a certainty of the time when his proofs will be ready. He may otherwise keep him the whole Winter in confinement.2

At this season, Beef sufficient for a Week may be safely killed and carried on to the Point. I do not think the River will ever remain in an impassable state more than that time—As to Flour, we can only hope for a better supply.3 I am Dear Sir Yr most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW signed the cover of the LS, which was addressed to Heath at West Point.

1See Heath to GW, 9 Dec., and n.10.

2GW did not mention Col. Moses Hazen’s charges against Lt. Col. James Randolph Reid when he wrote Heath on 8 Dec.; he possibly wrote a second letter to Heath on that date that has not been found (see also Reid to GW, 7 Dec., and n.3 to that document).

3Heath replied to GW from West Point on 11 Dec.: “The last evening I was honored with yours of yesterday Shall attend to its Injunctions.

“a quantity of Flour has Just arrived which has releived us from great distress” (ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers; see also the source note with the document referenced at n.1 above).

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