George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 17 December 1780

From Major General William Heath

Garrison West Point December 17th 1780

Dear General

I take the liberty to enclose a representation made to me, by Mr Frye Ensign and Paymaster to the 9th Massachusetts Regiment. He has been a faithfull & diligent Officer. I beg leave to submit his case to your Excellencys consideration. It will I believe be agreeable to him to join the Corps of Invalids at Boston, if you think proper1—I am informed that there are one or two other Officers, nearly in the same predicament, as they are not supernumeraries they cannot retire on the benefit of half pay.

Enclosed also are the procedings of the former General Court Martial on the tryal of Joshua Ferris. They were obtained from Major General McDougall; and did not come to my hands untill this morning.2

For some days we have been discharging six of the New Levies per Day from each regiment.3 Their numbers are now very much reduced. Shall we continue to discharge this number daily, untill the whole are gone, which will be soon; or lessen the number; or desist from dischargeing any more untill their times expire.4 I have the honor to be With the greatest respect Your Excellencys Most Obedient Servant

W. Heath

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

1The enclosure was an undated appeal from Ensign Nathaniel Frye to Heath indicating that his loss of hearing had rendered him “unfit for the service of my Country in the Field, and also lays me under many Disadvantages, as to making my way thro’ Life.” Frye wanted “to Retire for a few Months” and see “if propitious Heaven” restored his hearing so he could “Return to Service again.” Otherwise, he desired “Transferrence to the Corps of Invalids at Boston, where” he might “be of some service in the Glorious Cause of our Independence” (DLC:GW).

Nathaniel Frye (1753–1833) became ensign in the 9th Massachusetts Regiment in January 1777 and added the duties of regimental quartermaster that September. Named regimental paymaster in October 1778, he subsequently was promoted to lieutenant and transferred to the 8th Massachusetts Regiment in January 1781. Frye retired from the army in January 1783, worked as a husbandman in Maine, and suffered from total deafness in his later life.

2The enclosed court-martial proceedings for Joshua Ferris have not been identified, but see GW to Heath, 16 Dec., and n.2.

3See GW to Heath, 28 Nov., and notes 1 and 2 to that document.

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