George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 19 December 1780

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters New Windsor Decr 19th 1780

Dear Sir

I am favored with Yours of the 17th and 18th Inst.1

I am not sufficiently informed of the mode of transferring to the Corps of Invalids to give a definitive Answer; but as Mr Frye is represented as a good Officer, I have no objection to his having leave of absence for the recovery of his health.2

If the Levies who remain, are well cloathed, and capable of duty, it may be well, to retain them while the River continues open & their services useful—otherwise to discharge them in the same manner as heretofore.

When the Officer with the Boats arrives at Murderer’s Creek, he may report to the Quarter Master General, who will give directions for their being laid up.

I think it reasonable that the two recovered Prisoners you Mention, should be exchanged for those proposed; which may ac[cor]dingly be done.

The Quarter Master General will send Some Boards immediately, to finish the place for the reception of the Meat which is to be salted in bulk: and I have to request that very particular attention may be paid to the matter; lest the Meat should be damaged or totally spoiled by the uncommon warmth of the season.3

I should also be obliged to you, if you will procure from Major Darby, or some other person acquainted with the construction of Boats, a written Description of such Flat-bottomed Boats as are most convenient to be transported on Carriages—it should be so intelligible as to be perfectly understood by Boat Builders, as it is designed for a Model to construct a number upon, in Virginia—And will be forwarded to Governor Jefferson at his particular request. In the construction two things are to govern—convenience of the Men—and the transportation of the Boats on Wheels. Major Darby, (under whose care the Boats were at Passaic) had an opportunity to form his judgement on both these points, and recommended a particular kind.4 I am Dear Sir With very great regard Your Most Obedt Humble Servant

Go: Washington

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

2Lt. Nathaniel Frye later received a letter from Heath written at West Point on 17 April 1781 indicating his “leave of absence from his Corps to endeavour the recovery of his hearing, He is to draw his rations & Provisions during his absence, from Such Issuing Commissary as may be most Convenient, who is hereby desired to Issue to him accordingly” (DNA: RG 15, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800–1900).

4GW wrote the previous two sentences on the draft.

Heath replied to GW on 20 Dec.; see also Thomas Jefferson to GW, 26 Nov., and n.6, and GW to Jefferson, 9 Dec., postscript.

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