George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 20 December 1780

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters New Windsor Decr 20. 1780

Dear Sir

I am extremely unhappy1 that our want of Magazines, and precarious mode of supply, subject us, to such repeated inconveniences and distresses; but hope the flour from Ringwood or Red hook will arrive soon, to give at least a temporary releif.2

By the general Return of the Issues, I observe the number of Rations to be much greater than I apprehended, & that they do not diminish in the proportion, I expected, from discharging the Levies:3 I wish you therefore to have a critical examination made into the Matter; that from a comparative view of the number of Men, and Rations; should there be any abuses, they might be corrected.

The step you have taken, upon hearing that De lancy was collecting his Corps, was certainly very proper. I have also received a Letter from Governor Trumbull, advising, that he is informed the Enemy are meditating a blow against Connecticut, and requesting, in that case, such aid as we are able to afford;4 which renders it still more necessary that the Troops you have put under marching Orders, should be held in constant readiness; and that the Officers on the Lines should be directed to use the greatest vigilance, and communicate the earliest intelligence to you.

You will please to give directions for Col. Spencers & Col. James Livingston’s Regts to apply for their proportion of Cloathing.

There is a quantity of blue Strouds in the Store, which might be made into Coats, if the trimmings could be obtained—Should the State Clothiers of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, or Connecticut be able to furnish the necessary Materials the Cloth may be issued.5 I am Dear Sir With very great regard Your Most Obed. Hble Servt

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 was addressed to Heath at West Point.

1GW’s aide-de-camp David Humphreys, who penned the draft, initially wrote “distressed” at this place. He then struck out that word and wrote “unhappy” above the line.

2Heath’s second letter to GW on 18 Dec. prompted this remark and subsequent observations.

3See Heath to GW, 17 Dec., and n.3 to that document.

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