George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 10 January 1781

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters New Windsor 10th Jany 1781.

Dear Sir

You will be pleased immediately to summon all the General Officers and the Colonels or Officers commanding the Regiments of the lines under your command to meet punctually at ten OClock tomorrow morning at your quarters. I will be down myself by that time.1 You need not send to Colo. Hazen.2 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.

Heath later wrote of this council of war held on 11 Jan: “His Excellency the Commander in Chief came down to West Point, when a Council of War was held at [my] quarters … to consider what measures were necessary to be adopted, with respect to the Pennsylvania line. After the Council, by order of the Commander in Chief, [I] issued orders for the forming of five battalions, by detachment from the several lines, to be held in the most perfect readiness to march on the shortest notice, with four days’ provisions cooked” (Wilson, Heath’s Memoirs description begins Rufus Rockwell Wilson, ed. Heath’s Memoirs of the American War. 1798. Reprint. New York, 1904. description ends , 284; see also Anthony Wayne to GW, 2 Jan., and the source note to that document; Heath to GW, 11 Jan.; and GW’s first letter to Heath, 12 Jan.). At the conference, GW also wanted to obtain the views of the officers on the reliability of their men (see GW to Arthur St. Clair, 12 Jan.; see also Samuel Holden Parsons to GW, same date).

1On this date, GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman wrote an unidentified correspondent, presumably a person at the quarters of Q.M. Gen. Timothy Pickering: “If Colo. Pickering returns this Evening be pleased to let him know that the General wishes him to accompany him to West Point tomorrow Morning on business of consequence. he must be here by 8 oClock” (DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 25663).

2Heath wrote Maj. Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons from West Point on this date, 6:00 P.M.: “I have this moment received directions from his Excellency General Washington, to request all the General Officers and the Colonels or Officers commanding Regts in the Several Lines under my Command to meet at my Quarters tomorrow morning precisely at Ten oClock, please Communicate this immediately to the Colonels and Officers Commanding in your Division. … P.S. My Barge shall be at the Landing Constitution Island at nine oClock tomorrow morning to receive you and the Officers of the Connecticut Line” (MHi: Heath Papers).

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