George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 12 January 1781

From Major General William Heath

Garrison West Point Jany 12th 1781

Dear General

The enclosed is paragraph of a letter from Mr Foot, receiver of Cattle at Fish Kill, to Mr Watrous Superintendant of Cattle at this place; the contents of which are very alarming.1

Instead of haveing large Quantities of beef salted in bulk at this place, the Connecticutt, & New-Hampshire Hutts, as was intended, or pretended; about 200 head of small Cattle only have been salted here, & none on the other side of the river—no beef Cattle being on hand, the Commissary has been obliged to issue from the Store—not more than one or two days allowance remains of what has been salted in bulk; by the enclosed no Cattle are expected; what are we to do? all the salted meat in the reserves is but a very small Quantity, & will in a few days be dissipated, if broken in upon.2 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 enclosed extract of a letter from Ebenezer Foot to Daniel Watrous, dated 11 Jan. at Fishkill, N.Y., reads: “Yours of this date Just came to hand Am sorry to Inform you that I have no Expectation of having it in my Power to furnish you with many more Cattle this Winter—I recd Fifty-six Cattle from Massachusetts the day before yesterday which I Delivered the Commissaries on this side the River.

“The Drover Inform’d me that those were the last that would be sent from that state[.] if that be true the Army will soon be in a worse situation than at Present, as the chief dependance for Beef was put upon that State, Mr Phelps the State Agent wrote me sometime since that he would send on Two Hundred and Fifty Weekly. exclusive of those that were Intended for Barreling, but has fell vastly short of his Promise.” A statement written below the extract reads: “The above is an extract of a Letter from Ebenr Foot Receiver of Cattle at Fish Kill, to Danl Watrous Supt Cattle West Point” (DLC:GW). No further information about these men has been found. For doubts about the supply of cattle from Massachusetts, see Samuel Osgood and Oliver Phelps to GW, 15 Dec. 1780, and n.3; see also GW to Osgood and Phelps, 20 Jan. 1781.

2GW replied to Heath on 14 January. For the small reserve of salted beef at West Point, see GW to Heath, 8 Dec. 1780.

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