George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 15 January 1781

From Major General William Heath

Garrison West Point Jany 15th 1781

Dear General

The Detachment ordered to be made & held in readiness to march, have been compleatly ready for this day or two, & from the general representation of the Officers a very good temper is every where predominant among the men—there is but little said by them, but the Officers are of opinion, that they will chearfully obey any orders that are given.1

I mentioned in mine of the 13th that six companies of Colonel Putnams regiment, had the evening before, by the report of a Sergeant to Lt Colonel Newhall, refused to draw their provissions; upon an enquiry made of the Q. Master of the Regiment, he asserts, that there was no refusal in his hearing, & that the men drew their provissions with as much chearfullness as usual; from which it is to be supposed, that the Sergeants report to Lt Colonel Newhall was groundless, or formed on the slight objections of some men, which are frequently made among themselves on all occassions.2

That the Detachment may be in the most perfect readiness to march, on the shortest notice, & to prevent their diminishing their provissions, they are taken off duty both of Guards & fatigue except at the point; this stops the makeing the new road, & several other necessary pieces of business—I therefore request Your Excellencys opinion of the probability of the Detachments being called to march, that if the probability is against it, the men may be put on duty as soon as may be thought convenient.3 I have the honor to be With the greatest respect Your Excellencys most Obedient Servant

W. Heath

LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers. GW’s aide-de-camp David Humphreys docketed the LS: “Ansd the same date.” For the presumable reference, see n.3 below.

1For the detachment, see GW to Heath, 10 Jan., source note, and Heath to GW, 11 January.

3GW had stated the probability in the postscript of his letter to Heath of 14 January.

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