George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 24 January 1781

From Major General William Heath

West point Janry 24th 1781

Dear General

The State of the river, and of the roads forbid me the honor of waiting on you at New windsor.

ever Since I had the honor of Seeing your Excellency here I have been impatiently waiting to hear from the Troops below, but have not receivd a Syllable.1 A Brisk Firing was heard on Sunday morning,2 and again this morning, The roads are so exceedingly bad, that Intelligence can not be expected so early as otherwise might be, but the time has been long. I have this morning Sent an express down towards Crom-pond to inquire for news, but the crossing of the river and the roads are So bad that I do not expect his return before evening, I however momentarily expect an express from that Quarter.3

The Battalions from the Garrison destined for the Jersies marched yesterday perhaps as fine a Body of men of their number as have been Seen, I apprehend the Detachments on the other Side of the river Crossed at Kings ferry yesterday.4 Major General Howe left this place this morning and will overtake the Troops in the Course of the Day, The moment I Obtain any Intelligence of Consequence it Shall, be transmitted to your Excellency. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect your Excellencys most obedient Servt

W. Heath

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers. Heath may not have sent this letter after receiving reports that led him to write GW again on 25 Jan. (see n.3 below).

1GW had met with Heath at West Point on 22 Jan. (see General Orders, same date, source note).

2The previous Sunday was 21 January.

3For the delayed reports on the attack on the Loyalist outpost at Morrisania in lower Westchester County, N.Y., see Heath to GW, 25 January.

4For the orders to march these detachments to suppress the mutiny in the New Jersey line, see GW to Frelinghuysen, 21 Jan., n.2, and to Robert Howe, 22 January.

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