George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 15 February 1781

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters New Windsor Feby 15th 81

Dr Sir,

Some advices which I have received will detain me here longer than I expected1—I am to desire you will immediately have all the light companies of the troops under your command completed to fifty rank and file each, and assemble the whole without delay at Peeks Kill. They must be completed with shoes and as far as possible with all other necessaries, for a march to Morris Town; as it will be a pretty expeditious one it is an additional reason for having the men robust and in other respects well chosen. The Adjutant General must carefully inspect them when formed and exchange all whom he does not approve. I am with great regard Dr Sir Yr most Obedient servant

Go: Washington

P.S. I wish the light troops to be ready to march from Fish Kill2 by the 19th at furthest—I shall instruct the Qr Mr General to prepare waggons.3 The officers will take their light baggage & there must be a serjeant added to each Company.

LS, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Heath replied to GW on 16 February.

GW meant these light infantry troops to form part of a corps he intended to order south to operate in Virginia (see GW to Rochambeau, this date, and both letters to Lafayette, 20 Feb. [1 and 2]).

1GW had anticipated leaving to visit the French army at Newport (see his first letter to Rochambeau, 14 Feb., and n.4).

2On the draft, which is also in Hamilton’s writing, the words “Fish Kill” are lined out and “Peekskill” written after them.

Index Entries