George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 17 February 1781

To Major General William Heath

New Windsor Feby 17th 1781.

Dear Sir

Previous to the Receipt of your letter of yesterday, I had obtained a list of the Feild Officers from the Adjutant General, that I might name those for the present detachment. It is inclosed, and I am very sorry to find the number of them so small—from your command, five will be wanting.1

I would have eight Companies from the oldest Regiments of the Massachusetts line form one Battalion—The two remaining Companies from that State and those of Connecticut and Rhode Island to form another—Those of New Hampshire and Hazen (with such others as shall hereafter join them) will form another Battalion.2

Each Battalion must have two Feild Officers, and I earnestly wish for good ones. How this is to be effected with the present numbers, without injury to the Regiments, (which ought never to be left without a Feild Officer, much less at this time when the Recruits will be coming in and the Regiments are forming) is not easy to arrange, and leads me to think that Colo. Jimat and Major Galvan ought, circumstanced as things are, to be employed upon this detachment. No better disposition therefore occurs to me than the following.

Major Reed—of Hazens Regiment—to take charge of the Company of his own Regiment and those of New Hampshire—Colo. Sherman, if in Camp, and Major Galvan to take charge of the Battalion in which the Connecticut Troops are; but if he should not be in Camp (as is doubtfully expressed by the Adjt General) then Colo. Jimat and Major Wyllis to have the command of it. In the last case Colo. Jackson or Vose and Majr Galvan are to be appointed to the Battalion composed altogether of Massachusetts troops, but in the former, Jimat and a good Major is to command it.

The appointment of these Officers is temporary3—the general arrangement of the light Infantry for the Campaign will not be affected by it—When you have made the final arrangement of them, let me know it, that I may issue a General Order respecting them, but you are not to delay ordering them to join for this.4 I am Dear Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1The enclosed undated document lists by name four field officers from the New Hampshire regiments, nine from the Massachusetts regiments, one from the Rhode Island regiment, six from the Connecticut regiments, four from Col. Moses Hazen’s regiment, and two foreign volunteer officers (MHi: Heath Papers, filed with this letter).

2GW refers to light infantry companies (see GW to Heath, 15 Feb., second letter). Each regiment had one light infantry company. GW had ordered that the New Jersey brigade provide five companies to augment the third battalion of the detachment (see GW to Elias Dayton or the Officer Commanding the New Jersey Brigade, 16 Feb.).

3On his draft, GW wrote additional text at this point: “they will return to their respective Battns so soon as the Service on which they are going is effected.”

4No general orders on this subject have been found, but see Heath’s second letter to GW of this date.

Index Entries