George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 18 February 1781

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters New Windsor 18th Feby 1781.

Dear Sir

I have recd your favor of yesterday.1 As the detachment, now in formation, may be absent five or six Weeks or more, (which I mention in confidence)2 the security of West point will become our principal object, and you will, for that purpose, as soon as the detachment marches, order the remaining troops on the East side into the Garrison, and such part of Hazens Regt as is not absolutely necessary to guard the Stores and prisoners at Fishkill. You will lessen the detachment upon the lines, and call in every small guard and party that you possibly can—In short, every thing must give way to the security of West point, during the absence of the large detachment.

As Capt. Welles is the Officer who properly commands Webbs light Company, you will order him to join the light Corps with such Men as belong to the Regt and you will be pleased to releive him with an Officer well acquainted with Boat service, as, after the River is clear of Ice, vigilance on the Water will be more than ever necessary. I am Dear Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. You will leave very small Guards of the most indifferent Men at the Hutts on the East side to prevent their being injured.3

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

2GW intended the detachment for Virginia (see GW to Rochambeau, 15 Feb., and his two letters to Lafayette, 20 Feb. [1 and 2]).

Index Entries