George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 20 February 1781

From Major General William Heath

West point Feb. 20. 1781.

Dear General,

The last evening I was honored with yours of yesterday. The moment I saw the orders respecting Major Reid, he had notice of it and was ordered to join the light infantry, which he did.

Inclosed is a promise of Colo. Sprout and Major Porter, that Capt.

Map 6. The complex system of fortifications at West Point, the most important military post in North America, consisted of outlying redoubts and an inner group of forts. (Illustrated by Rick Britton. Copyright Rick Britton 2021)

Smart shall settle his accounts when his health will permit. They request that Capt. Smart’s discharge may bear date the first instant, to which time he is mustered.1

I have ordered the Rhode Island and New Hampshire regiments into the Garrison, reduced the detachment on the lines one half, viz. to a hundred rank and file, directed Colo. Hazen to send his regiment to the Garrison, except such as are absolutely necessary to guard the provisions and stores at Fish-kill.2 By a duty return which I have just received from him, with a detail of duty, few, if any, can be spared from his regiment.3 The situation of the Connecticut line, one regiment being assigned to the North, another to the middle Redoubt, a third to Constitution Island, in case of alarm; the other two regiments can be, in a very short time, thrown over to the Point, I think it will be no hazard to let them remain at their quarters.

Will it not be advisable to order in the recruits from Springfield, where I am informed, a number are collected?4 I have the honor to be With the greatest respect Your Excellency’s Most obedient servant

W. Heath

LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1The enclosure has not been identified. For the authorization for Capt. Thomas Smart’s discharge, see GW to Heath, 9 February.

2The draft of Heath’s letter of 19 Feb. to Maj. Hugh Maxwell ordering him to reduce the detachment on the lines to 100 rank and file, and the draft of his letter of the same date to Maj. Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons ordering the Rhode Island and New Hampshire regiments into the West Point garrison, are in MHi: Heath Papers. The receiver’s copy of Heath’s letter to Maxwell evidently was dated 20 Feb. (see Heath to GW, 28 Feb., n.1). Heath’s letter to Col. Moses Hazen has not been identified.

3The “Duty Report” of Hazen’s regiment from this date showed 16 officers, 16 sergeants, 8 drummers and fifers, and 119 rank and file available for service. Guards for the provost and stores at Fishkill, N.Y., occupied 51 men (MHi: Heath Papers).

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