George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 1 March 1781

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters [New Windsor] 1st March 1781.

Dear Sir

I have recd your favr of the 28th ulto1—From the circumstances which you mention, the command on the lines may be continued at one hundred Men, with strict orders to the Officer to fall back upon the posts, on the first serious move up the River.2

I shall set out for New port tomorrow morning. My notice is so short, that I am obliged to deprive myself of the pleasure of seeing you before I go, which I intended.3 I have nothing to add to the several instructions lately given to you, but a desire to urge the Qr Mr and Commy to get down all the provision upon the River to West point, the moment the navigation opens. I have written to them on the subject.4

Genl Knox informs me, that no quantity of Arms can be repaired here.5 You will therefore direct those which are at the point to be ready sorted and packed up, that they may be sent to Albany as soon as the Ice will permit—I am with very great Esteem Dear Sir Yr most obt Servt

Go: Washington

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

2Heath wrote Maj. Hugh Maxwell from West Point on 3 March: “In consequence of my representing to His Excellency the Commander in chief the Situation of things on the Lines he has Consented to my Continueing One Hundred men on Duty there, Under this Injunction … that if the Enemy move up in Force either by Land or water you immediately march with your whole Force to these Posts” (MHi: Heath Papers).

3GW went to visit the French forces at Newport (see GW to Rochambeau, 2 March).

4See GW to Ephraim Blaine and to Timothy Pickering, both 14 February.

Ephraim Blaine, commissary general of purchases, began a letter to his assistant George Morton on 10 March, presumably from New Windsor: “Procuring provisions for the gar[r]ison at West Point and the troops cantooned in that neighbourhood has induced his Excellency General Washington to detain me here, he has been some days absent upon a Journey to Rhode Island upon his return I expect to set out for Philada which will be about the 20th” (DLC: Ephraim Blaine Papers).

5GW is replying to the letter Heath wrote him on 27 Feb. (see also GW to Heath, same date, postscript).

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