George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heath, 29 December 1780

Garrison West Point Decr 29th 1780

Dear General

The receipt of the enclosed papers, which this moment came to hand, compels me again to take up my pen, and trouble your Excellency on a subject, on which the very existance of these Posts depend. I therefore trust you will excuse the repetition. I submit to your Excellency what expectations are to be found, from the spirit & complexion of the papers.

If the Q.M. General wants any number of men, to effect bringing forward the provisions, they shall be immediately sent upon his nameing the number, but I do most earnestly intreat that some regular & effectual mode may be immediately adopted for our relief, and matters not left in the way they appear to be in at present, it is very evident if they do, the army must very soon starve or disperse. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect your Excellencys most Obedient Servant

W. Heath

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Fishkill Sunday 27 Decr 1780

Dr Sir

I Recd a Line from you a few minutes ago requesting a Craft might be sent to N. Winsor to transport a Number of Barrels of flour to the garrison at west point. I have endeavoured to procure a Conveyance but totally unaccessable all the crafts employ’d with us (excepting one) are now laid up, & this one is up the river waiting the arivel of flour from back the country should it not arive soon, I am Doubtfull wether (if this weather Continues longer than the Day) if it will at all—I wish you woud make trial to prevail on Mr White to take some remains of Clothing of Mr Clarke & [britt] Commasarys now at your post for the Line of Conneticut the Latter of the Line of Massachusets with the flour you mention’d to be at Newwnsor we have a Quantity of flour at Mr Kitteltas Mill I know not how it can be transported—we have two small Boats Could hands be procured to man them I some thing think they might answer purpose of Collecting Small parcells of flour & I will be much Oblig’d to you if any men can be spared from your side to Consult Majr Platt on the Subjt of Collecting the flower and having it sent to the fort with what is at Mr Kitteltas this place & Newwinsor will amount to near one hundred Barrels Consider the Circumstances of the troops now wanting provision & Our want of hands to Supply them I Dred the Consequences pray let me hear from you as soon as possible might I advise I should think the Sending Batteau & hands from the fort & not [trust] to chances of conveyances only most eligible. I am Dr Sir Yr Most Obt Sert

J. Fisher D.Q.M.

Sir Capt. Mitchell Says that no craft can be procured here to carry the flour down the River he wishes to have your Directions about the Matter. yours

P. Anspach


Decr 28—80

Let battews be Manned to carry what flour they can down to West point the fatigue Men may be employ’d if there are no Battew men but there ought in each Battew to be one Man acquainted with the River if there be no battews let Capt. Mitchell write to Genl Heath & send the Letter by express to Newwinsor & if there be no express boat there let the express proceede by Land to West point to desire Genl Heath to send up boats for the flour.

T. Pickering Q.M.G.


Fishkill 28th Decr 1780

Dear Sir

Mr Fisher informs me you are Starving for want of Flour, and that there is a quantity at Fishkill Landing, Kittletas’s Mills and New Windsor—Mr Werd Commsy there has about 30. or 40. bbls—all the sloops lately in public employ, have laid up for the Winter, except one that is up the river, and momently expected down.

Can’t you send Batteaux for the flour in this quarter, if you cannot I do not know how you will get it.

We are half the time destitute of flour at this post, having no more than four, Four-Horse Teams, at the Post, and the justices cannot get the People to turn out with their Waggons so much are they disgusted at their ill usage from the public, by withholding payment, for past and present services.

If Flour is to be transported from this post, and its Neighborhood, then must be an Impress Warrant for Teams, & Soldiers to Collect them; a most disagreeable task to preform. I am Sir your Huble Servt

Jno. Keese D.Q.M.


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