George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heath, 4 February 1781

West point Feby 4 1781

Dear General,

Yesterday I was honored with yours of the 2d.

Immediately upon receiving the signification of your pleasure, I called on the state Clothiers for a return of Blankets received by them since the last delivery; enclosed are those from Connecticut and New Hampshire—that from Massachusetts was made from Fish kill to the Clothier—generals Office.

I endeavoured to learn from Major General Howe the cause of the detention of Colonel Scammells Detachment in Jersey, and to state it precisely to your Excellency; I am sorry that I was unfortunate, or thought to be so deficient as to give you any grounds for surprize.

Major Campbell informs me that considerable quantities of Forage may be brought, from below the lines if teams can be obtained; but that it is not possible to obtain them in this State; that there are teams in the neighbouring towns in Connecticut, and as near the Forage as those in this State, which are worn down. The difficulty is to obtain them. The Quarter masters have nothing to induce them. I beg leave to submit it to your Excellency’s consideration, that the Quartermaster general may take such measures as may be thought proper, either by writing to Governor Trumbull for an impress Warrant or to exercise his own authority if competent, and the getting off the Forage should be thought of consequence sufficient to require the exercise of it.

Major Cartwright, who has been for several years in my family as one of my Aids de Camp, (and lately gone to Boston) has requested leave to resign. He has no other connection with the Army. Will your Excellency please to give the discharge, or shall I do it? He has served with fidelity and honor.

I thank your Excellency for information of the resolution of the General Assembly of the Common wealth of Massachusetts to clothe their Troops. The honorable the Speaker has lately informed me that the Commonwealth were determin’d to do every thing in their power for the Army—That a large quantity of Clothing had gone on some time since, which, he flattered himself, had arrived at the Army—and that an Express who would deliver me the letter would bring on a sum of Money. In a postscript to his letter, he observes the Express was detained, & something further would be done. This was before the arrival of General Knox; since which, your Excellency, I presume, is fully informed if what has been done; which I think every one will consider as very generous.

Colo. Smith, late Deputy Quartermaster at Springfield, informed me yesterday: that about fifty hogsheads of woolen Clothing was at that place when he came away and had been there for some time. This is probably the Clothing which the Speaker supposed had arrived at the Army. I have the honor to be With the greatest respect Your Excellency’s Most obedient Servant

W. Heath

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Pumpton Feby 1st 1781.


I am honor’d this Evening with your letter of the 31st Ult. In answer I beg leave to inform you that I arrived at this place the 29th of Jany in the evening—On my arrival (& not before) I was inform’d that Genl Howe had return’d with the detachment under his command. As my men were much fatigu’d with marching, I purpos’d returning the 31st giving them one day to refresh themselves. But on information from Colo. Shreive that he had wrote to Genl Howe requesting that his detachment might remain a few days longer and that Gl Howe had consented, and agreed to remain himself at Smiths Clove. I presum’d it would be most proper for me to remain in my present station till further orders. And accordingly wrote to Genl Howe. But my Letter has either miscarried or did not overtake him previous to the writing of your Letter—I shall march very early Tomorrow morning by way of Kakeat if the weather will permit, and expect to cross Kings Ferry at 12 oClock the 3d Inst. I have Honor to be most respectfully Yr Obedt & very Humble servt

Alexdr Scammell


Vere planks Point Feby 3d 1781 12 oClock


In obedience to your Order of the 31st Ulto I marchd Yesterday Morning 10 oClock from Pumpton quarter’d at Kakeat last Night and had cross’d part of my Battalion over Kings Ferry when I was honor’d with yours of the 1st Inst. When I left Pumpton, the Jersey Line appear’d to be settled down to a very considerable degree of Tranquility. & seem’d to be rather chagrin’d than mutinous. The Committee had made considerable progress in examining the men’s Inlistments, and out of a Regt & half of the men present they had discharg’d but two, And altho so many of them faild in their pretended claims, I could not learn that they discover’d any dissatisfaction. And as the british Troops had left staten Island, and return’d to their quarters, I presume I should have left Pumpton by this morning had your letter reach’d me Yesterday. As there was no apparent necessity for my remaining longer—When I wrote Genl Howe we fully & hourly expected the british would have landed in force at Elizabeth Town. & we were uncertain what effect the Hand Bills from Sr Harry might have had upon the minds of the Jersey Troops. But I believe now there is nothing to be apprehended from either. The Troops under my command will reach their Hutts this evening except Colo. Hazen’s men. I shall do myself the honor of waiting upon you Tomorrow & am most respectfully

A. Scammell

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