George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heath, 23 August 1781

Peeks kill August 23. 1781.

Dear General,

I arrived yesterday at Crompond, where I intended to remain for some days to take the advantage of the forages in the vicinity of Pines bridge. I had but just encamped, when a demand for fifty teams came from the Quartermaster general—This obliged me to remove nearer the river with a view to cover Westpoint and avail myself of the water-transportation for forage and provisions. On the moment of my arrival here to day, was surprised to find the demand of teams encreased to eighty, in which it is said your Excellency acquiessed. This will totally put it out of our power to draw forage from below the lines to form the magazines mentioned in my instructions, or to perform the ordinary duties of teams in this army. I submit to your Excellency whether it is not more than probable that the enemy will in the course of the campaign make some movements which may require my speedy removal to oppose them. How humiliating must it be to me, at such an instant, perhaps with the clamors of a country, to be fixed in a camp unable to move, when the force your Excellency has honored me with is much more than sufficient for the defence of Westpoint? I cannot entertain an idea of being in such a situation—I pray I may not be forced into it. Colonel Pickering has ordered the teams to be taken—at least has said it is unavoidable. To be in a situation to serve my country and do myself honor, is as earnestly wished for by me as any person living. A situation which forbids both, can never happen with my consent although my profession teaches me, without hesitation, to obey the orders of my superiors. I have the honor to be With the highest respect, Your Excellency’s Most obedient servant

W. Heath

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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