George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heath, 11 May 1782

Highlands, May 11. 1782.

Dear General,

I was the last evening honored with yours of the 10th covering letters to colonel Canfield and major Woodbridge—these I forwarded immediately by express,Major Woodbridge was relieved yesterday by major Clift: I therefore directed the letterto the latter, with directions for a most pointed observance of its injunctions. I think this regulation of the flags will have very salutary effects.

Brigadier-general Paterson informs me that the men of the first Massachusetts brigade are growing sickly, and it is the opinion of the surgeons that it will be best to remove them into tents as soon as the season will possibly allow it with safety. I beg leave to submit it to your Excellency’s consideration.

The quantities of new whiskey now drank by the troops, I fear will injure their health. I have not seen the new contract. By the first contract, the secretary at war or your Excellency have a right to discontinue a part of the ration of rum or whiskey, and order bread or vegetables in lieu thereof. During the past months, I ordered one jill of whiskey to be stopped every fifth day, and an equivalent in bread to be issued—And at the northward, I ordered two jills to be stopped weekly; the troops received an equivalent in bread for one, for the other peas,The officers of the 3d Massachusetts brigade informed me the last evening, that they wished a part of the whiskey might be stopped and peas issued in lieu thereof; and requested me to mention it to your Excellency. I am confident it will be agreeable to the troops in general if peas can be obtained, and much more for their health than the whiskey.

I wish to be informed, whether by your Excellencys order of the 30th ultimo, the Connecticut line third Massachusetts brigade and the 10th regiment were not meant by the troops at the posts on the eastern side of the river in the vicinity of Westpoint, who were to be supplied by the contractors under the former contract; and who were meant by "the remainder of the troops to be supplied under the contract for furnishing the moving army." I am informed a distinction is made in the issues which I think was never meant, and ought not to be allowed. 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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