George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heath, 4 June 1782

Highlands June 4. 1782.

Dear General,

I was yesterday honored with yours of the 2d, which shall be duly observed.

The enclosed paper addressed to mr Skinner, and pass from mr Adams to mr Gardner, were sent up by captain Pray the last evening. I do not conceive myself authorized to let mr Gardner pass within the enemy’s lines on those papers, and submit them to your excellency. Other papers brought on by prisoners, being properly [au]thenticated, they will go in this day. The applications now become so frequent from prisoners who are going in as to render it indispensibly necessary for a deputy commissary of prisoners to be ordered to the vicinity of Dobb’s ferry, as soon as possible—and I beg it may be done: At present it creates an infinity of trouble, both to captain Pray and to me. I never hesitate at doing business—it is a pleasure to me, and I have done much which has little connection with the strict line of my duty; this, neither, should I mind, if my constitution would bear it, but I find my health sinking under too long and too constant attention to business; and whether the preservation of my health be essential to my country or not, it is so to my self and family; it is therefore my duty in its present state, not to be a volunteer in harrassing my constitution in those services which fall within the line of duty of others.

I find upon examination that major Pettengill whom I ordered to relieve lieutenant colonel Badlam in the superintendency of the recruiting service at Boston on account of his not having left that place, previous to his being relieved by lieutenant colonel Badlam passed several boys who have lately come on, as totally unfit for service as those passed by colonel Badlam: I am therefore determined to relieve him also, and send lieutenant colonel Popkins of the artillery on this duty, if your excellency has no objection.

It remains that something should be done with those men who have been rejected here as unfit for recruits, and such as have been rejected by the inspector general at the last inspection of those sent up the last year. I wish your opinion whether it will be necessary to retain some of the rejected recruits as evidences against the officers who mustered them when they arrive in camp, or that the evidence of the inspector-general with the rejection of the recruits will be sufficient testimony, without. I have the honor to be With the highest respect, Your Excellency’s Most obedient servant,

W. Heath

P.S. The enclosed from major Wyllis has this moment come to hand.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


New York June 2th 1782

We take this Oppertunity to inform Your honner of [my] situation if it is in your honners power to send in som of Cols: Delanceys Men for our Exchangue we shold be very glad for we cant be Exchangued until some of his Men are sent in for us there are no prisoners here now Except those that was taken by his Core and are kept here until som of his men are sent in, if it is in your honners power to Comply Whith this Request you Will Much Oblige your humble Servant

David Root

Signed in behalf of 18 unfortinate prisoners.

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