Major General William Heath to George Washington

The following letter, which will appear in a future volume of the Revolutionary War Series, discusses officers’ pay and mentions Lafayette’s arrival at Boston.

The letter printed below is taken from the typed transcript. Original manuscript images of Maj. General Heath’s letter to Washington at the Library of Congress: Page 1 | Page 2

Roxbury [Mass.] April 30. 1780

Dear General,

I was some time since honor’d with yours of the 28th ultimo respecting Cloathing for the recruits–and this morning with that of the 17th Instant.

Several Officers have already come from West-Point on the recruiting service and others are on the road: I wish they may be successfull–but, am at loss from the tenor of your Excellencys Letter to determine what bounty the recruits raised by this State (Massachusetts) are to receive. It seems the Continental bounty after the Act of March 1779 was to be 200 Dollars.

The General Assembly of this State on the 30th of September last passed the following Resolution vizt “Resolved that a bounty of three hundred Dollars, in addition to the bounty and subsistance money allowed by Congress, be paid to each Non-Commissioned Officer and Soldier who has or shall enlist as one of this States quota of the Continental Army during the continuance of the present War between the United States of America and Great Brittain.” This bounty appears to be intended over and above the Continental bounty and extended to all the Soldiers belonging to their quota of the Army, enlisted at any preceding period.

I purpose to morrow to lay the matter before the Assembly who it is probable may have received Some particular instructions on the Subject, or at least that they may conduct as they think proper.

On Tuesday last 2 privateers belonging to Salem (the Franklin, and Jack) Sent into that port a large letter of marque Ship having on board 1000 barrels Pork & Beef 750 barrels Flour 800 Firkins Butter and dry Goods to the amo[un]t of £15,000.

A Doctor Apedale lately come from New York to Boston, and some time before from Canada to New York, reports that before he left Canada, it was said that about 1000 Regulars and Tories, with as many Indians as could be collected and would join them, were to make an Excursion on our Frontiers on the Mowhawk river as Soon as the Season was Suitable, in two divisions, under the command of Johnson and Butler, and that Lt Colo. Stacy was held a prisoner in Canada with a view to be Exchanged for Johnson or Butler Should either of them happen to be taken: how much credit is to be given to this report your Excellency may be able best to determine.

I have the happiness to forward this by Major General Marquis de LaFayette, who arrived at Boston on the 28th Inst. where, he was received with every demonstration of Joy. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect Your Excellency’s Most obedient Servt

W. Heath

George Washington’s Resignation Address to the Continental Congress

On Saturday 20 December 1783 Washington wrote to the Continental Congress, notifying it of his arrival in Annapolis, Maryland, with the intention of “asking leave to resign the commission he has the honor of holding in their service, and desiring to know their pleasure in what manner it will be most proper to offer his resignation; whether in writing or at an audience” (Washington’s letter of 20 Dec. 1783 is at the National Archives, Washington, D.C.). Upon reading the letter, Congress resolved that Washington “be admitted to a public audience, on Tuesday next, at twelve o’clock.” On the following Tuesday, 23 December 1783, Washington, “according to order . . . was admitted to a public audience, and being seated, the President, after a pause, informed him, that the United States in Congress assembled, were prepared to receive his communications” (Worthington C. Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, vol. 25:837-38). Washington then arose and delivered the following address.

resignation1 resignation2

Images of Washington’s Resignation Address to the Continental Congress, 23 December 1783
(courtesy of the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, M.D.). Click on images for larger view.

George Washington’s Proclamation of Discharge for the Troops from Pennsylvania to New Jersey

By His Excellency &c A Proclamation

Nov. 4. 1783

Whereas the United States in Congress assembled were pleased on the 29 day of October last to pass the following resolve

“That the Comr in Chief &c—” [1]

In compliance therefore with the foregoing resolve I do hereby give this public notice that from and after the fifteenth day of this instant November All Troops within the above description shall be considered as discharged from the service of the United States—And All Officers commanding Corps or Detachmts of any such Troops are hereby directed to grant them proper discharges accordingly. Given &c.


1. At the motion of Delegate Hugh Williamson of North Carolina, the Continental Congress on 29 October 1783, resolved “That the Commander in Chief be, and he is hereby directed to discharge all the troops in the service of the United States, who are now in Pensylvania or to the southward thereof, except the garrison of Fort Pitt.” The resolution is in the National Archives, Washington, D.C., Papers of the Continental Congress, item 36; see also Worthington C. Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, vol. 25:752-53.

Original manuscript images of Washington’s proclamation at the Library of Congress: Page 1 | Page 2