George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General William Maxwell, 12 September 1778

From Brigadier General William Maxwell

Elizth Town [N.Y.] 12th Sepr 1778


I have some thing to lay before your Excellency which is far from being agreeable and I do ashure you that I have done every thing in my power to prevent it, unless I had put your orders to me into publick Orders here. I have herewith sen you the proceedings of a General Court Martial where two Capts. is tryed for disobedience of Orders. I think the Evidence is quite full especialy agains Capn Burrows, but you will see what the Judgment is, it does not signify to try them here for the crime of stoping persons going out to make discoverys the lower Officers has got a notion that there is a traid carryed on by it, and as Coll Og[d]en Dayton & Barber procured the people for that purpose they thought they were serving them selves, you must know that persons going on that errand must have some thing with them for an excuse, this was all that was done, they took the Boat several times going in and found nothing of consequence.1

They took her 2 or 3 nights after each other when your Excellency wanted Intiligence most. I have not aproved of the Court Martial but sent it to your Excellency for Your Perusal and direction and am Sr Your Most Obedient Humble Servant

Wm Maxwell

N.B. Coll Ogdens Letter of last night I kept till this morning to send it by Mr Armstrong.2


1The enclosed proceedings have not been identified. GW’s general orders of 14 Sept approved the “not guilty” verdicts for captains John Burrowes and Alexander Mitchell, and GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison informed Maxwell in a letter of 17 Sept. (DLC:GW). Burrowes, who had been a captain in Col. David Forman’s Additional Continental Regiment since its formation in January 1777, became a captain in Col. Oliver Spencer’s Additional Continental Regiment in April 1779 and was promoted to major in July of that year. He retired from service when that regiment was disbanded in January 1781. Mitchell, of Gloucester County, was appointed a first lieutenant in the 4th New Jersey Regiment in November 1776 and was promoted to captain in November 1777. He transferred to the 1st New Jersey Regiment in July 1778 and served in that regiment to the end of the war.

2Col. Matthias Ogden’s letter has not been identified.

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