George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Captain Josiah Stoddard, 17 October 1778

To Captain Josiah Stoddard

Head Quarters [Fredericksburg] 17th Otbr 1778


I received your letter of the 15th Inst. respecting a reprieve for Elisha Smith a deserter from your company. It is far from my inclination to encrease the number of unfortunate sufferers, or to sign a warrant which does not appear indispensibly necessary for the preservation and safety of the army. Smith has been represented to me as an object worthy of punishment—and as a proper example to prevent the commission of crimes of a like nature. Indeed—I should have been glad of a justifiable foundation of pardon to have obliged you in this instance,1 I am Sir &c.

G. W——n

Df, in James McHenry’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For Elisha Smith’s sentencing and the unintended delay in his execution, see Scott to GW, 9 Oct., 13 Oct. (first letter), and 15 Oct. (second letter); General Orders, 10 Oct.; and GW to Scott, 10 October. The execution apparently was scheduled for this date (see Stoddard to GW, 15 Oct.).

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