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