George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Goose Van Schaick, 27 October 1778

To Colonel Goose Van Schaick

Head Quarters Fredericksbg 27th October 1778


I have recd yours of this date, and was a few days ago favd with a letter from Genl Clinton inclosing a Brigade Court Martial upon Jno. Yeomans of your Regt by the sentence of which he is capitally convicted.1 The Judgment of the Court appears very proper and the Offender from his Crimes suitable to make an example of; but as I have been under the necessity of inflicting the punishment of death upon no less than seven persons in the different departments of the Army within a few days; I feel myself obliged to remit the punishment of the above person, after carrying him to the place of execution, lest the frequency of punishment, should take off the good effects intended by it.2 I am Sir yr most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, PWacD: Sol Feinstone Collection, on deposit at PPAmP; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW franked the cover, which is addressed to Van Schaick at “Continental Village.”

1GW is referring to Brig. Gen. James Clinton’s letter to him of 22 October. John Yeomans was a soldier in Col. Lewis Duboys’s 5th New York Regiment, not Van Schaick’s 1st New York Regiment (see General Orders, 28 Oct.).

2Although this decision was published in the general orders for 28 Oct., Yeomans apparently was executed on 2 Nov. (see note 3 to that document).

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