George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Wood, 25 March 1780

Charlottesville 25th March 1780.


I have the honor of Inclosing your Excellency, the Proceedings of a General Court Martial held at this Post Yesterday; I wou’d beg leave to Add, that the Prisoner La Brun was enlisted but a few Days before he Deserted, Appears extremely Ignorant, and is in My Opinion, an Object worthy of Mercy. I am with the Greatest respect, Yr Excellency’s Very Obt Servt

James Wood. Colo. Comm.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


24 March 1780

At a General Court martial held at Albemarle Barracks on Friday the 24th March 1780. For the trial of Christopher Fossil & John La Brun Soldiers in Capt. Reads Troop of Virginia State Dragoons charged, with Desertion and carrying off Horses, Arms and accoutrments, belonging to said troop.

Col. Fras Taylor President


Lt Colo. Crockett Majr Roberts
Capt. Burnley Capt. White
Capt. Burton Capt. Purvis
Capt. Young Lieut. Brent
Lieut. Pettus Lieut. Taylor
Ensn Moor Ensign McGavock

The Court being met & Sworn. The Prisoners were brought into Court and their charge read. The said Christopher Fossil and John la Brun, pled guilty to the charge.

Stephen Mullins Corporal & Henry Port private, in Capt. Reads troop, being sworn, deposeth that the above named prisoners went away from the Troop on wednesday the 15th instant, that they were next day sent in pursuit after them and overtook the said deserters in Shenando County last saturday night, supposing the distance eighty miles from the Barracks: The Prisoners had not their horses nor arms (except one Pistol) with them, but told the Witnesses where they were left, and where they found them on their return. That the Horses were found at two places, about one mile asunder and some of the accoutrements at each place. That the Swords were found hid in the woods, also a Horsem[ans] cap, but the whole were brought back.

Lt Brent deposeth that the prisoner John la Brun, enlisted into Capt. Reads troops on the 11th instant, Received his bounty of Seven hundred & fifty dollars and was sworn the same day.

The Court having considered the charge and the evidence [pro]duced, are of opinion that Christopher Fossil is guilty and ought to receive Corporal punishment, and do sen[tence] him to Run the gauntlet through the troops of the Gar[rison] twice a day for the three days: a majority being of the above opinion.

A majority of the Court (more than two thirds) are of opinion that John La Brun is guilty, and ought to suffer death by being shot.

Fra. Taylor President

The sentence Agt Christopher Fosill has been Approved & Executed.

J. Wood Colo. Comm.

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