Fish Kill April 5th 1782
On the 19th of February last I stated to General Heath by Letter, the Objections made by General McDougal to my siing as president of the Court Martial appointed for his Tryal, with my reasons for being of Opinion that there was no good cause of Challenge shewn either by the Martial Law known to us, or by any Common or Statute Law that we can have referrence to, of this Letter I suppose General Heath has transferred a Copy to your Excellency. I am Anxious that this Question should be determined in the most Solemn manner, as it is a point very Nearly afficting the honour and Competency of every Officer in the Army, yet when ever it is determined your Excellency must be Sensible that delicacy would never suffer me to sit on the Tryal of an Officer who has challenged me in ever so tender a manner. th[e] determination on the principles of the main Question cannot at present be had by a board of general officers for want of a sufficient Number of such officers, and the determination of it by Congress (who only I think are Competent) will probably take up a considerable time, to prevent a delay of Justice and the good of the Service, are sufficient enducements to Urge me, to submit it to your Excellency wether it would not be best that another Officer be Appointed to preside at the Court Martial for the Tryal of General McDougal; reserving the main Question on the Merrits of the cause of Challenge to the future determination of Congriss or to such Mode as they or Your Excellency shall think Elligable. I have the honor to be with great Esteem and Regard Your Excellency’s Most Huml Servt
DLC: Papers of George Washington.