George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Brigadier General William Smallwood, 11 August 1779

To Brigadier General William Smallwood

West point August the 11: 1779

Dr Sir

I transmit You three Letters No. 1—2 & 3 from Mr Bedlow at New Windsor1—by which you will perceive the conduct of which Mr Geery One of the Assistant Clothiers at Newburg, is suspected or said to be guilty.2 As I am determined to inquire into all such practices and to prevent them as far as possible—I must request the favor of you as you are at Windsor to send for Aaron Fairchild, who is mentioned in Mr Belknap’s Letter No. 4 as a Waiter to Geery3—and examine him as to the Goods & the time of delivery;4 and I must farther request that after this, you will desire Mr Hanson5 in my name who seems to be superior in the Cloathing business to Geery, to shew you his Entries of Issues about that time—that you may see whether any and what Articles are charged to Geery. If you are satisfied that he has had the bulk of the Articles mentioned in the Letters—you will direct him whether they are charged or not in positive and explicit Terms to return them to the Store. In such case it will have been a high piece of presumption & arrogance in him to say no worse—when the whole line of Officers were in such distress for Necessaries to help himself so lavishly. Mr Belknap seems rather to wish that he may not be called upon in this affair—and you will indulge him if you find you can make the necessary inquiries without him. I am Dr Sir with great regard & esteem Yr Most Obedt sert

G. Washington

Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1These letters from William Bedlow have not been identified.

2The general orders of 30 July had called for a court-martial to try James Geary, an assistant deputy clothier in the northern department.

3Abel Belknap (1739–1804), of Newburgh, N.Y., acted as chairman of the committees of safety for the precincts (towns) of Newburgh and New Windsor in June 1776 (see James Clinton’s second letter to GW of 27 June 1776, n.1). He later served as a justice of the peace in Ulster County.

4Smallwood brought Aaron Fairchild into his headquarters, examined him, and sent a report to GW (see GW to Smallwood, 15 Aug.)

5GW is probably referring to Peter Hansen, the clothier at Fishkill and assistant to George Measam, commissary of clothing for the northern army.

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