George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from the Board of War, 30 May 1780

From the Board of War

War Office [Philadelphia] May 30th 1780.


The board do themselves the honor to inclose to your Excellency, the proceedings of a General Court Martial, held at Philadelphia on the 19th instant, for the Trial of Capt. Coren, & Capt. Lieutenant Godfrey.1

With respect to Capt. Coren, the board beg leave to transmit the proceedings of another Court Martial on a former occasion, conceiving it to be proper that Your Excellency should be informed of all the circumstances attending him.2 I have the honor to be with the highest respect Yr Excellency’s Most Obedt Hble Serv.

by ordr
Ben. Stoddert Secy

ALS, DLC:GW. GW replied to the Board of War on 5 June.

1The enclosed court-martial proceedings have not been identified. For the charges against Capt. Isaac Coren and Capt. Lt. William Egerton Godfrey and their sentences, see General Orders, 24 June.

William Egerton Godfrey, of Pennsylvania, became the captain lieutenant of Col. Benjamin Flower’s regiment of artillery artificers in July 1777. He left the army in August 1780.

2The enclosed court-martial proceedings, dated 19–22 Jan. 1779, detail a trial in Philadelphia. Coren was charged with “Continual Drunkenness,” with “Repeated disobedience and Contempt of Orders,” with “Keeping unjust Accounts against his Men,” with “Removing Centinels placed for the Security of Publick Stores of great Value at the Ordinance Yard,” with “Arbitrary & unjust proceedings on Court Martials,” with “Continuance of Profane & Abusive Language and beheaving in a Scandalous & infamous manner, such as is, unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman,” with denying “repeatedly and Contemptuously … that his Company belongs to the Corps of Artillery & Artificers or that Col. Flowers had a right to Command him,” and finally with “breaking his Arrest, and resuming the Command of his Company in an Arbitrary Manner” (DLC:GW). The court found Coren guilty of repeated drunkenness, of removing the sentinels, and of using profane language and behaving in a scandalous manner, but it acquitted him on the other charges. The court sentenced Coren to be discharged but unanimously recommended him to Maj. Gen. Benedict Arnold “in Consideration of his past usefullness and Zeal for the Service, he giving up a Pension which he received Annually from his Britanic Majesty.” The court also recommended a reference to Brig. Gen. Henry Knox regarding Coren’s usefulness in the service. Coren had asked for reinstatement.

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