George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Rudolphus Ritzema, 14 July 1776

To Colonel Rudolphus Ritzema

Head Quarters [New York] July 14. 1776


At a Period so critical as the present, when our unnatural Enemies are in full view, and hourly expected to strike a Blow which may be supposed in a great measure to decide the Fate of America, I must confess, I am not a little surprized to find an Officer of your Rank in the Army solliciting leave to resign his Commission, more especially considering the Predicament you are now in—I should rather hope that as you are so conscious of your innocence, you would urge an Inquiry into your Conduct to convince the World that the Complaints exhibited against you are totally groundless, and that the malice of your worst Enemies cannot do the least injury to your Reputation, which to a Soldier ought ever to be dearer than Life—I don’t know how far I can with propriety countermand the Order for the Court of Inquiry, as it is already given out in General Orders—however I will think of it and give you my answer to morrow.1 I am Sir Your humble Servant


LB, in George Lewis’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Ritzema wrote to GW’s aide-de-camp Richard Cary later this day: “His Excellency’s the Generals Answer to my Letter this Morning has so much weight with it, as to make me in some measure ashamed of my hasty Request, to which I was induced by the Advice of my Lt Colonel [Frederick Weissenfels]—You’ll therefore be pleased just to request of the General in my Behalf that No Matter to determine to Morrow” (DLC:GW). Ritzema left the Continental army in November 1776, and a short time later he joined the British army as a lieutenant colonel.

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