Head-Quarters, Morristown May 3rd 1777.
Parole: Wilmington.Countersign: Newcastle.
Major Painter is to superintend the Artificers, and Works, in and about Morristown, until further orders.1
Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. Congress on 18 Jan. 1777 resolved that Elisha Painter (d. 1781), whom it had appointed major of Col. Seth Warner’s Continental regiment on 5 July 1776, “be removed from any command” in that regiment because a dispute about his right to be major threatened to obstruct the raising of the regiment. GW was directed to appoint Painter “to such an office, as he shall judge him qualified to fill” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 7:47–48; see also ibid., 5:518, 754, Seth Warner to Congress, 10 Sept. 1776, DNA:PCC, item 58, and Painter’s memorials to Congress, 9 Dec. 1776, 21 April 1777, DNA:PCC, item 41). After investigating the matter further, Congress on 25 April determined that the objections to Painter’s appointment were “without any just foundation,” and it resolved that Painter should resume his position as major of Warner’s regiment “unless General Washington shall think proper to appoint him to some other office or employment in the army not inferior to his present rank” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 7:298). Painter had begun his military service in May 1775 as a Connecticut volunteer at Ticonderoga, and he had served as a captain in Col. James Easton’s regiment from 1 July to 31 Dec. 1775 and Gen. David Wooster’s provisional regiment in Canada from 1 Jan. to 15 April 1776 (see Painter’s memorial to the Board of War, 24 June 1776, DNA:PCC, item 42). Painter served as major of the artificers from this date to 28 Sept. 1778 when a court-martial at West Point convicted him of unauthorized absence and neglect of duty and sentenced him to be dismissed from the army (see General Orders, 13 Oct. 1778). Painter successfully appealed his conviction on grounds that the court-martial was irregularly constituted (see Painter’s memorial to GW, 14 Oct. 1778, General Orders, 28 Oct. 1778, and GW to William Malcom, 31 Oct. 1778, all in DLC:GW). Although Painter was granted a new trial, his case was still unresolved when he died in January 1781 (see William Heath to GW, 17–18 Jan. 1780, DLC:GW, and GW to Heath, 27 Jan. 1780, MHi: Heath Papers).