George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Maryland Officers, 16 July 1778

From Maryland Officers

Camp 16th July 1778


We beg leave to represent to your Excellency that our Service is rendered in some measure disagreeable by being subject to the Command of a Man who has incurred (as we presume) by his bad conduct a reputation incompatible with the Honor of the service.

Colo. Price has been branded with, and still lays under the appellation of a Coward, he has once had an examination into his Conduct, and then procured a declaration importing that nothing appeared militating against his Character as an Officer—This Decree we do Assert was procured from the humane feelings of those who were to have given evidence against him, but retired from the Court of enquiry on his promising to resign his Commission;1 His still continuing in the Service obliges us, in duty to our Country as Officers, and ourselves as gentlemen to request of your Excellency that measures may be taken, either for his justification or removal from the Command which he now holds.2

We hope your Excellency will not impute this address to any disposition for Cabal, for we do assure your Excellency no such motives actuate Your Excellency’s Most obedient Humble Servants

W. Richardson Colo. 5th M.R. Thos Woolford Lt Colo. 2d Maryd Regt

Jno. Gunby Coll 7th R. Jno. Steward Major 2 M.R.
Peter Adams L. Co. 7th M.R. Benjamin Ford Lt Colo. 6th M. Regt
Danl J. Adams Major Benjamin Brookes Capn Comdt 3 M.R.
Sam Smith Lt Coll 4th R. Levin Winder Captn Comt 1st M.R.3

LS, in William Richardson’s writing, DLC:GW.

1For the court of inquiry into the conduct of Col. Thomas Price, see General Orders, 17 and 23 Nov. 1777.

2GW’s secretary James McHenry wrote to these officers on 11 Aug.: “That your complaint of the 16th Ulto may be properly inquired into, you will please to make out the charges against Colonel Price, and have them transmitted to Head Quarters, when a Court martial will be ordered for his tryal” (DLC:GW). After the officers submitted charges in a letter to GW of 12 Aug. that has not been found, GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman wrote to Price on 13 Aug.: “Inclosed are the Charges made by Colo. Gunby and Lieus. Colo. Smith and Ford, in behalf of the Feild Officers of the Maryland line, against you. As the charges are to be materially supported by Colonels Gist and Stone and Lieut. Colo. Ramsay, His Excellency intends to postpone your trial untill their arrival, His Excellency orders me to transmit you a Copy of the Charges that you may prepare for your defence” (DLC:GW; see also McHenry to Maryland officers, 13 Aug., DLC:GW). Price apparently left camp for Philadelphia soon after to gather material for his defense (Otho Holland Williams to Elie Williams, 14 Aug., MdHi: Otho Holland Williams Papers). GW directed in the general orders of 19 Oct. that a court-martial be convened to try Price, and on 9 Nov. the colonel was acquitted of seven charges of cowardice and disgraceful behavior (see General Orders, 8 Jan. 1779).

3Levin Winder (1757–1819) of Somerset County, Md., was commissioned a lieutenant in Smallwood’s Maryland Regiment in January 1776 and a captain of the 1st Maryland Regiment in December of that year. His promotion to major of the 4th Maryland Regiment, which evidently occurred in the spring of 1779, was dated from 17 April 1777. Winder was wounded and taken prisoner at the Battle of Camden on 16 Aug. 1780, and although he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 2d Maryland Regiment in 1781, he remained a prisoner on parole as late as November 1782. He continued in the Continental service until April 1783. Winder was commissioned a major general of the Maryland militia in 1794. He also served in the Maryland legislature, 1789–93 and 1806–9, as governor of Maryland, 1812–16, and as a presidential elector supporting GW in 1792.

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