To Brigadier General Charles Scott
Head Quarters Fredericksburg 10th Otbr 1778
I received yours of yesterdays date with its several inclosures this morning.
The sentance of death passed by the Court on Elisha Smith of Colo. Sheldons Regiment seems sufficiently clear and well founded—you will therefore be pleased to direct his execution agreeable to your own desire and the tenor of his warrant which is inclosed—The example being made where the opportunity to desert is greatest, may have a good tendency in checking so pernicious a practice.1
It will be necessary to make some change in the relay of expresshorsemen—some of those on this duty have been very irregular and faulty in its discharge—Let it be the business of an Officer to put such on this service as are steady, sober, and attentive—He will also place them in a more direct line between this and Bedford, as I have removed from Fishkill to my old quarters. I am Sir your most Obt servt.
Df, in James McHenry’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. The enclosed warrant, which apparently set 12 Oct. as Smith’s execution date, has not been identified (see General Orders, this date, and Scott to GW, 13 Oct. [first letter]). The execution date subsequently was reset, apparently to 17 Oct. (see Scott to GW, 13 Oct. [first letter] and 15 Oct. [second letter]). For Josiah Stoddard’s unsuccessful effort to obtain a reprieve for Smith, see his letter to GW of 15 Oct., and GW’s reply to Stoddard of 17 October.