George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Charles Scott, 13 October 1778

From Brigadier General Charles Scott

Near Bedford [N.Y.] October 13th 1778 12 oClock


Your Excellencys letter inclosing a Warrant For the Execution of Elisha Smith, was this day handed me by a Deputy Qr Master from Fish Kills. the Day being past which the Warrant point[s] out for His Execution, before it reached me, I am at a loss To know how to proceed. Fearfull I may commit a Blunder wish to have Your Excellencys farther instructions Respecting the matter.1

Being sensable of the inattention of the expresses posted on the roads immediatly Upon the Rect of Your Excellencys letter informing Me of Your return to Fredricksburg,2 I dispatched An officer with four of the Best Men we could Git from the Brigade of horse, for Expresses with orders to keep one Horse Constantly Saddled and in perfect readiness To move with any Dispatches Ither from Head Qrs To me, or from me to Your Excellency. and so soon as he had posted them to Make known at Head Qrs the Stages, and then Return by way of Peaks kills and Bring in with him those Hors men posted on that Road, I shall make more particular inquiery about the Delay of the letter Inclosing the warrant and if the Delinquent can be discoverd he Shall be Punished with the utmost Severity.

Inclosd Your Excellency will receive a letter of Colo. Armands Giving an Acct of his Surprizing one of the enemys Picquits.3 I am Your Excellencys Obt Servant

Chs Scott


1Although the warrant that GW had enclosed in his letter to Scott of 10 Oct. has not been identified, it apparently had set 12 Oct. as Smith’s execution date (see General Orders, 10 Oct.). In a letter written on 14 Oct. that has not been found, GW sent Scott a second warrant, which also has not been identified, apparently setting 17 Oct. as the new execution date (see Scott to GW, 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.

2Scott is referring to GW’s letter to him of 8 October.

3Instead of enclosing Armand’s letter to him of 12 Oct. concerning the surprise attack of that date on a Hessian picket, Scott accidently enclosed an undated letter that Armand had written him sometime earlier this month about reconnaissance in the vicinity of Tarrytown and the deplorable negligence of American sentinels at Clapp’s tavern. That letter is in DLC:GW, series 4, with the documents for 13 October. Scott corrected his error by enclosing Armand’s letter of 12 Oct. in his second letter to GW of this date.

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