George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General William Maxwell, 7 April 1779

To Brigadier General William Maxwell

Head Quarters Middlebrook 7th April 1779.


I have been favored with your letter of yesterday, and its inclosures.

You will be pleased to have the circumstances of the loss of the water-guard, as well ascertained as possible—Should the officer have exceeded his orders; or imprudently left1 his post—altho’ we cannot punish him at present, yet it is necessary that the matter should be known2—Could any thing make an impression on some of our officers—this might serve as an example for guards of the same nature to confine themselves strictly and invariably to the objects of their orders. I am &


Df, in James McHenry’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. In the left margin of the draft manuscript, McHenry wrote and then struck out the following sentence: “we have no punishment too severe for those who suffer an avoidable surprise.”

1On the draft manuscript, McHenry inadvertently retained the word “in” when he revised this phrase from the original wording: “acted imprudently in leaving.”

2Maxwell provided additional details about the capture of Lt. James Paul’s party in his letter to GW of 8 April (DLC:GW).

Index Entries