George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major Henry Lee, Jr., 10 July 1779

To Major Henry Lee, Jr.

Head Quarters New-Windsor 10th July 1779


I have this moment received your letter of the 9th.1 I wish mine of the same date had gotten to hand before the transaction you mention had taken place—I fear it will have a bad effect both in the Army and in the Country—I would by no means have you to carry into execution your plan of diversifying the punishment, or in any way to exceed the spirit of my instruction yesterday—And even the measure I have authorised ought to be practiced with great caution. I am Sir Your most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. You will send & have the Body buried lest it fall into the enemy’s hands.

LS, in Caleb Gibbs’s writing, Vi; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1This letter has not been found, but it evidently reported the summary execution of a deserter, which Capt. Allen McLane reported in his journal entry for 8 July: “Liut Reads party took three Deserters from the 1st penselva Regt Close by Stony point two Irishmen and one native he had the native Shot and his head Sent to Major Lee by his orders (NHi: McLane Papers; see also Lee to GW, 11 July).

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