George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 3 August 1779

To Major General William Heath

Head Quarters West Point August 3d 1779

Dr Sir,

I received your favor of this morning accompanied by a Deserter.1

You will be pleased agreeable to a General order Issued a long time since to have the deserters you mention tried by their own Brigade Courts Martial2—This mode was adopted to expedite business, & the Brigadier enpowered except in capital cases or where Officers are concerned & the sentences extend to Cashierment to approve or disapprove them. I am Dr Sir Yr Most Obet, servant

Go: Washington

LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW signed the cover of the LS.

1Heath wrote to GW on this date from Mandeville’s in Dutchess County, N.Y.: “I forward a German deserter who came in the last evening.

“There are Some prisoners confined on this Side of the river, one in General Nixons Brigade for desertion, and two for attempting to desert Is it your Excellencys pleasure that they be Tryed, at a Brigade, Division or wing Court Martial, or that they be Sent over and Tryed by a General Court Martial of the Line” (ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers).

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