George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Captain Robert Campble, 22 September 1779

From Captain Robert Campble

Camp West point [N.Y.] September 22nd 1779.


I now beg Leave to remind Your Excellency of my procedure after having made my Escape from New York. An Officer who made his Escape at the same Time with myself, upon our Arrival at Head Quarters, and making our Report, it was settled in the following Manner Viz.—That the other Officer should retire to his respective Abode, and remain until called for, on my being asked whether I meant to retire from the Army, or take the Field, I informed I intended joining my Regiment immediately—All the Family (and other Gentlemen present) said my Conduct was highly justifiable, and my being permitted to do Duty, with the other Occurrences Since, convinces me I was not on Parole.1

As a Board of Officers have previously sat, and gave their Opinion relative to my Situation2 (solely thro’ Mr Loring’s Representation) I must beg Your Excellency would indulge me with now ordering a Board of Officers to take into Cognizance the Representation I shall lay befoer them, as I flatter myself I can produce such Evidence as may make my Situation appear in a Light widely different from that represented by Mr Loring.

Should your Excellency not incline to grant this Indulgence; I would then (from the peculiar Circumstances of my Situation) request the Favor of remaining at home, and have an Officer of equal Rank sent in on paro⟨le⟩ which I should not think prejudicial to any Officer in Captivity.3 I have the Honor to remain Your Excellencies most obt servt

Robt Campble Capt.


1In his letter of 12 July to John Beatty, commissary general of prisoners, GW identified Robert Campble as one of two officers who had made their escape from the enemy but were considered prisoners in violation of their paroles.

2The board of general officers, which GW had ordered to examine the cases of those alleged by the British to have violated their paroles, had determined that Campble “was not justifiable in coming away” and, therefore, ought to be accounted as having broken his parole (see GW to a Board of General Officers, 25 June, and a Board of General Officers to GW, 28 June). GW had recently written the state governors regarding officers in violation of their paroles (see his second circular to the states of 26 Aug.).

3After considering his case, GW decided that Campble had not broken his honor in making his escape and allowed him to remain at home on parole (see GW to Campble, 25 Sept.; see also GW to Beatty, 29 Sept.).

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