George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 7 November 1779

From Major General William Heath

Camp Pecks kill [N.Y.] Novr 7. 1779

Dear General,

We have in the provost here a soldier belonging to Lt Colo. Pawlings Corps of New York Levies, Confined for repeated desertions & other enormities. Lt Colo. Pawling desires he may be tried by Court Martial and asserts that he is subject to be tried and punished in the same manner Continental Soldiers are. As the Levies are at Some times sent into the Field under particular conditions of trial and punishment, I wish for your Excellencys opinion and direction with respect to this Corps and the trial of the Culprit, and that by the return of the Express if your Excellency pleases. The Crime with which the Culprit is charged is capital there are not more than six or seven Commissiond Officers of the Regt with it.1

We are momently expecting intelligence from below—if any is received, it shall be forwarded immediately. I have the honor to be, With the Greatest respect Your Excellency’s Most obedient Servt

W. Heath

DfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1A court-martial held at “Camp Peekskill” on 8 Nov., with Lt. Col. Isaac Sherman as president, tried Pvt. Josiah Gains “for deserting three different times.” Gains “pleaded not Guilty as to One Charge of desertion, but Confesseth twice deserting from the Regt and Once that he Escaped from the Major of the Regiment. after being Taken up as A Deserter—The Prisoner in his defence says he left the Corps for want of Cloathing.” Found guilty, Gains was sentenced “to receive One Hundred Lashes on his Naked Back” (MHi: Heath Papers).

Josiah Gains (Gane) had enlisted on 1 May 1779 and served in “Capt. Robert Wood’s Company of New Levies in the Regiment commanded by Lieut. Col. Albert Pawling.” He was held “Under Guard” during September and October (DNA: RG 93, Compiled Revolutionary War Military Service Records, 1775–1783, Albert Pawling’s Militia Regiment).

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