George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Daniel Brodhead, 13 October 1780

To Colonel Daniel Brodhead

Head Quarters near Passaic Falls
13th October 1780.

Dear Sir

Your favors of the 18th and 21st of August reached my hands a few days before I sat out for Harford to meet the French Admiral and General.1 This has occasioned their remaining unanswered to this time. I have approved the sentences of the Court Martial against Capt. Beal—Peter Davis of the 9th Virginia and David Gamble of the 8th Penna Regiment—Gamble appearing to me the most proper object for an example, I have directed his execution. The time and place is left to your option The Adjutant General transmits you the extract from General Orders respecting the above.2

I am sorry that I cannot, considering the former good character of Capt. Beal, comply with the recommendation of the Court in his favor. The circumstance of his receiving the Grain and Rifle Gun for transferring Mr Cloud to another Corps is so inconsistent with the character of an Officer, that I cannot, with any degree of propriety, reinstate him.

I return you part of the proceedings of a Court Martial upon John Gosset of the 9th Virginia Regt: I imagine the remainder has been left out when your packet was made up.3

The want of provision is a clog to our operations in every quarter. We have several times, in the course of this Campaign, been without either Bread or Meat, and have never had more than four or five days beforehand. The smallness of your force will not admit of an expedition of any consequence, had you Magazines. You must therefore, of necessity, confine yourself to partizan strokes, which I wish to see encouraged.

The State of Virginia are very desirous of an expedition against Detroit, and would make great exertions to carry it into execution.4 But while the enemy are so formidable to the southward, and are making such strides in that quarter, I fear it will require a greater force of Men and supplies to check them than we, since the defeat near Campden, shall be able shortly to draw together. I am Dear Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. since writing the foregoing, I have received your favors of the 5th 14th and 17th Septemr. Your distress for provision, considering the distance you are from supplies and the approach of Winter is very alarming; and I shall therefore take the earliest opportunity of laying before Congress the situation of the Garrison, and the necessity which there seems to be of furnishing the department with more certain means of procuring provisions, than a bare dependance upon the requisitions made from the States.5 Necessity must in the mean time justify the measure of taking by impress what the inhabitants can spare.

When the Court Martial have finished the business before them, it may be dissolved.

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, NNGL, on deposit at NNPM; Df, DLC:GW; copy, PHi: Washington Manuscripts; copy, WHi: Draper Collection; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

2This document has not been identified, but see General Orders, this date, and n.3 to that document.

3John Gossett (1753–1820) later served as a private with the 7th Virginia Regiment at Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania. He swore an affidavit signed with his mark in Washington County, Ohio, on 25 July 1820 that he had enlisted in 1776 and farmed until “unable to perform any labor in consequence of Old age and infirmity” (DNA: RG 15, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files).

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