George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Christopher Greene, 14 October 1780

From Colonel Christopher Greene

Newport 14th Octr 1780


When Genl Heath left this post, the Command of the American Troops devolved on me—The difficulty of geting Supplies of provisions has been such, that we have been often Almost Intirely without. This has greatly retarded the completion of the very Important work at Butt’s Hill, where the three Militia from the Massachusetts State have been Imployed; Their time of Service expires the first of next month, I am confident they will not be able to put the Fort in a defencible State by that time1—Should your Excellency not call my Regiment to join the Army They will undoubtedly be very Usefully Imployed in making it so—I wish to know your Excellency’s pleasure as to our Staying here or joining the Army. If we Stay in this State, in what part of it to take winter Quarters—As The Season is far Advanced and the Times of the Six Months Levies expires the first of Jany perhaps the Short time they have to serve may be as Useful here as with the Army,2 though for my Own part I ever wished to be with the Army.

Winsor Fry whom your Excelleny gave a Warrant for Executing Dated on The 1st Day of June last, for Breaking Open the Commissaries Store and Stealing, Made his escape before the Warrant came to hand, Was Taken up and Sent to me about a fortnight Since—It is a doubt with me whether the executing him now wou’d have the same effect on Others as if I had it in my power to have put it in Immediate execution nor do I think an example of the kind So necessary now as then—An unwillingness to take life when it can possibly be Avoided Consistant with the general good, Induces me to Beg your Excellency to pardon him.3 I have the Honor to be with the Greatest Respect Your Excellencys Most Obt Servt

C. Greene

ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection.

3GW replied to Greene from headquarters near Passaic Falls on 21 Oct.: “I have received your favr of the 14th. I had determined not to march the Levies, attached to your Regiment, to the Army, as their term of service was so nearly expired; and as Count Rochambeau expressed a wish that the Regiment might remain with him, I assured him that it should not be ordered away while he thought it of any service to him. Your stay will therefore depend upon circumstances.

“As I never wish to inflict a punishment, especially capital, but for the sake of example, and as you seem to think the execution of Windsor Fry not so necessary upon that account, now, as it was before, you have my consent to pardon him” (LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, CSmH; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also GW to Rochambeau, 10 Oct.). For Pvt. Windsor Fry, a black soldier, see Greene to GW, 27 March, and n.3; see also General Orders, 28 May.

Index Entries