George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major James Randolph Reid, 7 December 1780

From Major James Randolph Reid

[Fishkill, N.Y., 7 Dec. 1780]. Reid asserts that Col. Moses Hazen’s court-martial “for cheating the soldiers of his Regiment” convinced the court of his guilt, “but the proof was insufficient to convict him.”1 Reid reiterates complaints against Hazen, ranging from nepotism to fraud, and appeals to GW to “see the proceedings, which will sufficiently prove that my representation is not the effect of passion or disappointment.” Hazen then retaliated against Reid by coming to Fishkill and putting him “in Arrest upon three general Charrges without particularizing a single fact.”2 He also confined Reid to his “Tent or Quarters.” Reid begs GW to appoint a court to sit for his “tryal as soon as convenient” with “the same limits which the custom of the Army allows Officers in Arrest.” Reid fears that Hazen intended to keep him “in Arrest all Winter and by going into my own Country will rivet such prejudices as innocence herself cannot get the better of whilst I am untryed upon his black list of charrges.”3


1See Hazen to GW, 12 Nov., and the notes to that document.

2Hazen had written Maj. Gen. William Heath from Fishkill on 5 Dec.: “I have been under the disagreeable Necessity of arresting Major Reid on the following Charges, viz:

“‘First, For Disobedience of Orders and unmilitary Conduct.

“‘Secondly, for defrauding the United States, or the Regiment, or a Part of the Regiment, in which you hold a Public Office, and embezzeling or misapplying Public Property; and

“‘Thirdly, For un-officer- and un-gentleman-like Conduct or Behaviour.’

“I shall endeavour to collect the Evidence in Support of the several Charges with all possible Dispatch, and as soon as that can be accomplished I shall propose to Major Reid the bringing on the Trial; hope we may be ready for a hearing by the latter End of this or the Beginning of next Month” (MHi: Heath Papers). Heath subsequently wrote Hazen from West Point on 11 Dec.: “Major Reid has acquainted His Excellency General Washington with the tenor of his arrest, it is his Excellencys Opinion that Major Reid ought to be brought to trial immediately or the arrest be withdrawn untill there is a Certainty when the proofs will be ready” (MHi: Heath Papers; see also GW to Heath, 10 Dec.).

3Reid’s court-martial commenced on 21 Dec. and resulted in his conviction subject only to a reprimand (see Heath to GW, 15 Dec., and his second letter to GW, 18 Dec., n.2; see also General Orders, 18 Feb. 1781, and Everest, Moses Hazen description begins Allan S. Everest. Moses Hazen and the Canadian Refugees in the American Revolution. Syracuse, N.Y., 1976. description ends , 86–88).

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