George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel William Shepard, 5 February 1781

To Colonel William Shepard

Head Quarters New Windsor Feby 5th 1781


You will be pleased to Order a General Court Martial to sit at Springfield or such place as will be most centrical & convenient, for the tryal of John Collins late Dep. Com. M. Stores.1 The Court to be compossed of the Officers of Sheldons Regt, or others in the Vicinity. The charge will be exhibited & testimony adduced by Ezekiel Chevers Esqr. D.C.M.S.2

Enclosed you will find the Copy of a Resolution of Congress of the 22nd Augst for the Tryal of Delinquents in the Department of Commissy Genl of Military Stores3—also a Letter from Mr Collins to Me in4 which he acknowleges, his having taken some public Salt Petre5—You will transmit the Proceedings of the Court to Me—when the tryal is finished.6 I am Sir Your Very Hble Servt.

Df, in David Humphreys’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Shepard replied to GW on 20 Feb. from Springfield, Mass.: “I Recivd your Excellencys Letter of the 5 of Febry—have Duly observ’d the Contents—Shall transmit to your Excellency the proceedings of the Courtmartial as soon as the trial is over” (ALS, DLC:GW).

1For the background of this case, see Ezekiel Cheever to GW, 2 Dec. 1780 and 13 Jan. 1781; see also John Collins to GW, 16 Feb. 1781.

2For Collins’s trial and conviction for fraud and breaking arrest, see General Orders, 23 March; see also Cheever to GW, 10 March (DLC:GW).

3For this act of Congress, see Samuel Huntington to GW, 24 Aug. 1780, n.3; see also General Orders, 6 Sept. 1780. The court-martial determined that this act did not apply to Collins’s case (see General Orders, 23 March).

4Humphreys lined out this word on the draft, apparently in error.

5Collins’s letter to GW has not been found, but it was likely dated 24 Jan. or 3 Feb. (see Collins to GW, 16 Feb.).

6Shepard transmitted the results of the court-martial to GW on 7 March (DLC:GW).

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