George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Abraham Wood, 19 November 1780

Novembr 19th 1780

May it Please your Excellency

I most humbly beg leave to Lay my case before you; my wif keeping a tavern as She has done these many years for the Support of herself & Children; it happned on the 10th of this month there Came 4 men in Plain well dress’d Cloath to the house at the time I was abroad & ask my wife for entertainment. They Satt up till after 9 OClock Paid their Reckoning and was going to bed as I Came home, from my next Neighbours a dispute arose about the Quality of whatches; one of them said he was Soldier and Called another Serjant to Certify it. I told him my wife did not entertain Soldiers, he gave a great deal Insolent Language till I was Oblig’d to Confine him and ordered the other away, the Serjt beg’d he & the Rest [ megh] not be sent to the Barracks as they had no Blanketts that they was four Volenteers from Virginia come to Coll Feibiger for Clothing for his Regt. Some Officers in the house Pleaded with my wife to let them Stay all Night gave them leave & lent them Blankets; they staid all night and went away early in the morning: & Complaind to Coll Febiger that one of their Party was Confin’d; but when I got up I Releas’d him on Promise of his good behaviour; Coll Febiger acquainted Coll Nicola that one of his men was confin’d the Coll Sent & Enquired & found he had been releas’d before the Report was sent in. Coll Nicola glad of the oppertunity sent his Clark about to Inquire for the men & on enquiry found three of them had been entertain’d all Night in my house; for which he was Pleas’d to Put me under Arrestt; the tryal came on on the 14th I being Very much Afflicted with a Nervous fever & Rhumatick Pains could [scarcely] attend; the Court being Satt I Objected to Coll Fibiger as he Coll Fibiger was first complain’d to, the Court thought my objections not Sufficient, he sat as President, after Coll Nicolas Prosecution I beg to be be Indulged with Some time to bring in my defence, Mr President granted me untill the morrow Morning at 10 OClock I did not Receive a Copy as the President had ordered the judge advocate to Send me one untill 9 at Night at which time I was Greatly Afflicted with the fever & Pains in my head & Breast: in the morning I found my self so bad I Could Scarce see out of my eys, & unable to make out my Defence by the time appointed I Sent a Note to the President & Court Informing them of my Great Indisposition & beg’d their further Indulgence a few hours I Soon Receiv’d an Answer I must Attend Imeadiately; my fever going off I got into a Great Sweat; I sent my Resspects to the Court & Inform’d them I could not Imeadiatly, without hazarding my life Coll Nicola sent his Doctor & the judge advocate came with him [he] the Doctor Sent me some Powders Directly, I was then [waited] on by Coll Nicola the Judge advocate & Lieut. Honeyman who said they Came by order of the Court to take down my defence [freely] giving it & told them my head was too much Disstres’d to give it at that time & beg they would Allow me a few hours untill about 3 OClock & if Able I would do it if not I would get Somebody to do it for me; the Judgeadvocate Agreed to my Proposal on behalph of of the Court & said then you’l send it in. I answer’d if God Spares me; as they went away I heard Coll Nicola Say an Imediate Example in his Discource but Little thought of my Self at the time which I afterwards found to be the Case. I had my defence Ready by about one OClock & a Serjt came & took it for me to the Courtmartial [   ] he soon Return’d & told me the Adjutant Inform’d him the Court was over; not knowing weather he meant Adjourned or disolv’d I told him to take my Defence Down to the Presi[dents ]Quarters;s I was waited upon by two of the Members & they Inform’d me the Court was Disolv’d; Suprised at this Information I Acquainted them my Defence was Ready long ago & Sent on two hours before the time Agreed to betwen the Judgeadvocate and my Self; I then found my Cause was made an Imediate example of by Some Misrepresentation; (or no friend of mine Since I was unable to give in my Defence I cannot Properly find out) I hope your Excellency will take my Case into your Consideration; Contious of having ever done my Duty as a Soldier & Officer in the field with honour & Reputation, to Certify which I would Call upon General Wayne Colls Johnston and Robinson & all the Officers of the Pennsa Line thats Acquainted with me Perticqularly the 5th Pennsa Regt to which I formerly belong’d; before my wounds & Infirmites OCasioned me to be transfer’d to the Corps of Invalids Commanded by Coll Nicola who has Put me Under an Arrest on Account of my wife keeping Tavern & he Says Shuffleboard which has been Down Long before my Arrest: Coll Nicola has Stood & Look’d at Gentlemen Amusing themselves at it above Eighteen months ago & made not the Least Mention of it untill my Arrest; if I must Leave the Service after Serving my Country Near five years I hope your Excellency will Allow me to Resign. I am with Gratitude & Esteem your Excellencys ever Obedient and Very Humbl Servt

Abrm Wood Lt Invd Reg.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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