George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Heath, 16 December 1780

Head Quarters New Windsor Decr 16th 1780

Dear Sir

In answer to your favor of yesterday, I have to observe, that it appears to me there can be no propriety, in arresting an Officer, in ordinary cases, a long time before he can be brought to tryal; And that in the instance of Major Reed, upon his being brought before the Court, they would be the proper Judges, whether the Proceedings should be postponed, ’till further evidence was obtained. In the mean time, I see no reason why he should be detained in more rigid confinement than is commonly practiced in cases of arrest.

With respect to Joshua Ferris, Notwithstanding there is no doubt of the justice of the former sentence against him—it may possibly be best to suspend the matter, to inquire further into his character, and let the sentence still hang over him.

I have taken Measures to know what Boards can be spared by the Quarter Master General, for the purposes you mention.

If any Deserters should come from the Enemy, you will be pleased to order them to be sent to Head Quarters. I am Dear Sir With very great regard Your Most Obed. Hble Servt

Go: Washington

MHi: Heath Papers.

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