George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heath, 5 April 1781

West point April 5. 1781.

Dear General,

I take the liberty to inclose the protest of a number of officers of Colonel Hazen’s regiment against the conduct of Major Reid, in his defence before a general Court-martial some time since—it was presented to me during your Excellency’s absence. As Major Reid has been and still is absent, nothing has been done respecting it.

While your Excellency was absent, a Capt. Simmons of Colo. Delancy’s corps left his corps, and was conducted to me—he pretended to have been for some time friendly disposed to our cause—and that he had given some marks of it in his treatment of certain persons, who were sent to Frogs-neck as spies—that he had finally taken the resolution to change sides, &c. I said but little to him, having no opinion of such sort of people, but sent him to Governor Clinton. Simmons having been an inhabitant of the state of New York before his appearing in arms against his country—and as he pretended, wishing again to return to his allegiance—he soon returned from Albany, by permission of Governor Clinton, and has even since been on or about the lines—has been endeavouring to raise a party of men to harrass the enemy—and has intimated that he has expectations, that part of his officers and company would probably come off. The staunch friends to our cause, who reside near the lines, express much uneasiness at his being there, and cannot put any confidence in him. Indeed I think, unless there is the most perfect assurance that he is attached to our cause, it is a place by no means proper to trust him. I should instantly order him away myself, was it not for the permission he has from the Governor; which induces me to submit the matter to your Excellency’s consideration.

An officer from the water guard the last night informed me that Capt. Blanch of the Jersey militia, was on saturday last two miles below Bergen town—and from the most critical observation he could make, could discover but four square rigged vessels in the harbor of New York. I received no other intelligence or papers—expect some to day or to morrow. I have sent orders for the gun boat to come up and take station agreeable to your directions off Fort Montgomery.

Nine men belonging to a company of artillery stationed at the redoubts on the east side of the river, deserted the last night—they belong to Pennsylvania, as do the rest of the company. Whether they are gone to the enemy, or towards Philadelphia is uncertain—it is thought the latter. Steps are taken to apprehend them if possible. I have the honor to be With the greatest respect Your Excellency’s Most obedient servant,

W. Heath

P.S. The inclosed from Capt. Fogg, was sent the last evening by Major Morrel. If the public allow a reward for apprehending deserters, probably the persons mentioned by Capt. Fogg deserve it as much as any persons whatever: and encouraging the militia below to detect deserters, may tend much to deter them from desertion.


DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Fish Kill March 3. 1781—


Having Perused with regret, and concern, a Late Performance, before a General Court Martial held at West Point, whereof Colo. John Greaton was President, signed by Major James R. Reid of our Regiment, called his Defence, in a Prosecution, at the Instance of Colo. Hazen, on Charges then Exhibited against him.

Shocked at the Indecent reflections, Illiberal Sentiments, and pointed Impeachments, contained in Major Reids performance, foreign to the Charges, on which he was Prosecuted, Criminating a greater number of the Officers of the Regiment, In which he holds a Commission, and in Consequence, finding ourselves sensibly affected, we are necessarily oblidged, In Justice to Ourselves, to our Country, and to the service in which we are employed, to Declare most Solemnly, that we Are, and ever have been, totally Ignorant, of the Aspertions, In his Defence Contained, and that they are in General, so far from the Line of truth, that we find ourselves, obliged, to Decline doing any kind of Military Duty, with, or under Major James R. Reid, unless, he shall support his assertions, at a public hearing: These our sentiments, we beg you will Communicate, to his Excellency, or in his Absence, to the Next Commanding Officer, to Colo. Hazen, and to Major Reid.

Clement Gosselin Capt. Jos: Torrey Major
Noah Lee Capt. O. Livea Capt.
Antoine Paulint Capt. William Satterlee Capt.
Willm Munson Capt. Richard Lloyd Capt.
Benjamin Mooers Lt & Adjutt Germain [Diormi] Lieut.
Alexander Ferriol Lieut. L. Martin Lieut.
Francis Gilmant Lieut. Mk McPherson Ensign
L. Gosselin Ensign Amable [Boileau] Ensign


Coldenham March 7th 1781

Worthy Sir,

I received a day or two ago a letter of which the Inclosed is a Copy. I have inclosed another to Col. Hazen and shall Transmitt one to Major Reid by the first opportunity of which I request your Honor to inform me.

The decisive oppinion of the Subscribers must be new to You, tho the Subject matter on which they have taken it could not have escaped You. It is not for me as matters stand to Determine, on the propriety, of the steps or dictate measures: that rests, with your superior Knowledge & Understanding. I am sorry to say, that Major Reid has so far departed from his millitary Character has to have endeavoured by his inflamatory Expressions to destroy that Confidence the Commanding Officer of every Corps ought to possess. I have the Honor to be with perfect Esteem & Regard Your most Obedt and Very Hble Servt

Edwd Antill


Bedford April 2d 1781

Dear Sir

By a Serjeant and four privates I send you two Prisoners, deserted from Capt. Hix’s company at the Bridge—they were taken very early this Morning in a swamp by the Militia guard—acknowledge they left the bridge last night, and when first taken, that they were going to the enemy—Names, John McCormick and Wm Boyd—That panic which commonly attends desertion and other acts of Perjury seized them at the approach of two Militia men and one of them without arms: they resigned without Opposition—The Address of the Captors viz. James King and Moses Crissy I think deserves the Generals Notice—They claim a right to the Arms and Accoutrements The Claimants want the Arms and would doubtless make good use of them; but a quantum would satisfy them which I tell them is the most they can expect—The Bedford Militia are brave and firm, and deserve all the protection our Army can give them. hope therefore in a short time our command will be enlarged to inable them to sleep with their wives at least once a week without fear—Such Separations, should the War continue a Century, might prove fatal in point of Propagation—Mr Kipp is frequently up with Parties of horse to the plains committing Acts of plunder and desolation and as warm Weather is coming on I feel in some degree savage, and propose from some commodious lurking place to act a little Indian—such a mode of fighting, however low in contending with an honourable enemy is well adapted to such spurious Corps.

I likewise send you a Lad quite unfit for my command—young and slack twisted at best; he could not be prevailed on to stand Sentry last night but cry’d like [a] lusty fellow—he may serve to rock your landlady’s cradle or guard the commissary’s stores—seems calculated to defend a Kegg of rum or a suet pudding equal to any lad of his age. Your h’ble Servant

Jere. Fogg Capt.

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