George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heath, 20 April 1781

West point April 20. 1781.

Dear General,

This being the day appointed by your Excellency’s orders, for the execution of Robert Maples, alias John Walker, and Nathan Gale, directions were given for the necessary preparations to be made—and the troops have been paraded. Mr Hutton the Provost-marshal, who had received your Excellency’s warrants for the execution of the culprits, has attended—but has refused to perform the execution himself, and has not provided any other person. The Deputy Adjutant-general would have furnished him with one if to be found, rather than let the execution pass: but it has been impracticable. I conceive it to be the undoubted duty of the Provost-marshal to perform the execution himself if he does not procure some other person, as it is the duty of the High-Sheriff to execute criminals in his county. I have sent Mr Hutton in arrest to your Excellency, to be dealt with for his disobedience as you may think proper. The day will be so far spent, that it will not be possible to perform the execution to day. The whole is submitted to your Excellencys further directions. I have the honor to be with the greatest regard, Your Excellencys Most obedient servant

W. Heath

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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