George Washington Papers

General Orders, 22 April 1781

Head Quarters New Windsor Sunday April 22d 1781

Parole. [          ]
Countersigns. [          ]

John Williams alias Andrew Forster soldier in the 6th Massachusetts’ regiment tried the 19th instant by the general court martial whereof Major Graham is President for "Desertion" was found Guilty and sentenced to suffer Death more than two thirds of the court agreeing.

The Commander in Chief approves the sentence and orders him to be executed on Tuesday next.

Mr William Hutton Provost Marshal of the army was tried the 21st instant by the same general court martial for "Refusing to execute the office of Provost Marshal in the execution of John Walker alias Robert Maples agreeable to His Excellency’s Warrant to him for that purpose.

The Court are of opinion that the reasons Mr Hutton offered are sufficient to excuse his refusal.

The Commander in Chief is sorry to be under the necessity of disapproving the Sentence of the Court who seem to have been misled by Mr Hutton’s testimony "That he has only been appointed Provost Marshal the day before and that previous to that time he had acted as a Volunteer": it is true that Mr Hutton had not been appointed in orders as principal in the office ’till the time he mentions but he had for some time past been considered as a deputy—had performed the duties—and drawn pay.

To allow such a precedent as Mr Hutton contends for to be established might upon future occasion operate seriously should a criminal of consequence require a hasty execution.

In the Civil line a High Sheriff whose office is of a similar nature to that of Provost Marshal in the military is obliged to execute his Warrant himself if he cannot procure a common Executioner.

Mr Hutton is dismissed from his office.

Agreeable to the orders of the 3d of September last, the men draughted from the line into the Corps of Sappers and Miners were to draw pay as a seperate corps from the 1st of August last inclusive—of course they are to be considered as transferred from the Corps to which they originally belonged and struck off their Muster rolls from that period—The officer commanding the Corps of Sappers and Miners will make regular Weekly and Monthly returns of that Corps to the Orderly Office.

A Corporal and three men to be sent to New Windsor as a Guard for the Paymaster General.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

Index Entries