George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Richard Butler, 28 March 1782

Carlisle 28th March 1782


I have the honour to inclose your Excellency the proceedings of [the] general court-martial held at this post from the 19 Inst. (by [   ] adjournments) to the 25th Inclusive, by which your Excellency [will] observe that only three prisoners Viz. John Harling, William Compton and Hugh Smith have had trial—the prisoner John Harling is capitally convicted on his own confession—indeed it would not have been in the power of the judge Advocate to have proven any more than the desertion against him had he not voluntarily confessd the other Charges Comptan & Smith are found guilty also. The other three Viz. Francis Smith, John Winslow, & John Fitzgerald I thought left to refer to the commdrs of the Garison for want of Evidence (though I believe they are bad men) and have recommended to Col. W. Butler to make a merit of necessity and try what forgiveness may do though I must say I have little hope of its good effect as chief of the Soldiery here are Abandon’d to evry Vice & are become a real pest to the inhabitants notwithstanding the greatest care & attention of the Officers, [Exclusive] of punishment.

I would ere this have formd them into Squads under the officers that are to march them to the Southern Army as particular command has generally a better effect on men than promiscuous command, but they are destitute of every kind of Cloathing & blankets, this prevents me puting them to drill which Shall be done as Soon as the cloathing Arives.

Yesterday I was hond with your Excellencys letter of the 14th wherein you are pleasd to mention having Ordered the Recruits to join me, Also Arms Accoutrats & Camp Equipage, none of the latter articles are yet Arivd & but few of the men, I shall be glad to know if it is your Excellencys intention that the Artilly & Dragoons march with the others as you were most articulat on that point when I had the honr of Seeing you last.

I have wrote Col. Hampton on the subject of cloathing & pressd him to forward on the men as your Excellency wishes, & Shall Spare no pains to have them ready to move as Soon as the Necessaries Arrive.

The Season for buisiness is aproaching fast and I am really impatient to join my Battalln as Soon as it may be agreeable to your Excellency to forward your commands, & flatter myself my health is so well establishd as to be able to do any kind of duty.

Inclosd is the total number of men at this post exclusive of what may be at York Reading Lancaster and Philada from which I am inducd to conclude that General Irvine has rather over rotated the number that will be fit to march except I take the Officers [   ] the greater part of them.

I beg leave to wish your Excellency health & Success & to assure you Sir that I am with Every Sentiment of Respect and friendship, Your Excellencys most Obedt and very Hble St

Richd Butler Col. 5th P. Regt

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Carlisle March 28th 1782

14 Servents

21 Drum & Fifes

104 Rank & File [   ] agreeable to the Provision Return.

John Piatt Lt & Adjt.

R. Butler Col 5th P. Regt.

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