Highlands June 18th 1782
The enclosed was sent me this morning—I have requested the Quarter Master to furnish Captn Smith with a horse to pursue the two Sergeants. I am sorry to find, as your Excellency will observe by the last return, the increase of desertions. There is most certainly a great uneasiness in the Army, on account of the long arrears of pay—the uneasiness is increased by the late frequent scantiness of provissions in which the Troops have repeatedly experienced pinching want—if those wants proceed from inevitable public embarrassments, they are a misfortune to be lamented—but if they proceed from negligence in the Contractors, it is intollerable: to say nothing of empty Magazines at all the Posts—it is Driving the Army to trials too severe for human nature. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect your Excellency’s most Obedient Servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
Garrison West-Point June 18th 1782.
I take this earliest opportunity of reporting to you the desertion of 2 Serjeants in the 1st company in the 5th Mass regiment which took place yesterday noon. Capt. Smith, would undertake to follow them & endeavour to secure them, but being unprovided with a horse & money, & unable to get any, wishes to have your advice & assistance in the matter, in which I likewise request your concurrence. I have the honour to be Your most obedient Servt
Lieut. Colo. comand of 5th Mass. regiment
P.S. About 2 weeks ago one Serjeant & one Corporal deserted, & we hear are now with the enemy.