Kingston 17th March 1783.
Inclosed I transmit your Excellency some Depositions which were taken on an Inquiry, I directed to be made relative to a Controversy between Mr Archer and Capt. Pyatt—This Inquiry was had in consequence of your Excellencys referring to me an Application from the Deputy Sherif of West Chester County who suggested that Captain Pyatt had escaped from him, And I had intended if it had appeared that Capt. Pyatt had acted conformable to your Orders to have used my Influence with Mr Archer and his Friends and doubt not but I should have been successful in effecting an Amicable settlement of the Affair—From the Depositions however it appears that Capt. Pyatt cannot with respect to such Parts of his Conduct as Mr Archer complains of justify himself under Your Orders and if Your Excellency should view this Evidence in the same Light with me I flatter myself you will direct Capt. Pyatt to surrender himself in Custody of the Sheriff. I am with the highest Respect & Esteem Your Excellencys Most Obedt Servt
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
9 February 1783
West Chester County ss: Personally appeared before me Joseph Osburn, Esquire one of the Justices of the people in the County of West Chester, aforesaid John Archer Junior of full Age who being duly sworn upon the holy Evangelists of the Almighty God Deposes and Says That on or about the twelfth day of December last past this Deponent Obtained of Captain William Peat who then commanded on the lines in the County of West Chester at the Post of Pines Bridge, Liberty to go to one Joseph Cornwells who lives about two miles below the said Bridge solely in order to get some money then due to this Deponent, and William Green who Was in Company with this Deponent—That they, this Deponent and the said William Green—went on their way until they came to one Bonkers a neighbour of his the said Joseph Cornwells, who informed them that Mr Cornwell was at the Meeting House about one Mile below the Dwelling house of him the said Joseph Cornwells on another Road, and that they went directly to the Meeting house, and having finished their business with a son of Joseph Cornwells (as Joseph Cornwell himself was not there) they this Deponent and the said William Green returned directly back towards Pines Bridge, and that on their return this Deponent was Informed by one of the Inhabitants That Abraham Carpenter had brought a Cow below the lines some few days before, and that he (the Inhabitant) believed he the said Abraham Carp[en]ter had carried her down to New York or Morrissania with Two Calves and Nine or ten Sheep—That in consiquence of this information this Deponent called upon Abraham Carpenter who lives on the Road on which this Deponent went down and was returning—That this Deponent then asked him the said Abraham Carpenter what had become of the Cow which he had brought down some few days before, to which Carpenter Replied he had her yet—That this Deponent Told him the said Carpenter that he must get her, for she was a Prize as he had drove her down contrary to a law of this State made and provided among other things to prevent more effectually supplies to the Enemy—(Passed the twenty fourth of June in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty) And the Proclamation of his Excellency Governor Clinton published in consiquence of the said Law, to which the said Abraham Carpenter replied that he thought it was very hard, as he was Ignorant of any such Law. That the said Abraham Carpenter sent his son to bring the Cow up to him, which he did—Further This Deponent Says That when the Cow was brought up this Deponent in Company with the said William Green took the Cow (and at the same time requested the said Abraham Carpenter to come with them which he did) and brought the said Cow up to Pines Bridge—That upon their this [Deponent] with William Green and the said Abraham Carpenter [coming] to the Bridge Captain William Peat ordered the Soldiers to take the Cow, and put her in the Yuard, and ordered this Deponent and the said William Green to stay at his Quarters, upon which this Deponent asked him the said William Peat if he was going to detain them there with the Cow; To which the said William Peat replied Yes until the next morning—That in the course of the Conversation between them, the said William Peat admitted that the Cow was a Prize, but said that he would have a share of her, or [otherwise] he would detain her—That this Deponent then requested liberty to go home until the next Morning which was granted, when this Deponent returned according to his promise and brought a recommendation from Israel Honeywell Esquire, and gave same to him the said William Peat, upon which he said he did not dispute this Deponents Character, but would detain him [until] the Major came who he expected that day—Further This Deponent says That he was put under Guard and much Abused—because he would not give up his Arms: and was keept untill Eight or Nine OClock in the Evening and then released—That this Deponent Then again asked him the said William Peat if he was not agoing to let him have the Cow, to which he again replied No, not unless he this Deponent would alow a share for his Serjeant and the Three Men who had been out on a Patrole, and fell in with this Deponent—about a mile below the Bridge; That this Deponent Told him he should not, as the Serjeant had not Assisted in the bringing off the Cow, and that if the Cow was a Prize, she was to him this Deponent and the Said William Green who was with him this Deponent, and that he wished to have her to carry before the Justice to have her condemned, to which he replied it is very well—That this Deponent then went and got a Warrant for the Cow, and such person as should have her in possession; That in consiquence thereof and the service of the warrant the Cow and the said William Peat was brought before Joseph Orsburn Esquire one of the Justices of the peace for the County of West Chester aforesaid, and the Cow delivered up to this Deponent by the Constable—Further this Deponent then took out a Warrant against the said William Peat for Damages which was served when this Deponent was present, who as he was not then prepared for trial requested a few days adjournment which was Granted That immediately thereupon the said William Peat went out of the Door and Ordered a Guard to take this Deponent, And to Disarm and confine him which was done, so as to prevent his appearing on the Warrant against him the said William Peat—That this Deponent then got surety for his this Deponents appearing at the Quarters of the said William Peat one day before the day appointed for the Trial, and that he did appear, when the said William Peat proposed for this Deponent to Settle the Matter with him the said William Peat To which This Deponent replied he could not since he had been used so very Illy by him the said William Peat—upon which the said William Peat told this Deponent That if he would settle or drop it, he this Deponent might go home, otherwise he the said William Peat would put him under Guard; upon which this Deponent Asked him if he intended then to put him this Deponent under Guard so as to prevent his attending on the Warrant, to which he replied Yes to be sure I do; and then ordered this Deponent under Guard, upon his this Deponents telling him he might use his pleasure—That he detained this Deponent Three days and thereby prevented this Deponent from Attending before the Justice on the day appointed, and carried this Deponent with him under Guard when a relief came for him on the Lines, until he got nearly out of the County of West Chester, and then ordered this Deponent to be dismissed—Further That this Deponent and his Friends requested of him the said William Peat that he would Give this Deponent a Trial if he had any thing to charge against him, which he refused; and to some replied that he would not have a trial with such a damn [V]assall, [ ] this Deponent further & Says that he went below the Lines on the permission of Captain William Peat and [solely] for the purpose of collecting his Debt as foresaid, and not with a View of Plundering. And further this Deponent Says [Not]. Sworn this 9 day of February 1783. before me
Justice of Peace
1 March 1783
West Chester County ss: Personally appeared before me Joseph Osburne Esquire one of the Justices of the Peace of the People in the County of West Chester James Oakley of Full age who being duly sworn upon the holy Evangelists of the Almighty God deposes and Says That on or about the Eleventh or twelfth of December last past This Deponent made application to Captain William Peat who then Commanded at the Post at Pines Bridge on the Lines in the County of West Chester for permission to go to Willetts Neck for the purpose of bringing off a Number of Fatt Oxen belonging to Oliver DeLancey which he this Deponent had discovered some few Nights before, when he was down upon a Verbal permission of him the said Captain William Peats, To which he the said Captain William Peat replied that he could not grant it now consisting with his orders, which he at the same time produced to this Deponent, and which were the orders of the Major who Commanded on the Lines aforesaid—To which this Deponent added That the Oxen were there, and that they were worth bringing off and that for that reason he this Deponent wished for liberty to go and to have a Covering Party likewise; To which he the said Captain William Peat again replied that he could not do it; but that at the same time he said he would tell this Deponent what he could do That he could let this Deponent go under the Name of detecting of Skinners, provided he could agree with Lieut. Read who he would order to go with the Scout as a Covering Party, upon which This deponent went with him the said Captain William Peat to Lieut. Read, which this Deponent Agreed with him the said Lieut. Read in the presence of Captain William Peat who also Assisted in the fixing of the Quantum of the Premium, to go with a Covering party of Fifteen Men and a Guide upon the following Conditions viz. That in case this Deponent should bring off Ten Oxen, this Deponent should pay unto him the said Lieut. Read Six Pounds, and one Dollar to Each of the Soldiers, That in case this Deponent should bring off Fifteen Oxen he this Deponent should pay unto him the said Lieut. Read Ten pounds, and one dollar to each of the Soldiers—Further This Deponent Says That they this Deponent and Lieut. Read Agreed with and by the consent and in the presence of him the said Captain William Peat, That he the said Lieut. Read should Take fifteen men as aforesaid with John Pine one of the Guides of the Army, and then on duty with him the said Captain William Peat, and Go to Gilbert Pugsleys Bridge on the Saw Mill River as a Covering party to this Deponent for the purpose of bringing off the Oxen as aforesaid upon the Conditions aforerecited. This deponent with four Men set out, and went to Willetts Neck that night, and the said Lieut. Read with the Men and John Pine as aforesaid Came on in the rear of this Deponent and his four men as far as Gilbert Pugsleys Bridge as aforesaid where this Deponent found that the said Lieut. Read and his Men with John Pine were Waiting—upon the return of this Deponent according to agreement. Further this Deponent Says That upon his this Deponents coming to Willetts Neck he found the Oxen were gone, or at least he could not find them or learn where they were removed too; but that this Deponent In his Search for them found four horses which he brought Off—Also further this Deponent Says That upon his coming up to Pines Bridge he informed Captain William Peat That he had not found the Oxen, but that he had got four horses, And that Altho he had not got the Oxen, Yet, as he had got four Horses he had concluded to leave two of them for Lieut. Read and the party as a reward for their Service, upon which he the said Captain William Peat Asked this Deponent whether they were going to Sell the other two remaining horses, to which this Deponent Answered Yes, and on the Saturday following; upon which he again asked this Deponent whether it was necessary that Lieut. Read should attend to which this Deponent Replied he might if he choose—Further that on the day of the sale Captain William Peat and Lieut. Read Attended and Captain William Peat demanded of this Deponent a Share in the two horses, for him the said Lieut. Read, and Entered into a dispute with this Deponent about the same, when this Deponent told him it was none of his business, as he this Deponent agreed with Lieut. Read for the premium, and to whom this Deponent was to pay the same by the bargain And futher this Deponent Says Not
Sworn this 29 day of February 1783.
Before me Joseph Osburn Justice Peace
West Chester County ss: Personally appeared before me Joseph Osburn Esquire one of the Justices of the peace of the People of the County aforesaid Eden Hunt of Full age who being duly Sworn upon the Holy Evangelists of the Almighty God Deposes and Says That he was present with James Oakley when he applied to Captain William Peat for leave to go to Willetts Neck as he above has Deposed, also when he agreed with Lt Read, and that this Deponent went with him the said James Oakley to Willetts Neck, and that to the best of this Deponents Memory the Contents of the above Deposition is A True State of the facts relative to Transaction, and further this Deponent Saith Not. Eden Hunt
Sworn before me this 12 day of January 1783
Joseph Osburn Justice [of] Peace
West Chester County ss: Personally appeared before me Joseph Osburn Esquire one of the Justices of the peace of the people of the County of West Chester afore[said] one John Pine of full age who being duly Sworn upon the Holy Evangelists of [the] Almighty God Deposes and Says That he was present on or about the Eleventh or twelfth of December last past when John Archer [Junior] applied to Captain William Peat who then commanded at the [ ] at Pines Bridge in the County aforesaid for Liberty to go to [Joseph] Cornwells and that he heard Captn William Peat give to him the said John Archer Junior liberty to go and to Return [again] as soon as he could—And further this Deponent says That he heard him the said Captain William Peat Say That he had offered to him the said John Archer Junior, who had Conferred upon Condition that he the said John Archer Junior would withdraw his suit [ ] against him the said William Peat—further this Deponent [Says] that he was acting as Guide to the Detachment of Troops under Command of him the said William Peat at or about the same time when James Oakley went with a party to Willetts Neck to bring off a Number of Oxen from Oliver DeLancey, and that he was [ ] by Captain William Peat to go as a Guide with Lieut. Read who Commanded a party who were to go to Pugsleys Bridge as a Covering party to the same James Oakley, and that they did go, and this Deponent went with them as he was Commanded. And further this Deponent Says Not.
Sworn this 11 day of February 1783
Before me Joseph Osburn Justice [of] peace.