Pompton 31st March, 1783
On my Arrival at this Place I called the Officers of the Regiment in this Cantonment together, and communicated to them such Parts of the Conversation between your Excellency and me on the 29th Instant, respecting Major Reid’s present leave of Absence, as was necessary for them to know; they all, excepting Capt. Pry, unanimously request that I report to your Excellency that they still continue firm in thinking themselves much injured, and particularly unfortunate that the steady, prudent, and mild Measures which they have firmly pursued since their first Remonstrance of the 3rd of March 1781, have not hitherto rendered them—the Soldiers of the Regiment—and the Public that Justice which they think the Nature of their Case requires; and that they are now exceedingly sorry that it has so happened that Major Reid has been indulged with a Furlough before they had an Opportunity of justifying themselves at a Public Hearing, pointed out by a Report of General Officers on the 23rd of January last, respecting the Matter in Question, and approved by your Excellency. They have unanimously requested of me to apply officially to your Excellency, to order Major Reid to join the Regiment or return to the Army without Delay, prepared to prosecute them in Manner as was in the said Report of the General Officers pointed out for a Redress.
I beg leave to observe, Sir, that whatever may be considered as an Error, Omission, or a Crime in me, by my not moving your Excellency for a Hearing before Major Reid’s leave of Absence took place, those Gentlemen under my Command may not in any wise be thought wanting on their Parts; and in order to exculpate myself, I must beg to observe, that I have ever conceived your Excellency’s Public Orders which regarded a separate Command, were transmitted by the Adjutant-General, or his Deputy; through that Channel I have ever received your Excellency’s Public Orders at this Place and elsewhere, how it has happened that those in Question, and known to be of so much Importance to the Corps, were omitted, is not for me to determine: The Publication of the Proceedings of the Court appears to have been on the 21st of February, and Major Reid’s leave of Absence on the 3rd of March, nine Days only between them: The Official Notice of Major Reid’s Acquital did not arrive at this Place until the Evening of the 5th of March, transmitted to me by Capt. Carlile, the Assistant Adjutant-General; my Time was then taken up and soon after my personal Attendance in the Execution of my Duty on the Enemy’s Lines, which prevented my waiting sooner on your Excellency at Newburgh. It is not however too late, if Major Reid can be brought back to the Army, and the injured Officers have a Public Investigation of their Conduct under the Charges published by him, before a Reform of the Army, or the Regiment under my Command.
I have therefore to request your Excellency will please to fix a short Day for a Public Hearing on the Officers before mentioned, and direct that Major James R. Reid attend to support the Charges which he has in the most Public Manner exhibited against them. I have the Honour to be, Your Excellency’s most obedient And very humble Servant
P.S. I have to beg your Excellency’s leave to go to Philadelphia for a few Days only, on some Business that requires my Presence in the Settlement of some Public Accounts, and other Matters that regard the Canadian Officers and Men.
I beg your Excellency will please to fix a Day for the Investigation of the Conduct of those Officers, that the Parties aggrieved may be called together and ready to defend themselves.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.