Letter from George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Volume 05, Pages 136-137
[Reprinted from Dinwiddie Papers. Vol. 1. P. 287.]
Colonel Washington to Governor Dinwiddie.
Alexandria, 20th of August, 1754.
I again take the Liberty of recommending to your Honour the great necessity there is of a regulation in the Soldiers' pay, and that a deduction
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be made for the Country to furnish them with Cloaths; otherwise they never will be fit for Service. They are now Naked, and can't get credit even for a Hatt, and are teazing the Officers every Day to furnish them with these and other necessaries. Another thing which shou'd be fix'd indisputably, is the Law we are to be guided by, whether Martial or Military; if the former, I must beg the favour of your Honour to give me some written Orders and indemnification; otherwise [I] cannot give my assent (as I am liable for all the proceedings) to any judgment of the Martial Court that touches the Life of a Soldier, tho', at this time, there is absolute necessity for it, as the Soldiers are deserting constantly, and yesterday, while we were at Church, 25 of them collected and were going off in Face of their Officers, but were stop'd and Imprison'd before the Plot came to its full height. We have Catch'd two Deserters, which I keep imprison'd till I receive your Honour's answer how far the Martial Law may be extended, and it is absolutely necessary that an Example be made of some for warning to others; for there is scarce a Night, or opportunity, but what some or other are deserting, often two, or three, or 4 at a time. We always advertize, and pursue them as quickly as possible, but seldom to any purpose. The expences attending this, will fall heavy on the Country while this Spirit prevails.
I am Your Honour's Most ob't and most H'ble Serv't,