Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VIII (1779-1780)
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VIII (1779-1780) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VIII (1779-1780).
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Paramus, 7 October, 1780.
* * * * * *
I have the honor to enclose to Congress a copy of the Proceedings of a Board of General Officers (No. 1) in the case of Major André, adjutant-general to the British army. This Officer was executed in pursuance of the opinion of the Board, on Monday the 2d instant, at twelve o’clock at our late Camp at Tappan. He acted with great candor, from the time he avowed himself after his capture, until he was executed. Congress will perceive by a Copy of a letter I received from him on the 1st instant, that it was his desire to be shot; but the practice and usage of war, circumstanced as he was, were against the indulgence.1 At the bottom of the sixth page of the proceedings an explanatory note is added, to prevent any suspicions being entertained injurious to Colonel Sheldon, who, otherwise, from the letter addressed to him, might be supposed to have been privy to the measures between General Arnold and Major André. If it should be the pleasure of Congress to publish the case, which I would take the liberty to suggest may not be improper, it will be necessary for the explanatory note to be annexed.
Besides these proceedings, I transmit in the Inclosure No. 2 copies of sundry letters respecting the matter, which are all that passed on the subject, not included in the proceedings. I would not suffer Mr. Elliot and Mr. Smith to land, who came up to Dobbs’s Ferry agreeable to Sir Henry Clinton’s letter of the 30th of September. Genl. Robertson was permitted to come on shore, was met by Major-General Greene, and mentioned substantially what is contained in his letter of the 2d instant. It might not perhaps be improper to publish the letters, or a part of them, in this Inclosure as an Appendix to the proceedings of the Board of General Officers. * * *
I have now the pleasure to communicate the names of the three persons, who captured Major André, and who refused to release him, notwithstanding the most earnest importunities and assurances of a liberal reward on his part. Their conduct merits our warmest esteem; and I beg leave to add, that I think the public will do well to make them a handsome gratuity. They have prevented in all probability our suffering one of the severest strokes, that could have been meditated against us. Their names are John Paulding, David Williams, and Isaac Van Wart.1
For the present I have detached the Jersey, New York, and New Hampshire brigades, with Stark’s, to the Highland posts. They marched this morning from Orangetown, and will relieve the Pennsylvania line, which was thrown in at the moment General Arnold went to the enemy. Major-General Greene has marched with these four Brigades, and will command at West Point and its dependencies, till a further disposition. The main body of the army, the forage about Orange town and the lower Country being exhausted, also moved this morning, and is now arrived here. We have had a cold, wet, and tedious march, on account of the feeble state of our Cattle, and have not a drop of rum to give the troops. My intention is to proceed with them to the country in the neighborhood of Passaic Falls. I have the honor to be, &c. * * *1
[1 ]“Your Excellency will have heard of the execution of the British adjutantgeneral. The circumstances he was taken in justified it, and policy required a sacrifice; but as he was more unfortunate than criminal in the affair, and, as there was much in his character to interest, while we yielded to the necessity of rigor, we could not but lament it.”—Washington to Rochambeau, 10 October, 1780.
[1 ]Congress rewarded Paulding, Williams, and Van Wart by voting an annual pension of two hundred dollars to each for life; and also ordering that the Board of War should procure for each a silver medal, on one side of which should be a shield with the inscription Fidelity, and on the other the motto, Vincit Amor Patriæ. To a letter from the President of Congress, accompanying the resolutions for these objects, General Washington replied: “The recompense is ample; it is an evidence of the generosity of Congress, a flattering tribute to the virtue of those citizens, and must prove a powerful incitement to others to imitate their example.” The medals were afterwards given to the three individuals by Washington himself at head-quarters.—Sparks.
[1 ]Read in Congress October 12th. Referred to Sullivan, Bland, and Mathews.