Primary tabs

Letter from General Washington to the President of Congress.


[No˙ 1.]

At a Council of War held at Head-Quarters, Cambridge, October 3, 1775, present:

His Excellency General Washington; Major Generals Ward, Lee, and Putnam; Brigadier-Generals Spencer, Heath, Sullivan, Greene, and Thomas; Adjutant-General Gates.

The General communicated to this Board a discovery of a correspondence carried on with the enemy by Dr˙ Church, by Letter in characters, which was deciphered by the Rev˙ Mr˙ West, and laid the said Letter before the Members of the Council.

After considering and discussing the matter, it was determined to adjourn till to-morrow, and then that Dr˙ Church be examined.

October 4. — The Council of War met. Present as before.

Dr˙ Church being sent for, and shown the Letter in characters, was asked, whether the said Letter was written by him; to which he answered, he believed it was. He was shown the explanation of said Letter, as deciphered, and asked whether it was a true one; to which he answered in the affirmative. Dr˙ Church then explained his intention in writing said Letter, as calculated to impress the enemy with a strong idea of our strength and situation, in order to prevent an attack at a time when the Continental Army was in great want of ammunition, and in hopes of effecting some speedy accommodation of the present dispute, and made solemn asseverations of his innocence.

The General then asked the opinion of the Council, severally, whether it did not appear that Dr˙ Church had carried on a criminal correspondence with the enemy; to which they unanimously answered in the affirmative.

The question was then proposed, and discussed, what were the proper steps to be taken with respect to him; and, after examining the articles of the Continental Army, and particularly the articles twenty-eight and fifty-one, it was determined, from the enormity of the crime, and the very inadequate punishment pointed out, that it should he referred to the General Congress, for their special direction; and that in the mean time he be closely confined, and no person visit him but by special direction.