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Post US: George Washington and the "Misbehavior of Your Wife" (Tim Ashby, US)
Created by John Eipper on 01/18/10 5:04 AM - us-george-washington-and-the-misbehavior-of-your-wife-tim-ashby-us

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US: George Washington and the "Misbehavior of Your Wife" (Tim Ashby, US) (John Eipper, USA, 01/18/10 5:04 am)

Tim Ashby writes: WAISers who are interested in personal historical anecdotes may be amused to read this 1755 letter from George Washington to my uncle Capt. John Ashby (elder brother of my fifth great-grandfather), dressing him down for the "great irregularities" in his camp (Fort Ashby), including both the "... misbehaviour of your wife, who I am told sows sedition among the men, and is chief of every mutiny..." and the selling of rum by poor Captain Ashby's brother-in-law, Joseph Combs: Letter from George Washington to John Ashby, December 28, 1755 George Washington Papers Series 2 Letterbooks (Original transcription from The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.--vol. 01). Letters, Orders and Instructions, December 28th, 1755 To Captain John ASHBY of the second Company of Rangers I am very much surprized to hear the great irregularities which were allowed of in your Camp. The Rum, although sold by Joseph COOMBS, I am credibly informed, is your property. There are continual complaints to me of the misbehaviour of your Wife; who I am told sows sedition among the men, and is chief of every mutiny. If she is not immediately sent from the Camp,- or I hear any more complaints of such irregular Behaviour upon my arrival there; I shall take care to drive her out myself, and suspend you. It is impossible to get clothing here for your men. I think none so proper for Rangers as match-coats; therefore would advise you to procure them. Those who have not receive clothing, for the future will receive their full pay without stoppages; and those already made, will be repaid them. Those who have been clothed must either return them or allow stoppages. I would have you consult your men, and fall upon some method to supply them immediately. I have heard very great complaints about the mens pay; and that it has been misapplied: to prevent any for the future I Order, that you have your accompts with the men properly stated against I come up. And always after you make payments hereafter, to take two receipts from each man: one of which you are to have entered in a Book kept for that purpose, for your own use; the other must be taken upon a sheet of paper, and transmitted to me monthly. I have sent you one of the mutiny Bills which you are (as far as it relates to the men) to have frequently read to them. Further; acquaint them, that if any Soldier deserts, altho' he return himself, he shall be hanged. Given Ye. at Winchester: December 28. 1755. G.W. JE comments: Sow sedition, and ye shall reap it! This is a true WAIS nugget from the (distant) past, and I thank Tim Ashby for sharing it. GW in this letter proves that he was no stranger to discipline; some might even call him a party-pooper. What is life in a frontier garrison without a tot of capital-r Rum? I just wish we could hear Mrs. Ashby's side of the argument.

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