The Court-Martial of General Charles Lee
An important order of business that took place during the Continental Army’s encampment at Paramus in July 1778 was the continuing court-martial of General Charles Lee. Lee, a longtime rival of Washington’s, had been accused of disobeying orders and making an unnecessary retreat, as well as of insubordination toward the commander-in-chief, in connection with the Battle of Monmouth. Lee himself requested the court-martial to clear himself of the charges.
The trial was presided over by General William Alexander (Lord Stirling) of New Jersey, a friend of both Washington and Lee. It began in New Brunswick and moved with the army. Three sessions were held at New Brunswick; six were held at the Paramus church; three were held at Peekskill; and fourteen were held at North Castle, in New York
Witnesses against Lee included Generals Lafayette, Von Steuben, Scott, Wayne, Forman, and Maxwell and some twenty colonels and majors, included Matthias and Aaron Ogden of New Jersey and most of Washington's aides-de-camp. Witnesses for Lee included Generals Duportial and Knox and some 11 colonels, captains. and majors. Most of these people were at the Paramus encampment, and some visited The Hermitage.
Lee ultimately was found guilty of the charges and was suspended from command for one year. He retired in bitterness to Philadelphia, where he died in the 1782.
Return to George Washington’s Visits