George Washington Papers

General Orders, 20 August 1775

General Orders

Head Quarters, Cambridge, Augt 20th 1775

Parole Lebanon.Countersign, Mansfield.

In Obedience to the Orders of the 5th Inst:, The Brigadier Genl and Field-Officers chosen by Ballot, have made a Report to his Excellency the Commander in Chief, of the final Settlement of the Rank, of all the Regiments and Officers, in the Army of the United Colonies. The General entirely approves of the proceedings of the Brigadier & the Field Officers; and thanks them in this public manner, for the great pains, and care, they have taken, in establishing a point, of so much importance to the army—His Excellency strictly commands all Officers and Soldiers, to pay all due Obedience, to the Regulations so established. The Adjutant General will deliver to each Major of Brigade, this day, at Orderly time, a Copy of the Rank of the Regiments, of the Field Officers, and of the Officers in every Regiment, in their respective Brigades.1

A Court of enquiry to sit this day, at three in the afternoon, to examine into the Reasons for a complaint exhibited against Col. Ebenezer Bridge.2

Brigadier General Heath President
Col. Prescott. Col. Woodbridge
Col. Sergeant Lt Col. Johonnot3

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1This ranking of the regiments is apparently that given in an undated document entitled “A List of the United Army encampd near Boston” (MHi: William Heath Papers). The document is endorsed “Officers on the old Establmt” and contains the names of the field officers in order of their precedence.

2Ebenezer Bridge (1744–1814) of Billerica received severe sword cuts on his head and neck while commanding a Massachusetts regiment in the American front line at the Battle of Bunker Hill, but some of his subordinates accused him of cowering under the walls of the redoubt during the fighting. The court of inquiry determined that the charge warranted a general court-martial (undated report signed by William Heath, MHi: Heath Papers), and Bridge was subsequently tried and acquitted (General Orders, 11 Sept. 1775). A well-to-do merchant, Bridge served during 1774 as a member of the Billerica committee of correspondence, chairman of the Middlesex County convention, and Billerica’s representative to the first Massachusetts provincial congress, and on 10 June 1775 he was commissioned a Massachusetts colonel. Bridge remained in the Continental army until the following December or January (General Orders, 10 Dec. 1775). He lived in Cambridge from 1776 to about 1781 and then moved to Chelmsford. From 1781 to 1786 Bridge was adjutant general of Massachusetts with the rank of brigadier general in the state militia.

3Gabriel Johonnot (1748–1820), a Huguenot merchant from Boston who had been a member of the city’s cadet company before the war, was lieutenant colonel of Col. John Glover’s Massachusetts regiment from 21 May 1775 to December 1776. Samuel Holden Parsons described Johonnot in a letter of 15 Aug. 1776 to John Adams as “Very good a fine Soldier and an extensive Acquaintance,” and three days later William Tudor told Adams that Johonnot “has Fire, Sense and Courage” (Taylor, Papers of John Adams description begins Robert J. Taylor et al., eds. Papers of John Adams. 17 vols. to date. Cambridge, Mass., and London, 1977—. description ends , 4:462–65, 473–76). Apparently denied promotion, Johonnot resigned his commission at the end of 1776.

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