George Washington Papers

General Orders, 17 June 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, New York, June 17th 1776.

Parole Philadelphia.Countersign Lancaster.

A Detachment consisting of one Major, three Capts. Six Subs. nine Serjeants, nine Corporals, three Drummers & Fifers and one hundred and twenty Privates to parade this evening at six o’clock, at the Bowling-Green; there to receive further orders from Major Brooks of Col. Webb’s Regiment, who is to take the command of this party.1

Especial care is to be taken that the mens arms, and ammunition are in good order—each man to have his Twenty-four rounds of powder and ball, and to be furnished with seven days provisions.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Under 19 June in his journal, Lt. Isaac Bangs wrote: “On Monday last [17 June] Major Brookes with 200 Men and 2 Comps of Artilery set off in the Afternoon on a private Expedition. We now find they were gone with an intention to destroy the light House of which the Marienes from on board the Ships had taken possession by building a Fort” (Bangs description begins Edward Bangs, ed. Journal of Lieutenant Isaac Bangs, April 1 to July 29, 1776. 1890. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , Journal, 45). The lighthouse at Sandy Hook, N.J., was attacked by the Americans on the morning of 21 June without success, and Lt. Col. Benjamin Tupper, who commanded the attacking force, was ordered the next day to give up the attempt. See General Orders, 20 June, n.1, and Tupper to GW, 21 June, and source note.

John Brooks (1752–1825), a physician from Reading, Mass., led a company of minutemen to Concord on 19 April 1775 and helped to harass the Redcoats on their march back to Boston. The next month Brooks was commissioned major of Col. Ebenezer Bridges’s Massachusetts regiment, and on 1 Jan. 1776 he became major of Col. Charles Webb’s 19th Continental Regiment. Brooks soon gained a reputation as “a sensible, brave, good officer” (Henry Knox to John Adams, 25 Sept. 1776, in 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 , 5:40–42). He was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 8th Massachusetts Regiment in November 1776, and on 28 March 1778 GW named him a subinspector under inspector general Baron von Steuben (see General Orders, that date). While serving in the inspector general’s department, Brooks kept his rank as lieutenant colonel in the 8th Massachusetts Regiment, and in November 1778 he became lieutenant colonel commandant of the 7th Massachusetts Regiment. Although Brooks was one of the officers who presented the army’s grievances to Congress in January 1783, he apparently played little part in the subsequent Newburgh Conspiracy. Brooks resigned his commission in June 1783 and resumed his medical practice at Medford, Massachusetts. GW appointed him a major general in the United States Army in 1792.

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