George Washington Papers

Circular to the Brigade Commanders, 20 May 1777

Circular to the Brigade Commanders

Head Quarters Morris Town May 20th 1777.


You are desired, immediately upon the receipt hereof, to draw together the men of the Regiments assigned to your Brigade. As soon as they are assembled; you are to call for exact returns from the Colonels or commanding officers, obliging them to render a particular account of the officers and Men who are absent. If they are well, let them specify where they are and upon what service. If they are sick, at what Hospital, because by comparing the return of Sick absent, with the returns that are made to me by the Director General from all the different Hospitals, I can detect them, if they are not right. I very much suspect, that a great deal of pay is drawn for sick Absent who do not exist. You will please to comply strictly and expeditiously with the General order of this day, respecting settling the ranks of the Officers of your Brigade. I am &ca

G. Washington

Varick transcript, DLC:GW. This document is addressed to brigadier generals William Smallwood, William Woodford, John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, George Weedon, Charles Scott, Thomas Conway, Anthony Wayne, and John Philip De Haas “or Officer commandg his Brigade.”

This circular was written as the first step in assembling most of the Continental army for concerted action in the forthcoming campaign. For Adam Stephen’s objections to this concentration of force and GW’s reply, see their letters to one another of 24 May. Except for Sullivan’s division, which was posted at Princeton, nearly all of the army was encamped at Middlebrook, N.J., by the end of the month (see Nathanael Greene to GW, 24 May, and General Orders, 29 May; see also Circular Instructions to the Brigade Commanders, 26 May).

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