George Washington Papers

General Orders, 4 August 1777

General Orders

Head Quarters, at Col. Hills, Roxboro’, August 4th 1777.1

Parole: Cambridge.Countersigns: Charlestown.

In the present marching state of the army, every incumbrance proves greatly prejudicial to the service; the multitude of women in particular, especially those who are pregnant, or have children, are a clog upon every movement2—The Commander in Chief therefore earnestly recommends it, to the officers commanding brigades and corps, to use every reasonable method in their power, to get rid of all such as are not absolutely necessary; and the admission or continuance of any, who shall, or may have come to the army since its arrival in Pennsylvania, is positively forbidden; to which point the officers will give particular attention.3

A General Court Martial is to sit to morrow, at nine oclock in the morning, at or near Judge Laurence’s quarters by Schuylkill falls, for the trial of all such prisoners as shall be brought before them—Col. James Wood is appointed president of this court.4

The regimental Surgeons are to send all their sick to the general Hospital in Philadelphia.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW; copy (photocopy), ViFreGWF.

1GW set up his headquarters on this date near Germantown, Pa., at the country house of Henry Hill (1732–1798), a prominent Philadelphia wine merchant. Hill’s estate, later known as Carlton, was on the west side of Indian Queen Lane about one mile east of Schuylkill Falls. GW headquartered at Carlton again in September 1777 for two days.

2Lt. James McMichael describes the presence of women at the Germantown camp in his journal entry for 3 Aug.: “The largest collection of young ladies I almost ever beheld came to camp. They marched in three columns. The field officers paraded the rest of the officers and detached scouting parties to prevent being surrounded by them. For my part being sent on scout, I at last sighted the ladies and gave them to know that they must repair to headquarters, upon which they accompanied me as prisoners. But on parading them at the Colonels marquee, they were dismissed after we treated them with a double bowl of Sangaree” (“McMichael’s Diary,” 146).

3The orderly book kept by Capt. Jacob Turner of the 3d North Carolina Regiment adds the following text to the end of this paragraph: “Pay Rolls for the month of July are to be made out Immediately, & lodged with the Pay Master Gen. for Examination. The Officers Commanding Corps will be answerable for the Execution of this Order” (“Turner’s Orderly Book,” 480; see also “Pa. State Regiment Orderly Book,” 307).

4James Wood (1741–1813) of Winchester, Va., an occasional visitor to Mount Vernon who had unsuccessfully attempted to secure land in West Florida for himself and his friends, including GW, in 1773 and 1774, was appointed colonel of the 12th Virginia Regiment in November 1776. Wood continued to command his regiment after it was redesignated the 8th Virginia Regiment in September 1778 until he retired from the army on 1 Jan. 1783. After the war Wood served as a brigadier general in the Virginia militia. GW offered Wood the post of surveyor general of the Ohio territory in the late summer of 1796 (see GW to Wood, 12 Sept. 1796), but Wood declined and was elected governor of Virginia two months later. GW also included Wood’s name on his proposed arrangement of the general officers of the army in July 1798.

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