George Washington Papers

Orders for March from Valley Forge, 17 June 1778

Orders for March from Valley Forge

[17 June 1778]

The Army is to March to Morrow, & till further orders in the following Order.

The Marquis De La Fyatte Woodfords
    is to lead with Scotts Brigades
North Carolina
The Baron De Kalb Glovers
    next with Pattersons Brigades
The Artillery Park & spare Amunition
Lord Stirling With Weedons
Muhlenbergs Brigades
1st Maryland
2d Maryland

The disposition for the Baggage of the Army to be as follows.1

The Commander in Chiefs Baggage is to march in the front of the Column of Waggons—The Adjutant Generals, Pay Master Genls Engineers Muster Master Generals Auditors of Accts the Baggage of the Marquiss de la Fyattes Division De Kalbs Division the Baggage of Lord stirlings Division & then the Waggons of the Quarter Master General’s department Flying Hospital, & lastly the Comy & Forage Master Genls Waggons—The whole Baggage to fall in the rear of the Column of Troops—The Genl Officers commanding the Grand Division to appoint such guards upon the baggage as shall be necessary for the security thereof—They will also, appoint a party of Pioneers to move in front of the Columns, to Assist the Artificers in repairing Bridges and bad places in the roads.

There will be a party of Artificers to go in front & rear of the Whole, to mend Bridges and repair the Broken Carriages; which will take their orders from the Q.M. Genl.

The Sub Inspectors are to Assist the Quarter Master General in regulating the order of March, encampmt and planting of Guards & to accompany and follow his Directions accordingly.

Go: Washington

Note, the Light Horse is to march in front & upon the Right flank a days & encamp in the Rear of the Troops o Nights.2

The new guards will form the advanced guard of the army and the old guards the rear guard. Each Regiment will send out a flank guard on the right flank in the proportion of a serjeant and 12 men to every 200 men.

The horse are to march in front.3

DS, in the writing of Alexander Hamilton, Nathanael Greene, and Samuel Shaw, CSmH; copy (extract), PHi: Chaloner and White Collection. GW docketed this document: “Orders. relative to the March from Valley forge. June 17th 1778. after Genl Lees’s & Genl Mifflins Divisions had Marchd.”

GW had prepared for the march from Valley Forge as early as 28 May. On that date he wrote a document called “Disposition of the Army for a March to the North River And their Routs,” which prescribed routes of march for the various elements of his command. GW later noted at the end of the document that “this March was changed by the Enemys March through New Jersey” (DLC:GW; a partial copy, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing and titled “Order of March to the North River,” was mistakenly docketed to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 1 Oct. 1777, and is filed under that date in DLC:GW).

An undated copy of a new route of march that GW prepared just before the British evacuated Philadelphia reads: “Order of March and route of the Army from Camp Valley Forge to Newburg on the North River opposite FishKill—

Poor }
Varnum 1st Lee Coryells
1st Pennsa
2 Ditto }
late Conway 2d Mifflin Sherard
Scott }
No. Carolina 3d Marquiss Coryells
Patterson }
Learned 4 de Kalb Easton
Muhlenberg }
1st Maryld 5 Stirling Coryells
2d Ditto

“The Detachmt under Colo. Jackson to move to and take possession of Philadelphia and prevent plundering & any abuse of Persons. Vanscoicks Regimt to replace the 8th Pennsylvania Regt in the Pennsylvania Brigade—The 2d State Regimt of Virginia to replace the 13th Regimt in Scotts Brigade. Park of Artillery to be Attached to the Several Divisions Equally and march with them.

“The 1st and 2d Division to move the morning after Intelligence is received of the Enemys Evacuation of the City.

“The 3d and 4th Divisions the morning after these—& the 5th Division the morning Succeeding—every Days march to begin at 4 O’Clock A.M. at furthest…. 1st 3d & 5th Divisions by Coryells Ferry & thro’ the Clove by Smiths

To Coryells & Cross   3 Days
  Halt   1
  White House   1
  3 Miles beyd the Cross roads   1
  4 do beyd Morristown   1
  Halt   1
  Pompton Bridge   1
  Sufferans   1
  Near Smiths Tavern   1
  Halt if necessary   1
  Newborough 1
2d Division by Sherards Ferry and Sussex Court House
To Sherrards Ferry & Cross   3
  Halt   1
  Union Iron Works   1
  Halkets town   1
  Sussex Court House   1
  Halt   1
  4 M. beyd Colo. Martins   1
  Warwick   1
  5 Miles beyd Chester   1
  Halt if necessary   1
  New borough   1
4th Division by Easton & Sussex Court House
  To Easton   3
  Halt   1
  Crossing   1
  6 Miles beyond Carrs
  Sussex Court House   1
  Halt   1
  Then as in 2d Division   5

“Regard to be had to the Convenience of Water as well as Distance” (DLC:GW).

1An undated document containing a somewhat different order of march for the baggage is in PHi: Chaloner and White Collection.

2This sentence is in Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene’s writing.

3This sentence and the preceding paragraph are in Samuel Shaw’s writing.

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