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General Orders, 10 March 1780

General Orders

Head-Quarters Morristown friday March 10th 1780.

The Main Guard will be relieved tomorrow by Detail from the Line.

The returns called for by the order of the 6th instant are to include all continental property received from the Quarter Master General’s department, not specified in the returns made by the Brigade Quarter Masters.1

As a multiplicity of business in the Adjutant General’s office renders it extremely difficult for him to attend at the Orderly-Office every day, the acting brigade Major of the day therefore after the duty of the grand parade is over, will attend at the Adjutant General’s Office in Morristown to take the general orders which he is to communicate at the place appointed to the other Brigade Majors and officers intitled to receive them; This duty to be performed daily ’till further orders, except on saturday when the Adjutant General will attend in person.2

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Adj. Gen. Alexander Scammell’s orderly book entry for this date includes an additional general order: “The Pennsylvania Division will furnish the Fatigue for the New Orderly Room tomorrow and next Day” (orderly book, 17 Oct. 1779–22 March 1780, DNA: RG 93, Orderly Books, 1775–1783, vol. 33).

Over the two months and two days beginning on this date, GW stayed in Morristown and its immediate vicinity. He spent his time addressing the needs of his army, which was largely encamped nearby at Jockey Hollow; receiving intelligence and communications that allowed him to comprehend circumstances in all theaters of military operations as well as in diplomatic affairs; and preparing for active campaigning as spring advanced. Assistance with GW’s correspondence during this time came from his secretary Robert Hanson Harrison, assistant secretary James McHenry, and aides-de-camp Alexander Hamilton, Richard Kidder Meade, and Tench Tilghman. Eighteenth-century correspondents typically referred to these men as GW’s military family or simply family (see Philip Schuyler to GW, 19 March and 5 April; Stirling to GW, 19 March; William Woodford to GW, 31 March and 9 April; Nathanael Greene to GW, 3 April; John Laurens to GW, 9 April; Lafayette to GW, 27 April, postscript; and James Duane to GW, 4 May, postscript). Hamilton did not take up his usual duties until later in March because of his service at Perth Amboy, N.J., as a commissioner to negotiate a prisoner exchange agreement. GW’s nephew George Augustine Washington, who had mulled becoming an officer and finally secured a commission as an ensign, helped with correspondence on a few occasions (see General Orders, 27 April). Maj. Caleb Gibbs, who commanded GW’s guards, sometimes performed correspondence duties. More importantly, Gibbs managed the money to pay GW’s expenses (see the source notes for General Orders, 13 and 28 March, 14 April, and 2 May).

1The general orders for 6 March had requested returns specifying needs for drums, fifes, and related accessories.

2Col. Otho Holland Williams served as acting adjutant general while Scammell was on leave. For Scammell’s return and resumption of his duties as adjutant general, see the general orders for 11 April (see also General Orders, 1 Jan., source note).

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