George Washington Papers

General Orders, 19 September 1777

General Orders

Head Quarters [ ] Septr 19th 1777.

Parole: Countersign:

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Lt. James McMichael’s diary entry for this date reads: “At dawn, broke camp and crossed the Schuylkill at 2 P.M., at Parker’s Ford, where we had to strip to wade. Reached the great road to Reading, passed the Trappe, crossed the Perkiomen, on the eastern bank of which we encamped. Through false alarms we got no rest, tho’ after such fatigue rest would have been very agreeable” ((“McMichael’s Diary,” description begins William P. McMichael. “Diary of Lieutenant James McMichael, of the Pennsylvania Line, 1776–1778.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 16 (1892): 129–59. description ends 151). Gen. Peter Muhlenberg’s father, Henry Melchior Muhlenberg (1711–1787), a renowned Lutheran clergyman who lived at Trappe, wrote in his journal entry for this date that he “received news in the afternoon that the British troops had marched across toward Providence on the other side of and farther down the Schulkiel. Their camp could be seen, I was told, through a fieldglass. The American troops then marched through the Schulkiel, four miles from us, and came out on the road to Philadelphia at Augustus Church. They had to wade through the river up to their chests. His Excellency General W[ashington] was himself with the troops who marched past here to the Perkiome. The passage of the troops lasted through the night and we had all kinds of visitors, officers, etc. To get wet up to one’s chest and then to march in the cold, foggy night while enduring hunger and thirst, etc. is hard for the poor men. It takes courage, health, etc. But instead of prayers, what one hears from many of them is the horrible national vice: cursing” (Tappert and Doberstein, Muhlenberg Journals description begins Theodore G. Tappert and John W. Doberstein, trans. and eds. The Journals of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1942–58. description ends , 3:77–78).

GW paid £2 5s. on this date at “Flat Land ford” for “Breakfasts &c.” (household account book, 11 April 1776–21 Nov. 1780, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 28). Fatland Ford was on the Schuylkill River about a half mile below Valley Forge.

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