George Washington Papers

Orderly Book, 20 November 1758

Orderly Book

[20 November 1758]

Camp at Turtle Creek Novemr 20th 1758

B. O. the following disposition is this day to be made and Continued till further Orders.1

The 1st Virginia Regimt into 5 Divisions[:]

Cols. Company and Capt. Robert Stewarts Commanded by Capt. Blagg.

Lt Cols. and Capt. Waggoners by Capt. Waggoner.

Major Lewis’s and Capt. McNeills by Capt. McNeill.

Capt. Woodwards and Capt. Mckenzies by Capt. Mckenzie.

Capt. Bullitts and Capt. Waltr Stewarts By Capt. Bullitt.

Each of these divisions is to be Subdivided into as many Platoons as there are Sub[altern]s and each platoon to be divided into two, Commanded by Serjts, if there should not be a Sufficient Number of Serjts the best Qualified of the Corporals are to make up the Deficiency; each Sub. is to be answerable for his platoon and each Capt. for his Division.

Taking Care to have their Arms Amunition &c. Constantly kept in the best order (Mr [David] Kennedy to do duty as an Officer and rank as Ens[ign] in Capt. McNeills Division).

The two Companys of Artificers to be Commandd by their own Captains and divided into as many Platoons as there are Subs. in them.

The Carolineans to be under the Immediate Care of Capt. Pen [Paine] and divided into three Platoons each Sub. taking one, The Maryland Companies to be form’d into two Divisions and each Division Subdivided into two Platoons each platoon to be commanded by a Sub.

The Lower Countys Companys to be formed into 2 Divisions and each Division subdivided into 2 platoons each Platoon Commanded by a Sub.

As this method is Calculated to prevent the Men of different Corps, or Different Companies from being mixt, it is recommended in the warmest manner to the Commanding Officer of each, that in all Dutys each Officer and his platoon be kept as much together as the nature of the Service will admit Off—The Commanding Officer of each Corps is Immediately to set about forming the Troops into the above order that nothing may be left to do when orderd on Service.

It is hop’d that as our Honour Interest and in fine Our all depends on the Happy Issue of the Service we are Just going on, that the Officers will in a particular Manner exert themselves in giting every thing in the best order, and not be sparing of their pains at this Critical Juncture, and in Case of Action it is particularly recommended to each Officer to keep their Men Calm and prevent their Throwing away their fire which they are too apt to do when in a hurry, and as many Inconveniences have been seen to arrise from the Subs. marching at the head of their Platoon they are for the future (as a Capt. will March at the Head of each Division) Place a Trusty Serjt in the Front and to March in the rear themselves taking Care to keep up their Men properly and from mixing with those of another Platoon.

The Nicest Inspection is this evening to be made into the Mens Arms, the Officers are not to Trust this to Serjeants but do it themselves nor are they to be Deceivd by the Soldiers puting a little fresh Powder in their Pans but to have the priming thrown out, The touch hole pricked and See that Dry powder Comes out as it is better to have a little Powder waisted than be deceivd in the Arms.

(The Arms that they have any Suspicion Off to be drawn.)


General Orders

Parole Fort Cumberland

Field Officer for to Morrow Lt Colo. Mercer.2

All former Standing orders to be obeyd.

Washingtons Camp November 20th 1758

After Orders

The Arms and Ammunition of the Troops to be reviewd to morrow morning and Immediately put in the best order.

One Brigadier 1 Colo. 1 Lt Colo. and 1 Major to be appointed for the day to morrow.

Brigadier Bouquet, Colo. Wm Byrd, Lt Colo. Mercer and Major Campbell.

The Troops are to be informd that any Partys of Indians whom they meet Carrying a red rag at the end of a Pole are to be receivd as friends and likewise any Single Indians wearing a blue and red badge about their Heads as well as a Yellow one.3

Brigadier Washingtons Brigade is to Parade to morrow morning at day break & March to Open the road forward to the old Path.4

Tools to be taken from the Train &c. and Capt. [Harry] Gordon Will order the delivery of them.

And Mr Bassett will attend them. Mr Shelby will blaze the road and give the necessary Directions to the Partys.

100 Men of the North Carolina & Maryland Companies to be Detached towards the Enemys Fort to make Discoveries.

They are to be divided into 5 Different partys whereof the Middle one is to be Commanded by their Commanding Officer and to keep the path towards the Fort taking Particular Notice of the roads Rivulets Hills &c. and may Detach a small Scouting Party before him as far as they well ought to venture without discovering themselves to the Enemy.

The Other four Partys are to be divided, two upon the right and two upon the left each party Taking Care to keep at about two miles distance one from another but so as to be within hearing and Sustaining who ever may be Attacked either on the right or on the left.

The Party’s are to advance at least 12 Miles towards the Fort, and wait the return of the small Party that they send forward who upon their return are to make the best of their way back to Camp and report what they have Learnd.

B. O.

The Troops to draw provisions to Compleat them to, to morrow night and as they will then return to Camp they need not Carry their Baggage But may leave a Batman of each Division to take Care of it.5

So soon as the Troops are under Arms each Officr is with Great Care to examine the Arms Amunition and Flints of his platoon and see that every thing is put in the best order.

Colo. Dagworthy is to apply to the Qr Mastr General for Guides.

The Troops are to draw their provisions at 5 OClock in the Morning & have an Hour to dress it.

D, DLC:GW. See “Orderly Book, 21 September–24 November 1758.” The brigade orders at the beginning and at the end of this entry are GW’s. The general orders and the after orders in between were almost certainly issued by Bouquet, who seems to have come up to Washington’s Camp during the day. See Forbes to GW, 19–20 November.

The post at Turtle Creek, known as Washington’s Camp, was occupied by the army until 22 Nov. when Bouquet moved the army across the creek toward Bouquet’s camp, which was less than twelve miles from Fort Duquesne.

1What follows are GW’s orders for breaking each corps, or element, of the 3d Brigade into a number of divisions commanded by captains, the divisions into platoons commanded by subalterns, and these into squads commanded by sergeants. Forbes’s general orders in Orderly Book, 21 Nov., indicate that the other two brigades were similarly organized at this time. In “A Return of the Number of Platoons in Brigadier Washingtons Brigade And what Each Consists of,” dated 20 Nov. 1758 (DLC:GW), GW gives the number of men in each of the platoons in the 13 divisions of his brigade. Each of the 5 divisions of the 1st Virginia Regiment was divided into 4 platoons with 2 sergeants and from 20 to 29 men in each, for a total of 515 privates out of a total of 595 officers and soldiers in the regiment. The 2 companies or divisions of artificers had 3 platoons each with an overall total of 90, both officers and men. In the single division of North Carolina forces there were 3 platoons totaling 56 officers and soldiers. The 3 divisions in the Maryland contingent, each with 2 platoons, came to a total of 117 officers and men, while the 2 divisions and 4 platoons of officers and men from the Lower Counties came to a total of 70. In sum, the 3d Brigade of Forbes’s army as it approached Fort Duquesne and possible combat had 929 officers and soldiers broken up into 13 divisions composed of 39 platoons. Also on 20 Nov., at Washington’s Camp, returns of both GW’s 1st Virginia Regiment and his 3d Brigade were prepared and are in DLC:GW. They confirm the figures given here in the return of the platoons in the 3d Brigade.

2Presumably Lt. Col. George Mercer and a contingent of the 2d Virginia Regiment arrived at Washington’s Camp with their brigade commander, Colonel Bouquet, on this day after GW had issued his brigade orders (B. O.). See the After Orders that follow.

3Forbes wrote that the party of Catawba and George Croghan’s Indians should be at Washington’s Camp by nightfall. See Forbes to GW, 19 Nov., n.2.

4GW with most of his brigade were to begin on 21 Nov. to open the road to Bouquet’s camp to be built on Thompson Run less than twelve miles from Fort Duquesne and not that far from Camp Washington. Apparently GW and his brigade marched as far as, or almost as far as, the site of Bouquet’s camp and began to cut the road back toward Washington’s Camp along the trail blazed by Evan Shelby (see GW’s battalion orders immediately following). On 21 Nov. Forbes sent a large work party from Bouquet’s brigade to cut the road from Camp Washington until it met up with GW’s party, when both should return to Washington’s Camp (Orderly Book, 21 Nov.; Francis Halkett to GW, 21 Nov.). Forbes explained to Bouquet on 22 Nov. that he had not pushed on that afternoon to Camp Bouquet with the other two brigades because he “had no reason either to expect that the road was better, or better open’d than what I had come, which was . . . monstrously and Carelessly done” (Stevens, Bouquet Papers description begins Donald H. Kent et al., eds. The Papers of Henry Bouquet. 6 vols. Harrisburg, Pa., 1951-94. description ends , 2:606–7). When Forbes moved his army out of Camp Washington on the morning of 22 Nov., Bouquet and the 1st Brigade moved ahead to prepare the next camp, Camp Bouquet, which Forbes and the rest of his army did not reach until 23 November. The Old Path was the trading path to the Forks of the Ohio (see Francis Halkett to GW, 21 Nov. 1758, n.3).

5GW’s orders in this paragraph are directed to all the units in his brigade except for the Carolinians and Marylanders whom Bouquet had already sent ahead to reconnoiter.

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