George Washington Papers

General Orders, 8 July 1775

General Orders

Head Quarters, Cambridge, July 8th 1775.

Parole, Essex.Countersigns: Counter-sign, Falkland.

Ordered that the main guard on no Account whatever, be without a Drum, which is to beat to Arms on any Alarm and be followed by all the drums in the Camp; On which every Officer and Soldier is immediately to repair to the Alarm post.

The Commanding Officer of each Regiment or Corps in Cambridge as soon as the Men are paraded after an Alarm, to send an Officer to Head Quarters for orders.

The commanding Officers at Roxbury, Prospect hill Winter-hill and Sewalls point to send Expresses in case of Alarm to Head Quarters with an account of the Situation and the movements of the enemy—If they are not each provided with a Horse for that purpose; the Adjutant General to apply to the Committee of supplies.1

Col. Gridley of the Artillery,2 or the next in Command, to give in a Return of his men, stores, and Ammunition, agreeable to the Order of the 4th Instant, and to distinguish the Posts to which his Regiment is assigned in Case of alarm: The same order as to a Return of the Men, Ammunition and Blankets is given to the Commanding Officers of the Regiments late Col. Gar[d]ner’s Col. Glovers, & Col. Gerrishes, who have omitted complying with the above Orders hitherto.3

The Commanding Officers at Winter-hill, Prospect-hill and Roxbury are to make particular enquiry into the Ammunition of the Men in those Lines, and if there is any Deficiency immediately to report it to the General at Head quarters.

A General Court Martial is order’d to set on monday next 10, oClock A:M: for the Trial of Lieut. Brigham charged with, “rescuing a Prisoner when in lawful custody.”4

Varick transcript, DLC:GW; copy, in Joseph Reed’s writing, MWA.

1Sewall’s Point, located on the south side of the Charles River about two miles downstream from Cambridge, was the site of an American redoubt which some called Brookline fort. For the horses that were provided for this and the other posts, see Council of War, 9 July 1775, and GW to James Warren, 10 July 1775, n.3.

2Richard Gridley (1710–1796) was appointed chief engineer of the Massachusetts forces by the provincial congress on 26 April 1775, and about the same time he was asked to organize a train of artillery. Gridley was a natural choice for both jobs, having studied military engineering under a British officer as a young man and having commanded provincial artillery during the Crown Point expedition of 1755 and at Quebec in 1759. On 23 June 1775 the provincial congress gave Gridley a commisssion as chief engineer and colonel of the Massachusetts artillery with the rank of major general, and on 20 Sept. the Continental Congress commissioned him colonel of the Continental artillery. So great were the antagonisms that he engendered in the artillery corps, however, that Congress was forced to remove him from his command on 17 November. Gridley continued to serve as chief engineer in the army until some time in 1776, and he was engineer general for the eastern department from 1777 to 1780.

3Joseph Reed wrote to Col. Samuel Gerrish on 7 July 1775: “I am directed by his Excelly the General to beg you wou’d without delay see that a Return is made of your Regiment, agreeable to Orders issued the 4th Instant—The Express [to the Continental Congress] has been detain’d some time thro’ this Inattention The Forces raised in Connecticut, New Hampshire & Rhode Island having sent in their Returns very complete” (MH: Loammi Baldwin Papers). GW was anxious to forward a full report on the strength of the army to the Continental Congress in accordance with Congress’s instructions of 22 June, but delays in obtaining the returns from the Massachusetts regiments named here obliged him to wait until 10 July. See GW to Hancock, 10–11 July 1775, Document II. Letter Sent, n. 10, and GW to Richard Henry Lee, 10 July 1775, n.2. Samuel Gerrish (c.1729–1795) of Newbury, Mass., was cashiered on 19 Aug. 1775 for conduct unbecoming an officer (General Orders, that date).

4At the end of this paragraph, the Reed copy includes the sentence: “The Prisoner to have Notice to Day.” Near the bottom of the page appears the memorandum: “Leut. Brigham belongs to Capt. Woods Company Genl Wards Regimt.” Timothy Brigham was actually first lieutenant of Capt. Samuel Hood’s company in Maj. Gen. Artemas Ward’s Massachusetts regiment.

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