George Washington Papers

General Orders, 20 July 1775

General Orders

Head Quarters, Cambridge, July 20th 1775.

Parole, Albany.Countersign, Ticonderoga.

Certain Drums in, and near Cambridge, very improperly beat the Revellie this morning before day; Although the Troops are ordered to be under Arms, half an hour before day light; it does not follow the drums are to beat at that time. The Reveille is to beat when a Centry can see clearly one thousand Yards around him, and not before.

All Aids-de-Camp, and Majors of Brigade, are to keep regularly entered in a book; all the General Orders of the army, as well as those of the Brigades they belong to: As the General in Chief, will not for the future, admit as an Excuse for the Breach of Orders; the plea of not knowing them.

Samuel Osgood and Joseph Ward Esqrs. being appointed Aids-de Camp, to Major General Ward, they are to be obeyed as such;1 and all orders coming from Aids-de Camp, are to be consider’d, as the Orders of their respective Generals, and whether written or verbal, to be forthwith obeyed: It may be necessary once more to repeat to the Army, that every Aid-de-Camp and Major of Brigade, will be distinguished by a green ribband.2

Certain Corps, having been dilatory in delivering last Saturday, their weekly Returns, as positively directed by former orders;3 The General is determin’d for the future, not to excuse any neglect in sending the Returns every Saturday, to the Adjutant General. As the Commanding Officers of Regiments, are to be answerable for the due observance of this Order, it is expected they are exact in obliging their respective Adjutants, to fullfill their duty.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Samuel Osgood (1748–1813), a merchant in Andover, joined the American army after the Battle of Lexington as captain of a Massachusetts militia company. He served as an aide-de-camp to Artemas Ward until 23 April 1776, eventually achieving the rank of colonel. From 1781 to 1784 Osgood sat in the Continental Congress and was a member of the Board of Treasury. Joseph Ward (born c.1737), a Massachusetts schoolmaster, was an aide-de-camp to his second cousin Artemas Ward until 23 April 1776 and then his secretary until 20 Sept. 1776. On 10 April 1777 Joseph Ward became commissary general of musters for the Continental army with the rank of colonel, an office he held until February 1780.

2This insignia was first prescribed in General Orders, 14 July 1775.

3For GW’s previous orders regarding returns, see General Orders, 12, 13, and 17 July 1775.

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