Head Quarters, Cambridge, July 27th 1775.
Parole, Bedford.Countersign, Guilford.
John Trumbull Esqr. being appointed Aid: D. Camp to his Excellency the Commander in Chief; He is to be obeyed as such.1
A Court of enquiry to sit to morrow Morning at eight OClock, in the Tutor’s Chamber (Mr Hall) to examine into a Complaint exhibited upon Oath, in the public newspapers against Mr Benjamin Whiting, now a prisoner in the College; All Evidences and Persons concern’d to attend the Court.2
For the future when any Deserters come to any of the out Guards, they are with the least delay to be sent by a Corporals Guard, to the next Guard in the Lines, who is immediately to escort them in the same manner to the Major General commanding that division of the Army, who as soon as he has examined them will fort[h]with send them under a proper Escort from his guard to the head quarters: Some Deserters being made drunk, who came last night from the Enemy, before they reached Head Quarters; It will be considered as a Breach of orders in any person, who gives Rum to Deserters, before they are examined by the General.
A Subaltern Officer’s guard to be mounted to morrow morning, at eight OClock, at a certain distance from the small pox Hospital; the Officer to come this evening, at six OClock, to the Adjutant General for orders.
Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. John Trumbull, the youngest child of Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., of Connecticut, became adjutant and “a sort of aid-du-camp” to Brig. Gen. Joseph Spencer at Roxbury in May 1775. In his autobiography John Trumbull says that a few days after GW arrived at Cambridge, “I was told by my eldest brother [Joseph Trumbull], the commissary general, that the commander in chief was very desirous of obtaining a correct plan of the enemy’s works, in front of our position on Boston neck; and he advised me (as I could draw) to attempt to execute a view and plan, as a mean of introducing myself (probably) to the favorable notice of the general.” Trumbull did draw a map of the British fortifications at Roxbury and sent it to GW. “This,” he says, “(probably) led to my future promotion; for, soon after, I was presented to the general, and appointed his second aid-du-camp” (Sizer, Trumbull Autobiography description begins Theodore Sizer, ed. The Autobiography of Colonel John Trumbull: Patriot-Artist, 1756–1843. 1953. Reprint. New York, 1970. description ends , 17, 21–22). For Trumbull’s map of Roxbury and another that he made of the whole Boston area, see GW to Hancock, 4–5 Aug. 1775, n.23. Trumbull served as an aide-de-camp to GW until he was appointed Spencer’s brigade major on 15 Aug. 1775 (General Orders, that date). In June 1776 Gen. Horatio Gates made him deputy adjutant general for the northern department with the rank of colonel, but the Continental Congress did not approve that appointment until the following September. Disappointed that Congress put a September rather than a June date on his commission, Trumbull resigned from the army in February 1777. After studying art for a year in Boston, he volunteered to serve as an aide-de-camp to Gen. John Sullivan during the Rhode Island campaign of 1778. In 1780 Trumbull went to London to become a pupil of the distinguished American artist Benjamin West.
2. Benjamin Whiting (d. 1779), sheriff of Hillsborough County, N.H., was accused of having Loyalist sympathies. The charges against him appeared in two depositions printed in the New-England Chronicle: or, the Essex Gazette (Cambridge, Mass.), 21 July 1775. In the longer of the two, dated 6 July 1775, Thompson Maxwell asserted “that in or about the Month of March last past, as I was riding from Hollis to Amherst (in New-Hampshire Government) in Company with Benjamin Whiting, Esq; who asked me what I thought of Major [John] Sullivan’s taking away the Powder and Guns from Castle William and Mary? I answered him, that I looked on it as a Piece of good Conduct. The said Whiting answered, that the said Sullivan was a damn’d pervert’d Villain for so doing, and a damn’d Rebel, and deserved to be hanged, and that this Spring the King’s Standard would be set up in America, and Proclamation made that those that would come in and enter their Names, would have a Pardon, and those that would not, would be deemed Rebels and suffer Death justly, and that within three Months said Sullivan and John Hancock would be hanged.” In the other deposition, dated 13 July 1775, Robert Fletcher declared “that some Time in April or the begining of May, 1774, at Dunstable, . . . Benjamin Whiting, Esq;... said that a Man in the Deponent’s Place, that did not endeavour that the Acts of Parliament should be put in Execution, ought to be damned.” The court of inquiry cleared Whiting of all charges (General Orders, 29 July 1775). Whiting fled from New Hampshire in April 1777 on being accused of passing counterfeit money and joined Gov. John Wentworth’s Loyalist volunteers as a lieutenant. He was killed on Long Island in 1779. Stephen Hall (d. 1795), in whose chamber Whiting’s court of inquiry was held, was a tutor at Harvard College from 1772 to 1778 and a fellow from 1777 to 1778.