George Washington Papers

General Orders, 5 March 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, Cambridge, March 5th 1776

Parole Dorchester.Countersign Thomas.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Robert Hanson Harrison communicated orders of this date from GW to Gen. Artemas Ward at Roxbury and Col. Loammi Baldwin at Chelsea in letters to those officers. “As the Enemy were going on Shipboard today & the cause for It not known,” Harrison wrote to Ward on this day, “It is highly necessary that their motions shou’d be attended to with the utmost care & circumspection, lest they shou’d Surprize or take us unprovided at any point, His Excellency therefore desires that you will immediately send Orders to Braintree, Hingham & that way, that a good lookout be kept there, and If any discoveries respecting ’em can be made, that Instant notice thereof be brought to Head Quarters—tho his Excellency does not much suspect their going to or Landing at these places, yet he conceives that the utmost vigilance & care are necessary to be used, as their embarkation certainly is to answer some purpose. As no Signals in the night can be fixed on, but what will be precarious & Incertain, his Excellency requests that you will keep Two Expresses with Horses in constant readiness to communicate to him any motions of the Enemy or Occurrences which you may deem the least material & Important, the same will be done here. His Excellency desires that you will very early in the morning send over to Dorchester and get a Report from thence of their proceedings, how they go on and of any discoveries they may have made of the Enemy and that you Transmit It [to] him as expeditiously as you can” (MHi: Ward Papers).

In his letter of this date to Baldwin, Harrison wrote: “His Excellency desires that you will be particularly attentive to the motions of the Enemy & be mindful to make proper Signals, & also to give Immediate Information of any matters you may Judge worthy of Notice—Let him know by the return of the Bearer any discoveries you have made” (MH: Baldwin Papers).

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