George Washington Papers

General Orders, 10 March 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, Cambridge, March 10th 1776

Parole Tighlman.Countersign Mercer.

There was a mistake in the Orders of the Sixth Instant—Genl Heath being ordered for the command therein mentioned, instead of Genl Green, who is appointed for that command.1

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Various members of GW’s headquarters staff communicated his other orders of this date in letters to particular officers. Robert Hanson Harrison wrote on this date to Artemas Ward: “By his Excellency’s command I am to inform you that It is his desire that you give peremptory Orders to the Artillery Officer commandg at Lams Dam, that he must not fire upon the Town of Boston tonight unless the Enemy first begin a Cannonade, and that you Inform the Officer at Dorchester heights that he is not to fire from thence on the Town—If they begin, and we have any Cannon on Nuke [Nook’s] Hill, his Excellency wou’d have the fire to be returned from thence among the Shipping and every damage ⟨don⟩e them that possibly can. Notwithstanding the accounts received of ⟨the⟩ Enemy’s being about to evacuate the Town with all seeming hurry & expedition, his Excellency is apprehensive that Genl Howe has some design of having a brush before his departure and is only waiting in hopes of findg us of[f] our Guard, he therefore desires that you will be very vigilant and have every necessary precaution taken to prevent a Surprize and to give them a proper reception in case they attempt anything” (MHi: Ward Papers).

At seven o’clock on the evening of 10 Mar. Horatio Gates wrote to General Ward: “The Motions of The Enemys Fleet, Strongly intimate their intention of Abandoning The Town of Boston tomorrow, His Excellency Generel Washington is therefore Anxious to take every Possible Advantage of their precipate Retreat; & desires you would Order all the Troops at Roxbury, & Dorchester Heights, to be paraded at their Several Alarm Posts, half an hour before day tomorrow morning; it is not possible for His Excellency to give any Particular directions as to the manner of Distressing the Enemy, or assisting Our Friends in The Town, as there is no foreseeing the Circumstances that will accompany the departure of [the] Ministerial Army: a very exact Observation will be taken from hence of all The Enemys Motions at Sun rise. the General desires the like attention may be paid on Your side, & wishes you to Communicate every half hour all extraordinary Occurrences; you may be assured of receiving the like minute Accounts from hence” (MHi: Ward Papers).

In another letter from headquarters dated 10 Mar. William Palfrey wrote to Gen. John Thomas: “I am commanded by his Excellency to desire you would send him a particular Account of the Situation of the detachment under your Command since the Cannonade of last Night. What Effects it had, and how the Works go on” (NN: Emmet Collection). Thomas commanded the detachment on Dorchester Neck. For the abortive effort to fortify Nook’s Hill on the night of 9 Mar., see GW to Hancock, 7–9 Mar. 1776, n.19.

Robert Hanson Harrison also wrote to Col. Loammi Baldwin at Chelsea on 10 Mar.: “It is his Excellency’s command that you furnish Colo. [John] Nixon with such men as he may want from your own Regiment, Captain [Naler] Hatch’s Company & the Riflemen stationed at Malden” (MH: Baldwin Papers).

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