George Washington Papers

General Orders, 20 March 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, Cambridge, March 20th 1776

Parole Dorchester.Countersign Salem.

Whitcombs, Phinneys, and Huchinsons Regiments are to march into Boston this day, and remain there until further orders, they are to guard the Town, and the public stores there, and do all such fatigue, and other duties, as the General commanding there, thinks proper to order—Every possible precaution will be taken to destroy the Infection of the small-pox. The Troops now in Boston are to march out, and join their respective Regiments, upon being relieved by the Regiments that are to march in.1 The Posts on Bunkers-hill, Breed’s-hill, and Charles-Town Ferry, are to be garrison’d by Col. Waldron’s Regt, who is to take especial care that the Abbaties, picketting &c. are preserved entire2—The Qr M. Genl is to see that Fire wood, or Coals, is immediately laid in for the supply of those posts. The Commissary Genl has Orders, immediately to lay in a proper supply of provisions, for the Garrisons of Boston, Bunkers-hill & Dorchester Heights.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1GW put Gen. Nathanael Greene in charge of Boston on this date, but on 29 Mar. he ordered Greene to march to New York with a brigade and asked Gen. Artemas Ward to take command of Boston. See General Orders and GW to Ward, both 29 Mar. 1776. For Greene’s orders of this date regarding the disposition of the three regiments that were sent into Boston, see Showman, Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 1:200–201. The town was occupied on 17 Mar. by detachments of troops who had already had smallpox.

2John Waldron (1740–1827) of Dover, N.H., who was captain of one of the New Hampshire militia companies that reinforced the Continental army in December 1775, raised a militia regiment in January 1776 to serve with Gen. John Sullivan’s brigade at Winter Hill until 1 April.

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