George Washington Papers

General Orders, 14 April 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, New-York, April 14th 1776

Parole, New-York.Countersign Prosperity.

The General compliments the Officers who have successively commanded at this Post, and returns his Thanks to them, and to all the Officers, and Soldiers, under their Command, for the many Works of Defence, which have been so expeditiously erected, and doubts not but the same Spirit of Zeal for the service, will continue to animate their future conduct.

Exact Returns of all the Regiments and Corps, to be made up and sent to the Adjutant General as soon as possible—The Commanding Officers at the out-posts, are also to send a Report of the Numbers under their command, where, and how disposed of—Exact Returns also, of all the Ordnance, and military Stores, Provisions, Stores in the Department of the Quarter Master General &c., to be forthwith deliver’d to the Commander in Chief, signed by the proper Officer of the Head of each department.

All persons infected with the Small-Pox are to be immediately removed to a secure place to be provided by the Qr Mr General, who will consult the Magistrates of the City thereupon. A proper Guard, to be composed of men, who have had that Disorder, to be fixed at this Hospital, to prevent any intercourse but such as the manager shall licence.

Pay-Abstracts are to be made out for each Regiment, and Corps in this department, to the 1st of April exclusive; (each Month seperate) and lodged with Major Harrison Aid-de-Camp to the General, that provision may be made for payment.

As the General is unacquainted at present, with the various Orders for the good Government of the Troops here, or the reasons which induced the giving of them; He directs, that those, and all General Orders be duly attended to, and obeyed until countermanded by himself.

The General flatters himself, that he shall hear no Complaints from the Citizens, of abuse, or ill-treatment, in any respect whatsoever; but that every Officer, and Soldier, of every Rank and Denomination, will pride themselves (as Men contending in the glorious Cause of Liberty ought to do) in an orderly, decent and regular deportment.

One Captain, four Subalterns, four Serjeants, four Corporals, two Drums, and one hundred Privates, to parade this Afternoon at four O’Clock, to go as Guard to Governor’s Island.

Two Field Officers, four Captains, eight Subalterns, sixteen Serjeants, four Drums & Fifes and four hundred men from Heath’s and Lord Stirling’s Brigades, to parade at Six O’Clock to morrow Morning, with three days provisions, to go as a working party to Governor’s Island—Genl Putnam will order Boats to be ready at the Ferry to transport them.1

For the future the Commissary General is not to issue any Rum to working parties, unless the Return is signed by the Officer commanding the whole party.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

On arriving at New York on 13 April, GW occupied a town house on Broadway owned by William Smith (1728–1793) (Jones, History of N.Y. description begins Thomas Jones. History of New York during The Revolutionary War, and of the Leading Events in the Other Colonies at that Period. Edited by Edward Floyd De Lancey. 2 vols. New York, 1879. description ends , 1:85). When Mrs. Washington reached the city four days later, she took up residence in the handsome mansion belonging to Abraham Mortier (d. 1771), the former deputy paymaster general of the British forces in America, and GW undoubtedly joined her there about that time. Mortier’s house stood outside the city proper in Lispenard’s Meadows at what is now the corner of Varick and Charlton streets, about two-and-a-half miles from the battery at the southern end of Manhattan Island. Although GW conducted official business at Mortier’s house in June after returning from a trip to Philadelphia, his headquarters were maintained separately from his living quarters during April and May. That headquarters was “in town” (Dodge, “Orderly Book,” 128), but its exact location is a matter of some dispute. Among the places that have been suggested as GW’s headquarters during this period are the Bayard’s Hill redoubt and a house on Pearl Street near the battery (see Freeman, Washington description begins Douglas Southall Freeman. George Washington: A Biography. 7 vols. New York, 1948–57. description ends , 4:635–37). The General Orders for 19 and 22 May indicate, however, that his headquarters continued to be in Smith’s town house on Broadway.

1Governors Island, also known as Nutten Island, lies in New York Bay about half a mile off Manhattan’s battery. On the night of 8 April Gen. Israel Putnam sent one thousand men to the island to begin fortifying it. Defensive works were begun that same night at Red Hook on Long Island, about half a mile south of Governors Island, to protect that side of Governors Island from enemy warships (see Israel Putnam to Hancock, 7 April, and William Heath to Putnam, 8 April 1776, in Clark and Morgan, Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 12 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964–. description ends , 4:698, 721).

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