George Washington Papers

General Orders, 22 May 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, New York, May 22nd 1776

Parole Washington.Countersign Gates.

The following are the names of the different Batteries, in and about this City—The Battery at the South part1 of the Town, the Grand Battery—The one immediately above it, Fort George—The one on the left of the Grand Battery, Whitehall Battery. That behind his Excellency General Washington’s Head Quarters, the Oyster Battery. The circular Battery near the Brewhouse, on the North River, The Grenadier Battery. That on the left of the Grenadier’s Battery The Jersey-Battery: The one on Bayards-hill, Bayard’s Hill Redoubt; The one on the hill where General Spencer’s Brigade is encamped Spencer’s Redoubt; below this Hill, on a Wharf, is a Fascine Battery called Waterbury’s Battery—On the hill directly above it, is a Redoubt, near the Jews Burying Ground, by the name of Badlam’s Redoubt.2

Andrew O’Brien, Serjeant, and William Welch Corporal, both of Capt. O’Harra’s Company, in Col. Wynkoops Regt tried by a late General Court Martial, whereof Col. Ritzema was President for “assaulting, beating, and dangerously wounding, one William Irvine”; are both acquitted by the Court. The General approves the sentence, and orders the prisoners to be released immediately.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam issued the general orders from 22 May to 6 June while GW was absent on his journey to Philadephia.

1The copyist inadvertently wrote “port.”

2These fortifications, most of which had been planned by Charles Lee in February of this year, were all located on lower Manhattan Island south of Greenwich Village. The grand battery was at the southernmost tip of the island where the Hudson and East rivers meet, and Fort George stood directly behind it. “On the South west part of the Town,” Lt. Isaac Bangs wrote in his journal entry for 19 April, “is a very strong & costly Fort built by the Kings Troops & many masons men for the Protection of the City from the Enemy. On the outside of the Fort at the Edge of the wall was a Battery, erected at a vast Expence to the King, built of hewn stone, the outside about ten feet high, the inside filled up to form a plane that the Wall was not more than a foot and a half high. Over this the Cannon were to play; but as so low a wall would not be a sufficient cover for our Men, our People were busily employed in making a Turf Wall upon the stone Wall, & when we arrived [two days earlier] had almost finished as compleat a Battery as ever I saw” (Bangs, Journal description begins Edward Bangs, ed. Journal of Lieutenant Isaac Bangs, April 1 to July 29, 1776. 1890. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 24).

Whitehall Battery lay east of Fort George at Whitehall dock near the mouth of the East River. Although the exact location of Oyster Battery is disputed, it apparently was on the Hudson River a short distance north of Fort George and southwest of Trinity Church (see Roberts, New York’s Forts description begins Robert B. Roberts. New York’s Forts in the Revolution. Rutherford, N.J., 1980. description ends , 299–301). That location was also near William Smith’s town house on Broadway, where GW apparently still had his headquarters at this time (see General Orders, 14 April 1776, source note). The circular Grenadier Battery lay a short distance farther up the Hudson near Harrison’s brewery (see General Orders, 29 April 1776, n.2), and the five-sided Jersey Battery, which stood nearby, was connected to the Grenadier Battery by a line of entrenchments. The redoubt on Bayard’s Hill was the centerpiece in a chain of defensive works that crossed Manhattan Island just north of the city (see General Orders, 25 April 1776, n.1). The chain was anchored on the Hudson River by Lispenard’s Hill and the Grenadier Battery and on the East River by Spencer’s Battery on Jones’s Hill and Waterbury’s Battery at Corlear’s Hook. Those batteries were named for Gen. Joseph Spencer and Col. David Waterbury, whose Connecticut troops built them. Badlam’s Redoubt, named for Capt. Stephen Badlam of the artillery, was on Rutger’s Hill near the East River between Whitehall and Waterbury’s batteries. The Jewish burying ground, which was on the outskirts of the city in 1776, is near present-day Chatham Square.

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