George Washington Papers

General Orders, 24 May 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, New York, May 24th 1776

Parole Mifflin.Countersign Lynch.

The Brigadier Generals will settle the mode, and hours, for going the Rounds at night, every morning on the General Parade at Guard-mounting.

The following Sail Makers, are to embark this day on board a Vessel, in order to proceed to Albany, and from thence to Genl schuyler, and receive his further orders—Vizt Francis Howard[,] Samuel Holmes[,] Ebenezer Durkee[,] Daniel Van Der Pool of Col. Wards regiment[;] Lewis Lamb of Col. Little’s regt[;] George Lemot of Col. Bailey’s regt.

They are to be furnished, with ten days provision a man. Capt. Harwood’s Company is to join Lieut. Col. Tupper, and do duty on board the whaling boats &c. &c.1

Mr Livingston, who has hitherto supplied Col. McDougall’s Regiment with provisions, having declined doing it any longer; he is to order his Quarter Master, to apply to the Commissary General for provision for the future, who is desired to supply all those Corps, which were hitherto supply’d by Mr Abraham Livingston.2

The removal of General Washington’s Guard, from his Head Quarters in Town, occasions the following alterations in the detail of guards (vizt) The seven Men lately added to the Provost, to be taken from it; and a Guard of one Serjeant, one Corporal, and fifteen Men to mount at the place where Genl Washingtons Guard was kept; who are to relieve the sentries at his door, General Gates’s, Pay Master General’s &c.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Peter Harwood (1740–1805), who became a captain in Col. Ebenezer Learned’s 3d Continental Regiment on 1 Jan. 1776, was taken prisoner at the Battle of White Plains on 28 Oct. 1776. After his exchange Harwood was assigned as a captain in the 6th Massachusetts Regiment, and in December 1777 he was promoted to major of that regiment. Harwood resigned in October 1780 citing as reasons the state of his “Domestick Affairs” and “the probability of the Regts being Reduced” leaving some field officers without positions (Harwood to GW, 16 Oct. 1780, DNA: RG 93).

2Abraham Livingston wrote to Hancock on 8 May offering to relinquish the contract that he had made with the New York provincial congress on 16 Mar. 1776 to supply provisions for Continental troops in New York if the Continental Congress thought it in the public interest for him to do so (DNA:PCC, item 78; see also GW to Hancock, 22 April 1776, n.9). The Continental Congress did not hesitate in accepting Livingston’s offer, because about the same time that Livingston made his contract with the provincial congress in New York, Carpenter Wharton, commissary for the Pennsylvania troops, informed the Continental Congress in Philadelphia that he would supply the army at New York at a much cheaper rate than the 10½ d. per ration being paid to Livingston (see James Duane to the New York Convention, 21 Mar., and the New York Delegates to Walter Livingston, 17 April 1776, in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 3:423, 551, and the New York committee of safety to Hancock, 26 Mar. 1776, DNA:PCC, item 67). Relieved that this embarrassing situation had been resolved so easily, the Continental Congress warmly praised Livingston for his “example of public spirit” in its resolution of 10 May accepting his relinquishment of his contract (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 4:346; see also Hancock to Livingston, 23 May 1776, in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 4:63–64). That feeling of gratitude may have prompted the Continental Congress’s secret committee in December 1776 to engage Livingston as one of its agents in New England for procuring clothing for the army. Livingston performed that duty until August 1777, when he decided to move to Charleston, S.C. (see Livingston to George Clinton, 20 Aug. 1777, in Hastings, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 2:236–38). On 3 Feb. 1778 Congress appointed Livingston a Continental agent at Charleston for recovering commercial debts due to the United States and for claiming the Continental share of prizes condemned in the South Carolina admiralty court (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 10:114). Livingston held that office until Charleston fell to the British in May 1780.

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