George Washington Papers

General Orders, 5 June 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, New York, June 5th 1776

Parole Esopus.Countersign Albany.

Lieut. John Riggs of Capt. McFarland’s Company, & Col. Nixon’s Regiment, tried at the General Court Martial, whereof Col: Nixon is President, for “Counterfeiting, and assuming the character of a Field Officer, and under pretence of being Field Officer of the day, ordering out one of the principal Guards, in the army; imposing upon Capt. Sumner commanding the upper Barrack Guard; and behaving herein unbecoming the Character of an Officer, acting in subversion of military order &c.[”] is found guilty of the several charges brought against him, and sentenced by the Court to be cashiered for the same.1

The General approves of the sentence of the Court, and orders that Mr John Riggs, late Lieutenant in Col. Nixon’s Regiment do depart the Army, City and Encampment immediately.

George Cottingen and Daniel Dunevil, both of Captain Van Wyck’s Company, of Col: McDougall’s Regiment,2 tried at the above Court Martial, for “Desertion”—are severally found guilty of the same, and sentenced to be whipped Thirty-nine Lashes each, on their bare backs.

The General approves the above sentence, and orders it to be put in execution to morrow morning, at guard mounting, at the head of the regiment.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1John Riggs, who served as a corporal in the Lexington alarm of April 1775, became a second lieutenant in Col. John Nixon’s Massachusetts regiment in May of that year and a first lieutenant in Nixon’s 4th Continental Regiment on 1 Jan. 1776. Moses McFarland (1738–1802), who eventually lost the use of an arm as a result of a shoulder wound sustained at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775, served successively as a captain in Nixon’s Massachusetts regiment during 1775, the 4th Continental Regiment during 1776, and the 6th Massachusetts Regiment from 1 Jan. to 16 Mar. 1777 when he was assigned to the Invalid Regiment apparently because of the condition of his arm. McFarland remained in the Invalid Regiment until the end of the war and was brevetted a major in June 1783.

2Capt. Abraham Van Wyck of Col. Alexander McDougall’s 1st New York Regiment and his two lieutenants were killed instantly during a violent thunderstorm on the evening of 21 Aug. 1776 when lightning struck a marquee in McDougall’s camp “near the Bull’s Head in the Bowery” (New-York Gazette, and the Weekly Mercury, 26 Aug. 1776).

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