George Washington Papers

General Orders, 8 June 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, New-York, June 8th 1776.

Parole York.Countersign Hudson.

The Quarter-Master-General is to return the number of Spears, and intrenching Tools in his store.

The Brigadiers are to see that an exact return of the Spears, in their respective Brigades, and Posts, is also given in, and that a Report be fort[h]with made of the deficiencies of Arms and Accoutrements, wanting in each Regiment, distinguishing the kinds—These several returns are expected without delay.

The Colonels and commanding Officers of Regiments and Corps, are to make out pay-Abstracts for the month of April—These are to be carefully examined by the Brigadier under whom they serve, and the Pay Master-General before they are brought to the Commander in Chief [to] sign the warrants.

The Brigadier of the day is to make a report to the Commander in Chief in writing, (so soon as his tour of duty is ended) of the Guards, and all remarkable occurrences.1

The charges made by Capt. Butler, against Lieut. Silas Walker of Col. Nixon’s Regiment, are to be laid before the General-Court-Martial now sitting, and the parties to attend with their Evidences when called for by the court.2

Lieut. Van-Hook of Colonel McDougall’s regiment, charged with “Disobedience of orders”—to be tried by the General-Court-Martial now sitting.3 Also

Lieut. Ezekiel Oakley of Colonel McDougall’s Regiment, charged with “beating Sally Paterson, an Inhabitant of this town, on the head with a stick,” to be tried by the General Court Martial now sitting.4

The different Charges against the several persons above mentioned, to be tried, to be given in immediately to the Judge Advocate, together with the names of the evidences—All Evidences are to give due attendance.

Colonels—Nixon’s, Varnum’s, Parsons’s, Little’s, Huntington’s, Webb’s and Arnolds Regiments, have never given a Return of their Arms and Accoutrements, altho’ ordered near a month since, ’tis expected they will be more particular in future—And as an alteration in the state of the arms and accoutrements, may have happened in some of the Regiments, who have sent in their Returns, by purchases of arms &c.: since; those Regiments are desired to furnish a fresh return, agreeable to the General Order above—specifying good, bad and wanting.5

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Many of the written guard reports that were submitted to GW during June, July, and August 1776 can be found among the Revolutionary War rolls for 1775 to 1783 in DNA: RG 93. They include reports from brigadier generals William Heath, Joseph Spencer, Lord Stirling, James Wadsworth, Nathaniel Heard, Alexander McDougall, and John Morin Scott. Because these reports are routine in nature and for the most part contain no information of consequence, they have not been printed.

Some interesting remarks can be found, however, in a few of Heath’s reports, in particular his report of 9 June in which he writes: “On the morning of yesterday Attended on the Grand Parade to se[e] the Guards march off, and give Directions to the Field Officers of the Day, for their Conduct during the Night, At Twelve oClock at noon I visited the Guards found them in Good Order, Gave them Directions for their Conduct, Was Informed by Capt. Peters of the North River Guard that a Boat with a number (to him Unknow[n]) of Small arms were Detained by the Sentinels at one of the Slips near the Guard, Directed him Immediately to report their Number, and to whom belonging, at my Return the last night from the Jersey Side found the Enclosed note at my Quarters, The Field Officers of the Day Report that they made their Grand Round according to Order, and Visited the Guards again this morning at Revellee, and found them vigilant & Sentinels alert.

“This morning the Captain of the Upper Barrack Guard Brought to my Quarters Two Gentlemen to wit One Mr Wild and Mr Price taken into Custody of the Guard for being out without the proper Countersign, they Giving Hutchins Instead of Hudson, and a Suspicion that Mr Wild might be an Officer of the Navy from his being an Old Countryman, Upon Enquiry I find Wild has been in America about four years, that he Came from Philadelphia on yesterday and Invited a number of his Old Friends of the City (altho it Seems few if any of them were active Friends to America) to Sup with him at Hulls Tavern, in going from which they were Taken up, I have released them Upon their own Parole and Mr Palfreys Engagement that they shall again appear if Called for by your Excellency—But I am of Opinion that they had no Ill Intention.

“Upon my First doing Duty as Brigadier of the Day, which was during your Excellency’s Absence, I was Informed by the Brigadiers General who had been doing Duty that there had been a deviation from the Strict Letter of the General Orders [of 21 May], as to the officers of the Day Performing their Rounds, That it was found Impossable, Considering the Extensiveness of the City & Camp for the Colo. alone to perform the Grand Round in proper time (if at all) in nights short as the present, and that therefore the Three Field Officers performed the Grand Round, and Officers from the City Guards the Visiting Rounds, the Field officers again repairing to the out Guards at Revellee, Your Excellency in your great wisdom will approve or Disapprove of this Practise, I apprehended it my Duty in this my first report to acquaint your Excellency there with.” The note that Heath enclosed with this report has not been identified.

2For Capt. Joseph Butler’s charges against Lt. Silas Walker and Walker’s acquittal, see General Orders, 16 June 1776. See also General Orders, 19, 25 May 1776.

3Although Arendt Van Hook offered the New York provincial congress his services as a captain on 3 Feb. 1776 (N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:280), he was appointed a second lieutenant in Col. Alexander McDougall’s 1st New York Regiment later that month. Van Hook was apparently acquitted of the charges against him and continued in the service until November 1776.

4Elijah Oakley (1754–1836) was found guilty of assault and was cashiered on 16 June (see General Orders, that date).

5For GW’s previous request for returns of arms, see General Orders, 17 May 1776. The missing returns were accidentally lost in the adjutant general’s office (see General Orders, 12 June 1776).

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