George Washington Papers

General Orders, 16 June 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, New York, June 16th 1776.

Parole Hanover.Countersign Ireland.

The Continental Congress have been pleased to come to the following resolution.

“In Congress, June 10th 1776. Resolved. That the pay of the Continental Troops, in the middle department be henceforth the same, as that of the Troops in the Eastern department.”

The General therefore directs, that when the Pay Abstracts for any of the Corps of the middle Department are made out, that the Colonels, or commanding Officers thereof, will take care that the pay of the men, from the 10th of June, be the same as those of the Eastern regiments.1

The Brigadiers are to make themselves well acquainted with the nature, and situation of the Grounds, on the North and East Rivers, for some considerable distance about the City, with the best approaches to them, that they may know how to occupy these grounds, to the best advantage if occasion should require, and they are to cause the same to be done by their respective officers in turn.2

Great and crying Complaints being made against the Armourers, not only for their Idleness, but the deceitful manner in which their work is executed—The General does in explicit terms assure them, that if any further Complaint of either should be exhibited, he will punish them in a most examplary manner; of this the Superintendent of that branch of business is desired, to make them fully acquainted.

Lieut: Walker of Col. Nixon’s Regiment, tried at the General Court-Martial, whereof Col. Parsons is president, on a charge exhibited against him by Capt: Butler of said Regiment for “maliciously and falsly accusing him of high Crimes and misdemeanours, and in consequence of which, procuring him, the said Capt: Butler, to be arrested and tried at a late General Court Martial, by which he was honorably acquitted.”3

The Court after mature consideration are of opinion, that Lieut: Walker had sufficient grounds for exhibiting a Complaint, against Capt: Butler, and that he is not guilty of maliciously, and falsly accusing Capt: Butler, and therefore do acquit the prisoner of the charge against him.

The General approves of the above sentence past against Lieut: Walker, and orders him released from his arrest.

Bowers Laybourn, and Thomas Perry, both of Capt. Van Wyck’s Company, and Col. McDougall’s Regiment, tried at the above Court Martial for “Desertion,” are found guilty and sentenced severally to be whipped Thirty-nine Lashes each on his bare back, for their respective offences.

Henry Davis of Capt: Johnson’s Company, Col. McDougall’s Regiment tried at the above Court Martial for “Desertion” is found guilty of the same and sentenced to be whipped Thirty-Lashes on his bare back for said offence.

The General approves of the above sentences, and orders the corporal punishment to be executed at the usual time and place.

Lieut: Elijah Oakly of Capt: Stenrods Company, in Col: McDougall’s Regiment, tried at the General Court Martial, whereof Col. Nixon was President, for “assaulting and beating, without provocation, one Miss Patterson, and Inhabitant of the City of New York” The Court are of opinion that Lieut: Oakley is guilty of the charge brot against him, and that he has behaved unworthy the character of a Gentleman and Officer; and the Court adjudge that he, Lieut: Oakley, be cashiered for said offence, and further orders, that Twenty Dollars be stopped out of the prisoner Lieut: Oakley’s pay (if so much be due to him) and be paid by way of damage to Miss Patterson.4

The General approves of the sentence of the Court & orders that the Late Lieut. Oakley do immediately depart the camp.

Lieut: Chapman of Capt: Hale’s Company, and Col. Webb’s Regiment, tried at the General Court Martial whereof Col. Parsons is President, for “Disobedience of orders, and refusing to do his duty”—The Court are of opinion that the charge is fully supported against the prisoner Lieut: Chapman, and adjudge that he be dismissed the Continental Army for said offence.5

The General approves of the sentence of the Court Martial, against Lieut: Chapman, and orders that he be dismissed the service, and depart the camp.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Congress’s action raised the pay of private soldiers in the middle department from $5 to $6⅔ a month. GW had called attention to the pay discrepancy between the departments in his letter to Hancock of 25–26 April 1776.

2The wording is “above the City” in “Henshaw’s Orderly Book,” description begins “The Orderly Books of Colonel William Henshaw, October 1, 1775, through October 3, 1776.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, n.s., 57 (1948): 17–234. description ends 155, and Dodge, “Orderly Book,” description begins “Orderly Book Kept by Capt. Abraham Dodge of Ipswich, January 1, 1776 to August 1, 1776.” Essex Institute Historical Collections 80 (1944): 37–53, 111–30, 208–28, 368–84; 81 (1945): 87–94, 152–175. description ends 80:368. Under 26 June in his public accounts, GW charged £10.18 New York currency “to Expens. in Recon[noitering]g the Channel & Landings on both sides the No. River as high as Tarry Town to fix the defenses thereof” and £16.9.4 New York currency “to a Reconnoitre of the East River—& Along the Sound as far as Mamoraneck” (Accounts with U.S., 1775–83 description begins GW’s accounts with the United States, June 1775–June 1783. General Records—Treasury Department. Record Group 56, National Archives. description ends , 15, 17). The North River is the Hudson. Mamaroneck, N.Y., is on Long Island Sound a few miles northeast of New York City.

3Lt. Silas Walker accused Capt. Joseph Butler of fraud, unauthorized absence, and improper recruiting. For Butler’s trial, see General Orders, 19, 25 May 1776.

4The victim of Lieutenant Oakley’s attack was Sally Paterson (Patterson; see General Orders, 8 June).

5The defendant was Alpheus Chapman of Connecticut (see General Orders, 14 June). Nathan Hale (1755–1776), the celebrated “martyr-spy of the American Revolution,” graduated from Yale in 1773 and taught school before becoming a first lieutenant in Col. Charles Webb’s 7th Connecticut Regiment on 6 July 1775. Promoted to captain on 1 Sept. 1775, Hale commanded a company at the siege of Boston, and after the British evacuation, he and his men marched with Webb’s regiment to New York, where they were employed during the spring and summer of 1776 chiefly in building fortifications. About 1 Sept. 1776 Hale was attached to Lt. Col. Thomas Knowlton’s corps of rangers. When Knowlton requested a volunteer to obtain intelligence behind British lines, Hale agreed to go. Leaving the American camp at Harlem Heights sometime during the second week in September, Hale dressed as a schoolmaster and crossed to Long Island. On 21 Sept. he was apprehended by British rangers near Flushing, N.Y., and the next day, on General Howe’s orders, he was hung as a spy at the artillery park on Manhattan Island. Frederick Mackenzie, an officer in the British army, wrote in his diary that Hale “behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good Officer, to obey any orders given him by his Commander in Chief; and desired the Spectators to be at all times prepared to meet death in whatever shape it might appear” (Mackenzie, Diary description begins Diary of Frederick Mackenzie Giving a Daily Narrative of His Military Service as an Officer of the Regiment of Royal Welch Fusiliers during the Years 1775–1781 in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. 2 vols. Cambridge, Mass., 1930. description ends , 1:62).

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