George Washington Papers

General Orders, 23 June 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, New York, June 23rd 1776.

Parole Cambridge.Countersign Dorchester.

Mutual Complaints having been made by the Armourers, and Soldiers, respecting the repairing of Arms; The Officers of the several regiments, are earnestly called upon, to examine their Men, and turn out all those who can work to any advantage in the Armourers Shop, though they should not be complete workmen; and to prevent further uneasiness, the several Captains are to inspect the arms of their Companies, and either themselves, or by some persons for whom they will be answerable, have the defective Arms sent to the Armourers when the Master Workman will give a receipt for them—the same officer in like manner attending to the return of the arms and to make report if the Armourers fail in their work—The Honor and Safety of the army depends so much upon a strict attention, to the state of the arms, that the General hopes no pains will be spared upon this head.

A Detachment consisting of one Lieut: Colonel, one Major, six Captains, twelve subalterns, eighteen Serjeants, eighteen Corporals, six Drums & Fifers, and three hundred Privates to parade to morrow morning, at the Grand parade, at eight OClock1 with their arms, ammunition and blankets, to have four days provisions, there to receive their orders from Genl Putnam—Lieut: Col. Jacobs, and Major Colbourne to be the Field Officers of the above detachment.2

The sentries at the Laboratory and Artillery Park to be doubled every night ’till further orders—The Brigade Majors will strengthen these Guards with an addition of men for that purpose.

Major Trumbull being promoted, Adjutant Peek of Col. Huntingtons Regiment, to act as Brigade Major to General Spencers brigade, ’till further appointment is made.3

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1The time is given as “1 oClock” 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 160, 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 80:375.

2John Jacobs (1735–1817), who had been major of Col. John Thomas’s Massachusetts regiment during 1775, was lieutenant colonel of Col. John Bailey’s 23d Continental Regiment at this time. As an officer, Samuel Holden Parsons wrote John Adams on 15 Aug. 1776 “Jacobs is less than Nothing” (Taylor, Papers of John Adams description begins Robert J. Taylor et al., eds. Papers of John Adams. 17 vols. to date. Cambridge, Mass., and London, 1977–. description ends , 4:462–65). Jacobs left the Continental army at the end of 1776, and in 1778 he became a colonel in the Massachusetts militia. Andrew Colburn (d. 1777) of New Hampshire, a veteran of the French and Indian War, was appointed major of Col. John Nixon’s 4th Continental Regiment on 1 Jan. 1776. Wounded at the Battle of Harlem Heights in October 1776, Colburn was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 3d New Hampshire Regiment the following month. In September 1777 he was fatally wounded in the fighting at Stillwater, New York.

3John Trumbull had recently been named deputy adjutant general for the northern department by General Gates, and Congress confirmed his appointment on 12 Sept. 1776 (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 , 5:753). William Peck (1755–1832) of Rhode Island had served since the beginning of 1776 as adjutant of Col. Jedediah Huntington’s 17th Continental Regiment with the rank of first lieutenant. He was permanently appointed brigade major of Spencer’s brigade on 28 July 1776, and on 14 Aug. 1776 he became an aide-de-camp to Spencer with the rank of major (see General Orders for those dates [1] "[2]). In May 1777 Spencer named Peck deputy adjutant general of the militia and state troops in Rhode Island, an appointment that was confirmed by Congress the following July (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 , 8:561). Peck served Spencer as an aide-de-camp until January 1778 and continued as adjutant general in Rhode Island until 1781.

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