George Washington Papers

General Orders, 18 July 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, New York, July 18th 1776.

Parole Italy.Countersign Kent.

Altho’ the General is very sensible that the great fatigue duty of this Army (which he is highly pleased to see the officers and men go through, with so much cheerfulness and zeal) does not allow much time for manœuvring and exercising the troops; yet it is a matter of so much consequence to have them as well practiced, as time and circumstances will admit, that he earnestly recommends it to the Brigadiers, Colonels or commanding Officers of Regiments, to take time for that purpose, and particularly to have the men instructed and practice the Evolutions, Manœuvring, and as much of the Manual Exercise, as respects loading and firing, not only with quickness, but calmness.

John Priest of Capt. Maxwell’s Company,1 Col. Prescott’s Regiment; Duncan Grant of Capt: McFarland’s Company Col. Nixon’s Regiment; Jason Kemp of Capt: Bolsters Company late Col. Learneds Regt; William Baker of Capt. Waterhouses Company Col. Parsons’s Regt; all tried by a General Court Martial whereof Col. Webb was President; for “Desertion,” and found guilty, were sentenced to receive Thirty-nine Lashes each—Baker to receive his punishment at three different times, Thirteen Lashes each time.

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

Two Guns fired from Cobble-hill, on Long Island, are to be the Signal that the enemy have landed on that Island.

Complaints having frequently been made, that the Sentries especially those along the river fire wantonly at boats and persons passing; Officers of Guards are to be careful upon this head and acquaint the Sentries that they are not to fire upon boats coming to the town—and that they are not to molest, or interrupt, the Ferry Boats.2

The present number of fatigue to be augmented with one hundred men properly officered, the whole to parade precisely at six oClock, in the morning, to continue so ’till further orders.

Col. Malcom of Genl Scott’s Brigade, to have the superintendance of the work laid out near that encampment, & to be execused from other duty.

The General invites the Brigade Major of the day, to dine with him in course, with the other officers of the day.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Hugh Maxwell (1733–1799), a professional surveyor who had served as a provincial ensign during the French and Indian War, moved in 1773 from Bedford, Mass., to that part of Charlemont, Mass., that later became the town of Heath, and when the Lexington alarm was sounded in April 1775, he led a company of Hampshire County minutemen to Cambridge. Receiving an appointment as a captain in Col. William Prescott’s Massachusetts regiment the following month, Maxwell fought and was wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775. During 1776 Maxwell continued serving as a captain in Prescott’s 7th Continental Regiment, and on 1 Jan. 1777 he became a captain in Col. John Bailey’s 2d Massachusetts Regiment. Maxwell was promoted to major of the 15th Massachusetts in July 1777 and returned to the 2d Regiment two years later. In August 1782 Maxwell became lieutenant colonel of the 8th Massachusetts, and in June 1783 he transferred to the 3d Massachusetts, where he remained until the war ended a few months later.

2Both “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 185, 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 81:161, read “Army Boats.”

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