George Washington Papers

General Orders, 24 July 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, New York, July 24th 1776.

Parole Virginia.Countersign Wales.

Each Brigadier, with the Colonel and commanding officer[s] of the several Regiments, in his Brigade, are to meet and estimate the quantity of paper, absolutely necessary to serve a Regiment for Returns, and other public Uses for a Month, and make report thereof to the General at Orderly time on Friday next, that the Quarter Master General may be directed to provide & deliver the same Monthly to the Colonels, for the use of their respective regiments.1

The General being sensible of the difficulty, and expence of providing Cloaths, of almost any kind, for the Troops, feels an unwillingness to recommend, much more to order, any kind of Uniform, but as it is absolutely necessary that men should have Cloaths and appear decent and tight,2 he earnestly encourages the use of Hunting Shirts, with long Breeches, made of the same Cloth, Gaiter fashion about the Legs, to all those yet unprovided. No Dress can be had cheaper, nor more convenient, as the Wearer may be cool in warm weather, and warm in cool weather by putting on under-Cloaths which will not change the outward dress, Winter or Summer—Besides which it is a dress justly supposed to carry no small terror to the enemy, who think every such person a complete marksman.3

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

“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 191, includes the following orders at the beginning of the general orders for this date: “Three Hundred Men properly Officer’d to Parade to Morrow Morning at 6 oClock on the Grand Parade with their Arms & Ammunition to releive the Party that went to Kings Bridge on the seventeenth Instant—to take one Days Provisions & go up by Water attending to the Tide. General Wadsworths Brigade to furnish 50 Carpenters with a Captain, 2 Subalterns, 4 Serjeants, 4 Corporals, 1 Drum & 1 fife to proceed to Kings Bridge to Build Stores for the Commissary & Quarter Master General. This Detachment to be allowed for in the Detail & to proceed by Water, To Apply to General Putnam for Boats. They are to Parade to Morrow Morning at the Assistant Q M General & take his directions.” At the end of this day’s general orders, “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 191, includes this order: “Some difficulties having Intervened so that the Commissary General cannot comply with the Order of the 22d Instant respecting the lessening the Rations of Meat & Paying Money in Lieu that the Men may increase their Vegetables in the Time allotted them for that purpose. The Colonels are desir’d not to draw for such Money till further Orders & directions be taken in the matter which will be done Immediately.” For similar versions of these orders, see 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 81:167–68.

1The following Friday was 26 July. Reports from six brigades and the artillery regiment are in DLC:GW. Nathanael Greene and his regimental commanders say in their undated report: “A Ream pr month to each Regiment [is] thought sufficient.” William Heath writes on 25 July that he and his regimental commanders think “that Twelve Quires of Paper are absolutely necessary for each Regiment per month, if they are [to] Provide their own Books,” and Lord Stirling reports on that date that his field officers “are Unnanimously of Oppinion that If one quire of paper be Allowed per month to Each Company, one quire to the Adjutant and One quire to the Commanding Officer of each Regiment per Month will be a Suffecient and proper Allowance.” Joseph Spencer and the colonels of his brigade write on 26 July “that Ten Quire to a Regiment will be necessary [per month] exclusive of sufficient Books for Orders & printed Forms for weekly Returns.” Writing on the same date, James Wadsworth says that his brigade also needs an estimated ten quires of paper a month for each regiment, and Peter Gordon, brigade major of Nathaniel Heard’s brigade, reports the total estimated monthly requirement for that brigade as forty-two quires. Henry Knox’s estimate of 26 July for his artillery regiment is twenty quires a month. For GW’s directions about the amount of paper to be issued to each regiment, see General Orders, 29 July.

2This word is “light” 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 191, 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 81:168.

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