George Washington Papers

General Orders, 9 August 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, New York, August 9th 1776.

Parole: Lexington.Countersign: Maryland.

Capt. Lieut. Sergeant of the Artillery, with two Field Peices, to attach himself to General Heath’s Brigade, with the Ammunition Carts, as ordered by Col. Knox; while time will permit, he must manœuvre with the Regiments of the Brigade, and practise as much as possible. The Horses not to be taken away from the Carts, but kept with the driver in some convenient place contigious to the Brigade so as to be ready at a moments warning.

Capt. Lieut. Carpenter to do the same with Lord Stirling’s Brigade.

Capt. Lieut. Johnson to do the same with General Spencer’s Brigade.

Capt. Lieut. Crane to do the same with General Fellows Brigade.1

An Ammunition Cart is provided for each regiment with spare Cartridges; these Carts are immediately to join the several regiments to which they belong and keep with them in some safe place near the regiment.

The Quarter Master General to have the Water Casks replenished.

The Commissary General to deliver to the Colonel of each regiment, Rum in the proportion of half a pint to a man; the Colonel to make a return of the number of his men for this purpose, and see that it is properly dealt out, by putting it under the care of a very discreet officer.

As there are some regiments yet deficient in Arms, The General directs, that the Colonels, or commanders of regiments, see what good Arms there are, belonging to the sick, and put them into the hands of those who are well; if there should still be a deficiency, they are then to apply to the Adjutant General.

The General Officers to be at Head Quarters, this evening at Six o’clock precisely.

The General exhorts every man, both officer and soldier, to be prepared for action, to have his arms in the best order, not to wander from his encampment or quarters; to remember what their Country expects of them, what a few brave men have lately done in South Carolina, against a powerful Fleet & Army; to acquit themselves like men and with the blessing of heaven on so just a Cause we cannot doubt of success.

Nicholas Fish Esqr. is appointed Brigade Major to General Scott; he is to be obeyed and respected accordingly.2

Col. Glover and Col. Smallwoods Regiments are to be under the immediate direction of Brigader General Sullivan ’till some further arrangement is made of the brigades.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Benajah Carpenter of Rhode Island, who had served as a captain-lieutenant in Knox’s artillery regiment since 10 Dec. 1775, was killed at the Battle of Long Island on 27 August. John Johnston (1752–1818), a portrait painter from Boston, was one of the many Continental artillery officers who had been a member of Maj. Adino Paddock’s provincial artillery company in that city before the war. Johnston joined Col. Richard Gridley’s Massachusetts artillery regiment as a lieutenant in April 1775 and became a captain-lieutenant in Knox’s regiment on 1 Jan. 1776. Wounded and taken prisoner at the Battle of Long Island, Johnston was exchanged in May 1777, but his wounds left him unable to continue in active service, and he returned to Boston to resume his career as an artist. Joseph Crane (1742–1827) of Orange County, N.Y., served as a lieutenant in Capt. John Lamb’s independent company of New York artillery during 1775, and on 11 April 1776 the New York provincial congress appointed Crane captain-lieutenant of the Continental company of artillery that Capt. Sebastian Bauman was authorized to raise in the state (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 , 1:365, 403). Knox dismissed Crane from the Continental artillery on 15 Jan. 1777 without giving a reason (see Samuel Shaw to Crane, that date, NNGL: Knox Papers). Crane was accused in April 1778, however, of stealing a box of hard money that was captured from the enemy during the Battle of Princeton on 3 Jan. 1777 (see Richard Kip to Alexander Hamilton, 15 April 1778, in Hastings, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 3:173; GW to George Clinton, 24 April, and Clinton to GW, 8 May 1778, both in DLC:GW). Crane apparently served in the militia after January 1776. He was captured by the British at Tappan, N.Y., in the fall of 1778 and was exchanged during the following year (see Essex County, N.J., Officers to George Clinton, May 1779, in Hastings, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 4:795–96, and John Beatty to Clinton, 8 Nov. 1779, ibid., 5:349).

2Nicholas Fish (1758–1833), a young New Yorker who had broken with his wealthy Loyalist parents to side with the Patriots, served as John Morin Scott’s legal clerk from 1774 to 1776, and during those same years he developed close friendships with three other young New York Patriots, Alexander Hamilton, Robert Troup, and Richard Varick. By January 1776 Fish was a second lieutenant of “Fuziliers” in Col. John Lasher’s 1st Battalion of New York Independents, and on 21 June 1776 the New York provincial congress, acting at the urging of General Scott, appointed Fish brigade major of Scott’s brigade (see O’Callaghan and Fernow, N.Y. Colonial Documents, 15:50–52, and 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 , 1:502). GW’s order of this date confirmed that earlier appointment and gave Fish official standing in the administrative structure of the Continental army but not a Continental commission. On 13 Aug. General Scott requested the New York Convention to send Fish a provincial commission as brigade major (Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 1:953). Fish wrote the convention three days later acknowledging receipt of his commission, “which, though I think it exceptionable in not bearing the date of my appointment, I have, however, (not knowing the event of war,) concluded to take for the present, as it will secure to me such treatment as my rank entitles me to, in case I should unfortunately fall into the hands of the enemy” (ibid., 982; see also Scott to Robert Benson, 16 Aug., ibid., 981–82). In the spring of 1777 Fish secured the Continental commission that he much desired, becoming major of the 2d New York Regiment (see John Morin Scott to the New York Committee of Arrangement, 5 Nov. 1776, ibid., 3:522; Henry B. Livingston to the Committee of Arrangement, 24 Nov. 1776, ibid., 834–35; and Fish description begins S. Fish. 1600–1914. New York, 1942. description ends , 1600–1914, 32–34). GW, who had a good opinion of Fish’s military abilities, named him brigade inspector to Gen. Enoch Poor’s brigade on 29 Mar. 1778 (see General Orders, that date), and in June 1779 Fish became brigade inspector of Gen. James Clinton’s brigade. Fish marched to Yorktown with the 2d New York Regiment in 1781, and on the night of 14 Oct. 1781 he commanded a detachment in the assault on redoubt number ten (see Alexander Hamilton to Lafayette, 15 Oct. 1781, in Idzerda and Crout, Lafayette Papers description begins Stanley J. Idzerda et al., eds. Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776–1790. 5 vols. Ithaca, N.Y., 1977-83. description ends , 4:418–20). Fish remained in the Continental army until the end of the war. In 1785 he joined the 1st American Regiment as a major, and in 1786 he became the first adjutant general of New York. Fish declined GW’s offer of the position of adjutant general in Gen. Anthony Wayne’s army in 1792, but the next year he accepted appointment as revenue supervisor for New York.

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