George Washington Papers

General Orders, 16 August 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, New York, August 16th 1776

Parole: Enfield.Countersign: Danvers.

In recommending Pay Masters it is to be observed that no officer can be appointed unless he resigns his former Commission, which he is to do in person at Head Quarters.

Major Livingston, and William Blodget, are appointed Aids-du-Camp to Major General Greene—they are to be obeyed and respected accordingly.

David Astin of Col. Sillimans Regiment and Captain Meads Company,1 convicted by a General Court-Martial, whereof Col. Wyllys was President of “breaking open a store and stealing Rum, Molasses & Fish,[”] sentenced to receive thirty-nine lashes.

John McAlpine & John Hopper of Capt: Smith’s Company,2 Col. Malcom’s Regiment convicted by the same Court Martial of “being drunk on their posts”—sentenced to receive thirty lashes each—The General approves the above sentences, and orders them to be put in execution at the usual times and places.

The Orders of the 6th Instant respecting Soldiers abusing people at market, and taking their things, not being known to the troops who have come in since; it is now repeated that the General will punish such offenders severely: And He requires of the officers, who visit the Guards, to see whether the former Order is put up in each guard house, and whether an officer attends at the market agreeable to former orders, & report thereon to their Brigadiers.

Capt: Andrew Billinjo’s to do duty as Major to Col. Ritzema’s Regiment, ’till further orders.3

Unless orders are attended to, and executed, they are of no consequence, and the greatest disorders will insue, the General therefore requests, that the officers would be very careful, not only that the orders be made known to the men, but that they see themselves that they are executed—If every one in his own department would exert himself for this purpose, it would have the most happy effect.

The badness of the weather has undoubtedly prevented an attack, as the enemies troops have been embarked some time, The General therefore directs, that two days Victuals be kept ready dressed by the troops, and their Canteens filled with water; so that the men may be prepared; otherwise in case of an attack they will suffer very much.

All Tents to be struck immediately, on the Alarm being given—viz.: Two Guns at Fort George, Three from Bayards, or Bunker-hill, with a Flag in the day, and a Light at night.

The Divisions of the Army, or Brigades doing seperate duty proving very inconvenient, the whole are to be brought into the General Detail to morrow: The Brigade Majors are to be at Head Quarters, at six o’clock, to settle the detail; and the Major & Brigadier Generals are requested to send, at the same time, a note of the number of men each may want for fatigue, or direct the Engineer having the care of their Works respectively, so to do.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Abraham Mead, Jr. (1742–1827), a potter from Greenwich, Conn., was commissioned a captain in the 9th Regiment of Connecticut militia in May 1774, and in June 1776 he was named a captain in Col. Gold Selleck Silliman’s regiment of militia levies that reinforced the Continental army at New York. Mead remained on active duty with his company until January 1777 and participated in the major battles of the New York campaign. He became a member of the Greenwich committee of safety on 8 Dec. 1777 and served in that capacity until the end of the war (see Mead, Historie of Greenwich description begins Spencer P. Mead. Ye Historie of ye Town of Greenwich, County of Fairfield and State of Connecticut. New York, 1911. description ends , 153–55).

2Robert Smith (1752–1838), who previously had been a captain in Col. William Malcom’s New York City militia regiment, served as a captain in Malcom’s regiment of provincial levies from June to late October when he was wounded at the Battle of White Plains. In the spring of 1777 Smith was commissioned a captain in Malcom’s Additional Continental Regiment, and on 28 May 1778 Congress appointed him secretary to the Board of War (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 , 11:546). Unwilling to give up his commission, Smith declined to accept that office and remained in the army (see Smith to Henry Laurens, 1, 13 June 1778, DNA:PCC, item 78). He was wounded at the Battle of Monmouth on 28 June 1778, and on 19 Nov. 1778, seeing little prospect that his regiment would take the field again, he submitted his resignation to GW (see Smith to GW, 19 Nov., 5 Dec. 1778, DNA: RG 93, manuscript file nos. 20178, 18279).

3Andrew Billings (1743–1808), a silversmith from Poughkeepsie, raised a company in Dutchess County in June and July 1775 and served the ensuing campaign as a captain in Col. James Clinton’s 3d New York Regiment (see 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 , 1:75, 86). During the winter of 1776 Billings raised another company for Continental service, and on 12 April 1776 he and his men were assigned to Col. Rudolphus Ritzema’s newly created 3d New York Regiment (see ibid., 297, 308, 392, 405). As the senior captain in Ritzema’s regiment, Billings performed the duties of regimental major for several months before his appointment of this date (see Stirling’s recommendations for filling vacancies, 22 July 1776, DNA:PCC, item 58). Billings apparently left the army at the end of 1776. In January 1783 GW paid Billings forty guineas for engraving short inscriptions on two cannon that were presented to Rochambeau (see GW to Billings and to Robert Morris, both 22 Jan. 1783, DLC:GW, and 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 , 21:1081).

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