George Washington Papers

General Orders, 25 August 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, New York, August 25th 1776.

Parole: Marlborough.Countersign: Newtown.

A special Court Martial to sit this day at twelve OClock, at Mrs Montagnies for the tryal of Lieut: Col. Zedwitz, charged with “carrying on a treasonable correspondence with the enemy”; to be composed of a Brigadier General and twelve Field Officers—General Wadsworth to preside.1

The General Order against working on Sunday is revoked the time not admitting of any delay.2 The same number of fatigue men to turn out, as yesterday, this afternoon at three OClock, as well Militia as other troops.

Col. Smallwood to command Lord Stirling’s Brigade during his absence on Long Island.3

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For the proceedings of Herman Zedwitz’s court-martial on this and the next day, see DLC:GW; see also Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 1:1159–62. The principal evidence against Zedwitz was an intercepted letter that he had written to Gov. William Tryon on 24 Aug., offering in return for £2,000 sterling in hard gold to procure accurate intelligence about the American forces from “a gentelman wich is allways near the general and has the opportunity To See all the general Returns of the Strenght of the Armee, where and how Strong the detachements are Comanded.” Zedwitz also informed Tryon of American efforts to induce Hessians to desert, an alleged plot “to Spoil the Watering place” on Staten Island with “14 Botles of Stof Black as an Ink,” and his expectation of soon being appointed “Trugh gen. Washington Recommendation . . . as full Colonel and Comander of the 3 forts on the Nort River 65 Miles from hear.” Although Zedwitz says in the letter that “de World will Certenly Blame my Caracter, by Serving in an Armee and giving the Enemy Intelligence,” he insisted at his court-martial that he only had written Tryon “such storys as he might believe without any intention on my part of performing.” The court did not accept that explanation, and on 26 Aug. it found Zedwitz guilty and sentenced him to be cashiered from the army (DLC:GW).

2For this earlier order, see General Orders, 3 August.

3Stirling on this date took command of a brigade on Long Island consisting of Col. Samuel Miles’s and Col. Samuel Atlee’s Pennsylvania regiments, two regiments of Pennsylvania levies from the flying camp, and two regiments of New York levies (see Sullivan’s orders, this date, 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 229–30).

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