George Washington Papers

General Orders, 5 October 1776

General Orders

Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, Octobr 5th 1776

Parole: Countersign: 1

The General conceiving it to be his indispensible duty to lay before the Congress the proceedings of the General Court Martial, on the trial of Ensign McCumber, has received the following Orders from them, which he desires those Members, who were favourers of the first judgement would immediately comply with.

“In Congress, Septr 30th 1776. Resolved. That General Washington be directed to call upon such of the Members, of the Court Martial, as sat in the trial and concur’d in the acquital, of Ensign McCumber; to assign the reasons for their first judgement, together with the Names of such of the said Members, who were for the acquital; to be returned to Congress.”2

For the greater ease and convenience of doing the duty the General directs, that the two Virginia Regiments be formed into a Brigade, and for the present be under the Command of the eldest Colonel thereof:3 Also that the regiments lately from Rhode Island, and the Militia regiments from Connecticut, under the Command of Lieut. Col. Storrs and Major Graves, be formed into another Brigade, and at present be under the command of Col. Lippet4—Proper persons to do the duty of Brigade Majors, to be recommended by the Colonel who commands them, who will be paid during the time of their acting in that office: It is expected that Gentlemen capable of doing the duty, will be recommended, and none others; as it is a melancholy thing, to have the business of the Army, conducted with irregularity and sloth; when every thing should put on the face of activity and life.

After Monday, no Adjutant on the East-side of Hudson’s river, will be allowed to take orders at Head Quarters, but they must attend their Brigade Majors, and receive ’em from them5—If any Brigade Major is sick, or otherwise unable to attend, the Brigadier, or Colonel commanding, is to signify it to the Adjutant General, and recommend some suitable person to act in his stead.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1“Williams’ Diary,” description begins “Elisha Williams’ Diary of 1776.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 48 (1924): 334–53; 49 (1925): 44–60. description ends 49:48, gives the parole for this date as “Glocester” and the countersign as “Green.”

2This resolution was among those enclosed in Hancock to GW, 2 Oct. (see also 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 , 5:836). For Matthew Macomber’s court-martial, see General Orders, 22 Sept., and GW to Hancock, 25 Sept. (first letter). For the response of the members of the court to this request, see GW to Hancock, 8–9 October.

3Col. George Weedon commanded this brigade, which consisted of Col. Isaac Read’s 1st Virginia Regiment and Weedon’s 3d Virginia Regiment.

4Sylvanus Graves (1729–1801) of Killingsworth, Conn., became major of the 7th Regiment of Connecticut militia in March 1775, and during the spring of 1776 he served temporarily as major of a regiment of militia levies that reinforced New York. Graves’s 7th Regiment and Lt. Col. Experience Storrs’s 5th Regiment were among the militia regiments that the Connecticut council of safety on 6 Sept. 1776 ordered to march toward New York (see Hinman, Historical Collection description begins Don R. Gerlach. Proud Patriot: Philip Schuyler and the War of Independence, 1775–1783. Syracuse, N.Y., 1987. description ends , 163, 350, 384–85, 398). By April 1778 Graves was promoted to lieutenant colonel and was in service at Peekskill, New York. Christopher Lippitt (1744–1824) of Cranston, R.I., was appointed lieutenant colonel of Col. Henry Babcock’s Rhode Island state garrison regiment in January 1776 and succeeded him as its colonel in May. Although the regiment was taken into Continental pay on 11 May, Lippitt did not receive a Continental commission until 7 Sept., and the regiment remained in Rhode Island until 14 Sept. when, under orders from Congress to reinforce GW’s army, it began its march to New York (see 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 , 4:347, 5:734, 742, and Lippitt’s regimental orders in Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 2:338). Lippitt’s regiment served with the Continental army until it was disbanded at Morristown on 18 Jan. 1777. He was a member of the general assembly from 1777 to 1779 and became a brigadier general of the state militia by 1780.

5The following Monday was 7 October.

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