George Washington Papers

General Orders, 30 October 1776

General Orders

Head-Quarters, White-Plains, Octobr 30th 1776.

Parole: Countersign:

The frequent, indeed constant complaints of the men, for want of provisions upon any Move, which is necessary for them to make, induces the General once more to desire, the commanding Officers of Regts and Corps, to see that they are never without three day’s provisions ready dress’d by them.1

All Detachments and Parties are to parade, wherever ordered, with their Packs and Provisions, that they may be ready for any service they are ordered upon.

It is strictly enjoined upon all officers, to disengage themselves of heavy and cumbrous baggage, as the difficulty of procuring Teams, for transportation of necessary baggage, and stores, which necessarily occasions all heavy Boxes, Chests &c. to be thrown away.

The General insists upon having the Rolls regularly called, that the officers may account for, and know where, the men are, who are always to be ready to turn out upon any Alarm; when Waiters are always to appear under Arms. Upon any Alarm, the Drums are to beat through the whole lines, To Arms, as quick as possible, and continue beating ’till the whole line is formed.

The Out-Guard to examine all persons riding into Camp without Arms, and turn any back who are not known, or cannot give sufficient reasons for their coming into camp.

The Brigade Majors immediately to settle a General Court Martial—No Member under the rank of Captain—A Brigadier to preside.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1During the army’s recent movement from Harlem Heights to White Plains, Pvt. Joseph Plumb Martin of Col. William Douglas’s regiment of Connecticut levies says, “We encamped on the heights called Valentine’s Hill, where we continued some days, keeping up the old system of starving. A sheep’s head which I begged of the butchers who were killing some for the ‘gentlemen officers’ was all the provisions I had for two or three days.” One the night march from Valentine’s Hill to White Plains, Martin and his messmates abandoned their heavy cast-iron cooking kettle. “I told my messmates that I could not carry our kettle any further,” Martin says. “They said they would not carry it any further. Of what use was it? They had nothing to cook and did not want anything to cook with. . . . I sat it down in the road and one of the others gave it a shove with his foot and it rolled down against the fence, and that was the last I ever saw of it. When we got through the night’s march, we found our mess was not the only one that was rid of their iron bondage” (Martin, Private Yankee Doodle description begins Joseph Plumb Martin. Private Yankee Doodle: Being a Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier. Edited by George F. Scheer. 1962. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 50–52).

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