George Washington Papers

General Orders, 6 November 1776

General Orders

Head-Quarters, White-Plains, Nov: 6th 1776.

Parole: .Countersign:

As the late movements of the enemy will require some change of our present disposition,1 the General most earnestly requests, that the men who have been at the Hospital, and out of Camp on any other account, may be immediately collected and join their respective regiments.

It is with the utmost astonishment and abhorrence, the General is informed, that some base and cowardly Wretches have, last night, set fire to the Court-House, and other Buildings which the enemy left: The Army may rely on it, that they shall be brought to justice, and meet with the punishment they deserve.2

Mr John Story is appointed Pay-Master to the regiment commanded by Col. Hitchcock.3

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For accounts of Howe’s withdrawal of his army from White Plains, which had begun the previous day, see GW to Hancock, this date, and note 1.

2“About 12 o’clock, this night,” Heath writes under 5 Nov. in his memoirs, “a party of the Americans wantonly set fire to the court-house, Dr. [Robert] Graham’s house, and several other private houses, which stood between the two armies. This gave great disgust to the whole American army” (Wilson, Heath’s Memoirs description begins Rufus Rockwell Wilson, ed. Heath’s Memoirs of the American War. 1798. Reprint. New York, 1904. description ends , 94; see also Miles Oakley to GW, 9 Nov., and Ewald, Diary description begins Johann Ewald. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven and London, 1979. description ends , 14). For the two court-martials that tried Maj. Jonathan Williams Austin for this crime, see General Orders, 8 Nov., and note 1, and Charles Lee to GW, 12 Nov., and note 3; see also Pierre Van Cortlandt to GW, c.2 December).

3John Story (1754–1791), a native of Boston who had joined the army as a volunteer in May 1775 and had become a conductor of military stores at the beginning of 1776, says in several later memorials to Congress that he was appointed paymaster of Col. Daniel Hitchcock’s 11th Continental Regiment in September 1776 and served until the new arrangement for 1777 took effect (see Story to Congress, 16 July 1781, 7 Feb. 1783, 7 Feb. 1785, DNA:PCC, item 41; see also Story to GW, 20 May 1789). In June 1777 Story was appointed quartermaster of Gen. John Glover’s brigade with the rank of captain, and the following October he became deputy quartermaster general to a division of the northern army with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Nathanael Greene made Story paymaster of the quartermaster department in October 1778, and Story acted as such until April 1781, when the new quartermaster general, Timothy Pickering, decided to eliminate that position. On 24 July 1781 Congress instructed Story remain in service “until the further order of Congress” to settle the accounts for Greene’s tenure as quartermaster general, and it allowed him the pay and rations of a captain (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 , 21:785–86). Dissatisfied with that reduction in his remuneration, Story submitted his resignation to Congress on 10 Aug. 1781, and it was accepted five days later (see ibid., 873, and Story to John Hanson, 10 Aug. 1781, DNA:PCC, item 78). In September 1781 Story became an aide-de-camp to Lord Stirling, a position that he held until Stirling’s death in January 1783.

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