George Washington Papers

General Orders, 21 February 1777

General Orders

Head-Quarters, Morristown, Feby 21st 1777.

Parole: Rochester.Countersign: Romney.

John Porterfield, Serjt in Capt: Bayard’s Company, in the 3rd Pennsylvania Battalion, tried by a General Court Martial, whereof Lt Col. Hendricks was President, is found guilty of Desertion, and sentenced to be Shot to death.

The General approves the Judgment of the Court, but respites the execution of the sentence for one week.1

Serjt William Roberts, of Capt. Dirks Company, in the 9th Pennsylvania Battalion, tried by the same Court Martial, is found guilty of Desertion, and sentenced to be reduced to the ranks and whipped 100 lashes.2

John Ford. William Callahan. William Wood. John Lemon. Robert Cunningham. and Charles McClain. All of Capt. Bayard’s Company, in the 3rd Pennsa Battalion. James Jarvis and Peter Digman. of Capt: Dirk’s Company, in the 9th Pennsa Battalion. John Welch. Peterster Ogan. John Conway. and Daniel McCressin. of Capt. Bowen’s Company, in the 9th Pennsa Battalion. All tried by the same General Court Martial, are each of them found guilty of Desertion, and sentenced each to be whipped 50 lashes.

The General approves the Sentences on each of the above prisoners, and orders it to be executed immediately, and the men then to join the detachment under Lt Thomas of the 11th Pennsylvania Battalion.

The Adjutants of the different regiments are to wait on Isaac B. Dunn Esqr: for Brigade Orders; he will be found at Genl St Clair’s quarters.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1John Porterfield’s execution for desertion apparently was not carried out (see General Orders, 14, 21, 28 Mar., and 3 April 1777). Stephen Bayard (1748–1815) was born and raised in Cecil County, Md., but he was living in Philadelphia in January 1776 when he raised a company of well-to-do young men, known as the Silk Stocking Company, for the 2d Pennsylvania Battalion. He became a captain in the 3d Pennsylvania Regiment early this year and served as major of the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment from March to September 1777, when he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. Bayard transferred to the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment in January 1781 and back to the 3d Pennsylvania Regiment in January 1783. After the war he settled near Fort Pitt, where he had been posted for several years beginning in August 1778. In 1788 Bayard founded a town on land that he owned on the Monongahela River about fourteen miles from Fort Pitt, which he named for his wife Elizabeth, who was the daughter of Col. Aeneas Mackay of the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment.

2Jacob Gerhard Dircks (Derick; Dirks), who was born in Deventer in Overijssel, Netherlands, and raised in the Dutch colony of Surinam, was appointed a captain in the 9th Pennsylvania Regiment in mid-November 1776. Dircks served as a captain in the 4th Continental Artillery Regiment from 3 Mar. to 6 July 1777, when he resigned his commission. In January 1778 Dircks began serving as deputy quartermaster general, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, for Lord Stirling’s division.

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