George Washington Papers

General Orders, 22 March 1777

General Orders

Head-Quarters, Morristown, March 22nd 1777.

Parole: Georgia.Countersign: Hallifax

The Commander in Chief is pleased to make the following promotions. viz:

Major John Green of the 1st Virginia Battalion to be Lieutenant Colonel of the same, vacant by the death of Lt Col. Eppes. Capt: Robert Ballard of the same to be the Major of the same, vacant by the promotion of Lt Col. Green.

Lieut. Col. Alexander Spotswood of the 2nd Virginia Battn to be Colonel of the same, vacant by the resignation of Col. Woodford—Major Richard Parker of the 6th to be Lieut: Colonel, vacant by the promotion of Col. Spotswood. Capt: Morgan Alexander of the 2nd to be the Major; vacant by the promotion of Lt Col. Markham to the 8th.1

Lt Col. Thomas Marshall of the 3rd Virginia Battalion to command the same, vacant by the promotion of Brigadier Weedon.

Capt: George Gibson of the 1st Virginia Battalion to be Major of the 4th, vacant by the promotion of Lt Col. Sayres to the 9th.2

Lt Col. Alexander McClenachan of the 7th Virginia Battalion, to be Colonel of that Battalion; vacant by the removal of Col. Crawford: Major William Neilson of the same to be Lieutenant Colonel, vacant by the promotion of Col. McClenachan: Capt: William Davies of the 1st to be Major, vacant by the promotion of Lt Col. Neilson.3

Lt Col. Bowman of the 8th Virginia Battalion to be Colonel of the same, by promotion of Brigadier Muhlenberg, & Major John Markham of the 2nd to be Lieutenant Colonel, vacant by promotion of Col. Bowman.4

Lt Col. George Matthews of the 9th Virginia Battalion to be Colonel of the same, vacant by the death of Col. Fleming and Major John Sayres of the 4th to be Lieut. Colonel, vacant by the promotion of Col. Mathews.5

As it is not possible, from the present dispersed State of the Virginia Officers, many of whom are necessarily absent from the Army, and may have a claim for promotion, but are not taken notice of in the foregoing arrangement, it is to be observed that no Conclusion must be drawn from this order in prejudice of such Gentlemen. When circumstances will permit the residue of the vacancies will be filled up, and the rank of all the officers in that Line settled on just and reasonable principles; regard being had to their seniority, and the good of the service.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Richard Parker (1758–1780) of Westmoreland County, Va., was commissioned a captain in the 2d Virginia Regiment in late September 1775 and promoted to major of the 6th Virginia Regiment in October 1776. Parker served as lieutenant colonel of the 2d Virginia Regiment until March 1778, when he became colonel of the 1st Virginia Regiment, and he was killed during the defense of Charleston, S.C., in the spring of 1780. Morgan Alexander (1746–1783) of Frederick County, Va., who served as a captain in the 2d Virginia Regiment beginning in late 1775, apparently transferred to the 8th Virginia Regiment later this year. Alexander resigned from the Continental army in May 1778 and later served as a colonel in the Virginia militia. John Markham (d. 1801) of Chesterfield County, Va., became a captain in the 1st Virginia Regiment in September 1775 and was promoted to major of the 2d Virginia Regiment in August 1776. He served as lieutenant colonel of the 8th Virginia Regiment from this date to October 1777, when he was cashiered for leaving his regiment and failing to obey orders during the Battle of Germantown on 4 Oct. 1777 (see General Orders, 26 Oct. 1777, in DLC:GW).

2George Gibson (1747–1791) of western Augusta County, Va., who was appointed a captain in the 1st Virginia Regiment in December 1775, resigned his commission as major of the 4th Virginia Regiment in early June 1777 and afterwards served as a colonel in the Virginia militia. Gibson was wounded during the Indian victory over Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair’s forces near Fort Recovery, Ohio, on 4 Nov. 1791 and died a month later. John Seayres (Sayres; d. 1777), a French and Indian War veteran from Gloucester County, Va., was appointed a captain in the 1st Virginia Regiment in the fall of 1775 and promoted to major of the 4th Virginia Regiment in August 1776. Seayres was killed at the Battle of Germantown on 4 Oct. 1777.

3Alexander McClanachan (1734–1797) of Augusta County, Va., commanded an independent company of Virginia militia in 1774 and 1775 before becoming lieutenant colonel of the 7th Virginia Regiment in February 1776. McClanachan resigned his colonel’s commission in the spring of 1778. William Davies (b. 1749) of Princess Anne County, Va., served as a captain in the 1st Virginia Regiment from September 1775 to his appointment as major on this date. Davies had been captured at the fall of Fort Washington on 16 Nov. 1776, and he apparently was promoted to lieutenant colonel later this year and to colonel in 1778. Davies was serving as colonel of the 1st Virginia Regiment at the time of his retirement from the army on 1 Jan. 1783.

4Abraham Bowman (1749–1837) of Shenandoah County, Va., was commisssioned lieutenant colonel of the 8th Virginia Regiment on 1 Mar. 1776. Bowman apparently left the army in late 1780 and moved to Kentucky.

5George Mathews (Matthews; 1739–1812) of Augusta County, Va., a captain of an independent company of Virginia militia in 1774 and 1775, had been appointed lieutenant colonel of the 9th Virginia Regiment in March 1776. He was wounded and captured at the Battle of Germantown on 4 Oct. 1777 and not exchanged until December 1781. On 30 Sept. 1783 Mathews was brevetted brigadier general and in 1785 he moved to Georgia, where he became a brigadier general in the militia, two-term governor of the state, and representative to the U.S. House of Representatives.

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