George Washington Papers

General Orders, 7 April 1777

General Orders

Head-Quarters, Morristown April 7th 1777.

Parole: Elizabeth-Town.Countersign: Westfield.

John Burke of Capt. Christy’s Company of the 3rd Pennsyl: Battalion,1 tried by a General Court Martial of which Major Harmar was President, is found guilty of being drunk on his post, and is sentenced to receive one hundred lashes for said offence.

The General approves the sentence, and orders it to be executed forthwith.

Lieut: Carnes of Capt: Wade’s Company, in Col. Martin’s Regt2 tried by the same Court Martial on the charge of “Behaving unbecoming the Character of an Officer and a Gentlemen, in converting to his own use the property—viz: A Horse and half Johannes, belonging to one Baxter”; And also of “Disobedience of Orders”—The Court find the said Lieut: Carnes Guilty of the Charge against him, and sentence him to be cashiered—And the Court order, to restore the Horse & Money to said Baxter; and to make good Baxter’s Expences to the Amount of £5.—Proc: Money; and that so much money be stopped out of said Carnes’s Pay, as to answer and make good the Judgment of the Court.

The General approves the sentence of the Court, and orders it to take place immediately.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

In a letter of this date to Alexander Purdie, publisher of one of the two editions of the Virginia Gazette currently being printed in Williamsburg, GW’s aide-de-camp George Johnston writes: “I am commanded by Genl Washington to transmit to you the following Order, & to request you would insert & continue it in your Gazette for a Month.” The order reads:

“General Orders. Head quarters Morris Town 7th Apl 1777

“His Excellency the Commander in Chief orders in the most pointed Terms, that all the Officers of the 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 9t. Virga Regts who are absent without leave in writing from himself or Majr Genl Stephen, or are not upon any special Command, or not on the recruiting service (the two last Cases by proper Authority) do immediately join their respective Corps without the smallest hesitation or delay—Those who have obtained written furloughs must not exceed the time allowed by them, a single hour: And those who have been sent upon particular Commands, or are employed in the recruiting service, must pay the utmost Attention to their Orders, as they will answer the contrary—The officers of the ⟨o⟩ther Virga Regts in Continental service must govern themselves strictly by these Orders as far as they apply. No Excuse can or will be admitted for Idleness or Dissipation at a time when their own Honour & their Country’s Interest call them to the Field—His Excelly does not wish to convey these Orders through the Channel of a Newspaper; but the difficulty, indeed impracticability of transmitting them in time in any other way, render it indispensably necessary” (DLC:GW). This order was printed in the 25 April and 2 May 1777 issues of Purdie’s edition of the Virginia Gazette and the 25 April 1777 issue of the edition published by John Dixon and William Hunter.

Johnston on 8 April sent John Dunlap, publisher of Dunlap’s Pennsylvania Packet, or, the General Advertiser in Philadelphia, virtually the same order directed to all absent Continental officers. In his covering letter to Dunlap of that date, Johnston writes: “The General [GW] desires that you would publish the following Order, & desire the other printers in Pennsylvania, as well Dutch as English, to insert, & continue it in their papers for, a Month” (DLC:GW). The order is printed in the 15 April issue of Dunlap’s newspaper. It also is in the Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia), 16 April, the Pennsylvania Evening Post (Philadelphia), 17 April, and Der Wochentliche Philadelphische Staatsbote, 23 April (in German).

1James Chrystie (Christie; 1750–1807), a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, who had come to Pennsylvania in 1775, was appointed a first lieutenant in the 2d Pennsylvania Regiment in January 1776, and on 11 Nov. 1776 he was promoted to captain. When the Pennsylvania line was reorganized in late 1776, Chrystie was named a captain in the 3d Pennsylvania Regiment. Although courts-martial found Chrystie guilty of misconduct in July 1778 and again in June 1780, he was sentenced both times merely to be reprimanded in the brigade orders (see General Orders, 1 Aug. 1778, and 13 June 1780). Chrystie remained a captain in the 3d Pennsylvania Regiment until 1 Jan. 1783 when he transferred as a captain to the 2d Pennsylvania Regiment. He left the army the following summer after being tried and acquitted on the charge of abetting the mutiny of the Pennsylvania line (see Chrystie to John Dickinson, 24 June 1783, DNA:PCC, item 38; Elias Boudinot to GW, 26 June 1783, DLC:GW; Virginia Delegates to Benjamin Harrison, 5 July 1783, in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 20:399–400; Charles Thomson to Robert Howe, 7 Aug. 1783, ibid., 532; and 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 , 25:566).

2Noadiah Wade (1746–1830) was commissioned a captain in the 4th New Jersey Regiment on 17 Feb. 1777. He retired from the army in September 1780.

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