George Washington Papers

General Orders, 23 May 1777

General Orders

Head-Quarters, Morristown, May 23rd 1777.

Parole: Goshen.Countersign: Hartford.

The Commander in Chief is pleased to approve, the following sentences of a General Court Martial, held at Ash-Swamp,1 on the 14th Inst: whereof Col. Mathews was President.

Ensign Gill of the 4th Virginia regiment, charged with “Being absent from his regiment without leave, and neglect of duty”—found guilty of the charge; but in consideration of his good character in the regiment, ordered to be reprimanded, at the head of the regiment he belongs to, by the Colonel, or officer commanding the regiment.

Capt: Russell of the 5th Virginia regt charged with “Neglect of duty”—Not guilty—ordered to be released from his arrest.

Lieut: Bradford of Col. Rawling’s regiment, charged with “Being absent from his regiment without leave, and Neglect of duty”—No evidence appearing, ordered to be tried by a future Court Martial.2

Thomas Smith of Col. Irwin’s regt (Pennsylvania) charged with “Desertion, and attempting to go to the enemy”—found guilty, and sentenced to suffer death—The execution of the sentence, to be suspended ’till further orders.3

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Ash Brook Swamp is on the south side of Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

2William Bradford of Harford County, Md., who had been appointed a second lieutenant in Col. Moses Rawlings’s Virginia and Maryland rifle regiment in July 1776, was not with the regiment when most of it was captured at Fort Washington on 16 Nov. 1776. Later that month the remaining Marylanders from Rawlings’s regiment, including Bradford, were organized into a company which was attached to the 4th Maryland Regiment. Bradford was promoted to first lieutenant of that company on 28 Nov. 1776, and he served in that capacity until April 1778 when he resigned his commission (see Browne, Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 12:27, 39, 18:301; 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 , 6:987).

3Smith may have been executed on 10 June (see General Orders, 9 June).

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