George Washington Papers

General Orders, 28 August 1777

General Orders

Head Quarters, Wilmington [Del.] August 28th 1777.

Parole: Albany.Countersigns: Kingston. Kildair.

Joseph Scott Esqr: is appointed Brigade Major to General Muhlenberg, in the room of Major Swaine resigned; and is to be obeyed as such.1

The cases, or canisters of spare cartridges, are to be divided into eleven equal parts, and one such part delivered to each brigade, including the two in Genl Sullivan’s division, and Genl Nash’s brigade. The Brigadiers are to distribute the cases in the most equal manner among the regiments of their brigades respectively; and the commanding officers of regiments among their men.

Col. Sheldon’s horse are to march to White Clay Creek, and take post near Genl Greene’s, and Genl Stephen’s divisions, where Genl Greene shall direct.

After Orders. A General Court Martial to sit to morrow at nine o’clock in the morning, at Day’s tavern, near the park of artillery, for the trial of all prisoners which shall be brought before them Col. Johnstone is appointed president of this court.

Additional After Orders. A corps of Light Infantry is to be formed; to consist of one Field Officer, two Captains, six Subalterns, eight Serjeants and 100 Rank & File from each brigade.2

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Caleb Gibbs on this date reimbursed John Fitzgerald £75 “for a light horse had of Colo. Moylan for the General” (household account book, 11 April 1776–21 Nov. 1780, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 28).

1Joseph Scott (d. 1810) entered the 1st Virginia Regiment as a second lieutenant in September 1775, and he was promoted to first lieutenant in January 1776. Scott became regimental adjutant in May 1776, and in August 1777 he was commissioned a captain. Although he was wounded at Germantown on 4 Oct. 1777, Scott served until the end of the war, transferring to the 5th Virginia Regiment in February 1781.

2GW on this date apparently held a council of war at which it was decided to form this light infantry corps for the purpose of harassing Howe’s army as it advanced from the Head of Elk (see Muenchhausen, At General Howe’s Side description begins Friedrich von Muenchhausen. At General Howe’s Side, 1776–1778: The Diary of General William Howe’s Aide de Camp, Captain Friedrich von Muenchhausen. Translated by Ernst Kipping. Annotated by Samuel Smith. Monmouth Beach, N.J., 1974. description ends , 26–27, and GW to Hancock, 30 Aug.). Armand’s partisan corps subsequently was assigned to the light infantry, and the whole force was put under Gen. William Maxwell’s command (see General Orders, 30 Aug.). The council of war apparently also decided, over General Greene’s objections, to withdraw Greene’s and Stephen’s divisions from White Clay Creek to new positions on the east side of Red Clay Creek near Newport, Del., where the other divisions of the army would join them as they arrived (see Gordon, History description begins William Gordon. The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment, of the Independence of the United States of America: Including an Account of the Late War; and of the Thirteen Colonies, from Their Origin to That Period. 4 vols. New York, 1788. description ends , 2:494–95). For the march of the two divisions to Red Clay Creek on 29 Aug., see “McMichael’s Diary,” description begins William P. McMichael. “Diary of Lieutenant James McMichael, of the Pennsylvania Line, 1776–1778.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 16 (1892): 129–59. description ends 148, and “Old Virginia Line,” description begins Lyon G. Tyler. “The Old Virginia Line in the Middle States during the American Revolution.” Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine 12 (1930–31): 1–43, 90–141, 198–203, 283–89. description ends 288).

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