George Washington Papers

General Orders, 2 September 1777

General Orders

Head Quarters, Wilmington [Del.] Septr 2nd 1777.

Parole: Haverhill.Countersigns: Andover. Bradford.

The Honorable the Congress having desired the Commander in Chief to detach from the militia, as soon as possible, such a number of workmen, as he should think necessary, to repair with dispatch, the arms now in the city of Philadelphia;1 The Brigadiers of the militia are earnestly desired to make immediate enquiry, in their several brigades, for such workmen, and without a moments delay, detach, under the care of proper officers, all who are not wanted to repair the arms of their brigades, to Philadelphia, there to receive directions from the board of war.

The Commander in Chief approves the following sentences of a General Court Martial held the 30th & 31st of August last, whereof Col. Johnston was president, and orders them to be put in execution immediately.

Serjt Dickinson, of Capt. Gibbs Jones’s company of artillery, charged with “Desertion”—found guilty, and sentenced to be reduced to a matross.2

John Adair, a Corporal in the same Company, charged with “Desertion,” found guilty, and sentenced to be reduced to a matross.

John Donnelly of the 5th Pennsylv: regt charged with “Insulting, and charging his Bayonet on Capt: Ashmead”3—pleaded guilty—sentenced to receive one hundred lashes on his bare back.

James McCracken, of Col. Proctor’s regiment, charged with “Desertion from Trenton Camp”—The court released the prisoner from confinement for want of evidence.

George Leard of Capt. Bower’s Company in the 6th Pennsylvania regiment,4 charged with “Desertion”—pleaded guilty—sentenced to receive one hundred lashes on his bare back, and to be sent on board one of the Continental frigates, to serve during the war.

Matthew Smith Esqr. is appointed Deputy Adjutant General in the Continental Army; and he is to be respected and obeyed as such.

A General Court Martial is to sit to morrow morning at nine o’clock, at Newport, at Conradt Gray’s tavern,5 for the trial of all prisoners which shall be brought before them—Col. Lawson is appointed president of this court.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For this request, see Hancock to GW, 1 September.

2John Dickson (Dixon; Dickinson) apparently was serving again as a sergeant in Captain Jones’s company by January 1779.

3Jacob Ashmead (1742–1814), who had been commissioned a first lieutenant in the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment in October 1775 and had been promoted to captain in September 1776, transferred to the 2d Pennsylvania Regiment in December 1776. Subsequently assigned to the light infantry, Ashmead was court-martialed for drunkenness, disorderly behavior, and insubordination in the summer of 1779, but he was convicted only of disorderly behavior, for which GW reprimanded him (see General Orders, 21 Aug., 5 Sept. 1779). Ashmead resigned his commission in May 1780.

4Jacob Bower (1757–1818) of Berks County, Pa., served during 1775 as a sergeant and then quartermaster of Col. William Thompson’s Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment before being commissioned a lieutenant in the German Battalion in January 1776. From July to December 1776 Bower was a captain in the Pennsylvania flying camp, and in February 1777 he became a captain in the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment, where he remained until transferring to the 2d Pennsylvania Regiment at the beginning of 1783. Bower was a brigadier general in the 6th Pennsylvania Division during the War of 1812.

5Gray’s Tavern was located on Market Street in Newport, Del., three miles up Christina River from Wilmington.

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