George Washington Papers

General Orders, 9 September 1777

General Orders

Head Quarters, Burmingham [Pa.]1 Septemr 9th 1777.

Parole: Countersign:

Intelligence having been received, that the enemy, instead of advancing towards Newport, are turned another course, and appeared to have a design of marching northward—this rendered it expedient for the army to quit Newport and march northward also; which occasioned it’s sudden movement this morning.2

Such of the troops as have not been served with Rum to day, are as soon as possible to be served with a gill a man.

The Major and Brigadier Generals of the day, accompanied by the Quarter Mr General, will immediately reconnoitre the environs of the camp; and fix on the proper places for the posting of picquets, for its security.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1GW on this date established his headquarters nearly a mile east of Chadds Ford, Pa., in the house of Benjamin Ring (c.1737–1804). GW remained there until 11 Sept., but it was not until 7 Feb. 1778 that he paid Ring £22.10 for “30 person[s] eating at 6 different times” (vouchers and receipted accounts, 1776–80, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 29; see also household account book, 11 April 1776–21 Nov. 1780, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 28).

2Lt. James McMichael of Greene’s division says in his diary entry for this date: “At 4 A.M. we received marching orders and proceeded E.N.E. to the Crooked Billet, on the great road from Wilmington to Lancaster; thence thro’ Kennett township, Chester county [Pa.], crossed the Brandywine and turning S.E. encamped in the township of Birmingham, being extremely fatigued for want of rest and severe marching” ((“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 149; see also “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 289). The Continental troops crossed Brandywine Creek at Chadds Ford, Pa., about two miles north of the Delaware state line (see Pickering and Upham, Life of Pickering description begins Octavius Pickering and Charles W. Upham. The Life of Timothy Pickering. 4 vols. Boston, 1867–73. description ends , 1:154). John Chadd (d. 1760), who had operated a ferry at the ford since the 1730s, owned a house and tavern nearby.

British engineer Capt. John Montresor says in his diary entry for this date: “At 2 o’clock P.M. Lt.-General Kniphuysen with the 3rd division and 2 more British Brigades marched for Kennett’s square [Pa.] via New Garden [Pa.] and arrived at his ground at 11. At sunset this evening the 2 other divisions of this Army under Lord Cornwallis and Major-General Grant marched from Head Quarters at Nichols’s House Mill Creek Hundred by a bye road to Hokesson Meeting house [Del.]—Quaker meeting 4 miles distance and encamped. . . . At ½ past 5 this afternoon the Commander in Chief [Howe] received accounts of the rebel army having evacuated Newport and Wilmington and taken post at Chad’s ford on the Brandywine Creek” (Scull, Montresor Journals description begins G. D. Scull, ed. The Montresor Journals. New York, 1882. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vol. 14. description ends , 448; see also 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 , 30; Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends , 145–46; André, Journal description begins John André. Major André’s Journal: Operations of the British Army under Lieutenant Generals Sir William Howe and Sir Henry Clinton, June 1777 to November 1778. 1930. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 44–45; Baurmeister, Revolution in America description begins Carl Leopold Baurmeister. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784, of Adjutant General Major Baurmeister of the Hessian Forces. Translated and annotated by Bernhard A. Uhlendorf. New Brunswick, N.J., 1957. description ends , 104–6; and Ewald, Diary description begins Johann Ewald. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven and London, 1979. description ends , 80).

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