George Washington Papers

General Orders, 5 October 1777

General Orders

Head Quarters, Perkiomy [Pa.]1 October 5th 1777.

Parole: Ludlow.Countersigns: Manchester. Newport.

The officers commanding regiments are to make returns of the cartridges wanted for their men, to complete them to forty rounds each, and draw the materials for making them at the park of artillery, early to morrow morning—one attentive officer from each regiment is to be present, to superintend the making of the cartridges for the regiment, and see that they are well made up, and the materials not wasted—The arms are to be cleaned and put in good order immediately—such as are charged and cannot be drawn, are to be discharged at noon, to morrow, under the direction of their officers—Each regiment is to draw 12 cartridges a man, ready made, at the park of artillery, besides the above materials.2

All the detachments of horse, are to be collected as soon as possible to one place, as near as may be to the army, except the two parties under Captains Lee and Craig.

Returns as exact as possible are to be made of the killed, wounded, and missing in the action of yesterday, and delivered to the Commander in Chief at 4, o’clock to morrow afternoon—The Brigade Majors will be punctual in this matter, and where there are no Brigade Majors, the Brigadiers or officers commanding brigades are without delay to appoint persons to do their duty—One set of columns are to shew the killed, of the different ranks, a second the wounded, and a third set of columns the missing.3

The Commander in Chief returns his thanks, to the Generals and other officers and men concerned in yesterday’s attack, on the enemy’s left wing, for the spirit and bravery they manifested in driving the enemy from field to field—And altho’ an unfortunate fog, joined with the smoke, prevented the different brigades seeing and supporting each other, or sometimes even distinguishing their fire from the enemy’s—and from some other causes, which as yet cannot be well accounted for, they finally retreated—they nevertheless see that the enemy are not proof against a vigorous attack, and may be put to flight when boldly pushed—This they will remember, and assure themselves that on the next occasion, by a proper exertion of the powers which God has given them, and inspired by the cause of freedom in which they are engaged, they will be victorious—The Commander in Chief not seeing the engagement with the enemy’s right wing, desires the General officers who commanded there, to thank those officers and men who behaved with becoming bravery; and such in either wing who behaved otherwise are to be reported.4

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1After the Battle of Germantown on 4 Oct., GW established his headquarters near Pennypacker’s Mill on Perkiomen Creek at present-day Schwenksville, Pa., about twenty miles northwest of Germantown, and he remained there until 8 October. Lt. James McMichael wrote in his diary entry for this date: “Today changed our encampment to the west bank of the Perkiomen” ((“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 153). GW may have lodged again at Henry Keely’s house on the west side of Perkiomen Creek, where he had stayed from 26 to 29 Sept. (see GW to Alexander McDougall, 25 Sept., n.2). The headquarters household expense account book does not identify the person who on 8 Oct. was paid £5 cash “at Picaomin for necessaries used in the house—bread; potatoes—Milk—fouls—&c. & trouble” (household account book, 11 April 1776–21 Nov. 1780, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 28).

2Muhlenberg’s orderly book includes the following order at this place in the general orders for this date: “Small parties of Horse are tomorrow morning to be sent up the different Roads above the Present encampment of the Army as much as 10 Miles in order to stop all Soldiers and turn them back to the Army” (“Muhlenberg’s Orderly Book,” description begins “Orderly Book of Gen. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, March 26–December 20, 1777.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 33 (1909): 257–78, 454–74; 34 (1910): 21–40, 166–89, 336–60, 438–77; 35 (1911): 59–89, 156–87, 290–303. description ends 35:64).

3No official return of American casualties at the Battle of Germantown has been found. For a discussion of the casualties on both sides, see GW to Hancock, 5 Oct., n.9.

4For accounts of the Battle of Germantown on this date, see GW to Hancock, 5 Oct., and the notes to that document. Weedon’s orderly book includes this additional order at the end of the general orders for this date: “Detail for picquet to be the same as last setled. They are to parade at 11 o’clock tomorrow forenoon & afterwards at 8, in the morning as usual” (Weedon’s Orderly Book description begins Valley Forge Orderly Book of General George Weedon of the Continental Army under Command of Genl George Washington, in the Campaign of 1777–8: Describing the Events of the Battles of Brandywine, Warren Tavern, Germantown, and Whitemarsh, and of the Camps at Neshaminy, Wilmington, Pennypacker’s Mills, Skippack, Whitemarsh, & Valley Forge. New York, 1902. description ends , 68).

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