George Washington Papers

General Orders, 11 October 1777

General Orders

Head Quarters, Towamensing [Pa.] October 11th 1777

Parole: Andover.Countersigns: Bedford. Concord.

The Court of enquiry of which Lord Stirling is president, now sitting at the president’s quarters, is to inquire into the charge against Brigadier General Wayne—viz: “That he had timely notice of the enemy’s intention to attack the troops under his command on the night of the 20th Ult: and notwithstanding that intelligence, he neglected making a disposition until it was too late either to annoy the enemy, or make a retreat without the utmost danger and confusion”—The president will give notice of the time when the court can enter on the enquiry; when the parties and witnesses are to attend.1

Twice a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays) the officers of each company are carefully to inspect the arms, ammunition and accoutrements of their men, to see that they are in perfect order and that nothing is wanting. At the first inspection they are to take an exact account of every article belonging to each man; and if afterwards any be missing, they are immediately to report the same to the officer commanding their regiment, that the matter may be enquired into, if he judges it proper, by a regimental court martial, and the delinquent punished if deserving it, and charged with the articles lost, to be deducted from his wages.

The militia from the Counties of Prince William, Culpepper, Loudoun, and Berkley, in the State of Virginia are to be formed into a brigade, and to be under the command of Col. William Crawford. The Qr Mr General and Commissary General are to appoint persons therein, to do the duties of their respective departments.

All the troops that came from Peek’s-kill under the command of Generals McDougall, Varnum and Huntington—(Malcom’s regiment excepted) are to be thrown into two brigades, in such manner as those Gentlemen shall think best; a report of which is to be made to the Commander in Chief for his further order.

Col. Malcom’s regiment is to join General Conway’s brigade.

Twelve light-horse with an officer are to mount guard every day with the picquets and be disposed of at the different picquets for the purpose of conveying early intelligence in such a way as the Major General of the day shall direct.

The commanding officers of all those companies which were raised as part of the sixteen additional battalions, and at different times annexed to other regiments, are to make immediate returns, to the Adjutant General, of their strength, and in what regiments they are now doing duty.

The Commander in Chief has the pleasure to inform the army, that Congress have, in a unanimous resolve, expressed their thanks to the officers and men concerned in the attack, on the enemy near Germantown on the 4th instant, for their brave exertions on that occasion; and hopes the approbation of that honorable body, will stimulate them to still nobler efforts on every future occasion.

Captain Paul Parker, of Col. Hartley’s regiment, is appointed to do the duty of Brigade Major, in General Wayne’s brigade, ’till further orders, and is to be respected and obeyed as such.2

All firing of guns is absolutely forbidden, without licence first obtained, from the Major General of the day—and the instant a gun is fired, a serjeant and file of men shall be sent, to catch the villain, who is thus wasting ammunition, and alarming the camp. All officers are strictly required to see this order put in execution.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

GW found time on this date to have his hair cut (household account book, 11 April 1776–21 Nov. 1780, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 28).

1For an account of the British surprise attack on Wayne’s division at its camp near Paoli, Pa., on the night of 20–21 Sept., see Wayne to GW, 21 Sept., and note 2. Wayne wrote GW on 11 Oct. restating verbatim the charge against him and requesting GW “to Order the Officers Concerned in Support of this Charge to Attend with their Evidences—at the time and place—when you’l please to Order the Court of Enquiry to set which I beg may be the soonest possible” (ALS, PHi: Wayne Papers). For GW’s compliance with Wayne’s request, see General Orders, 12 October. Although the court of inquiry, which met from 13 to 15 Oct., cleared Wayne of the charges of misconduct, its verdict indicated that Wayne had been at least partially responsible for the defeat. Determined to remove that smudge from his military reputation, Wayne demanded to be tried by a general court-martial, and GW appointed one for that purpose on 24 Oct. (see General Orders, 24 Oct.). The court-martial convened on 25 Oct., and finding that Wayne had acted properly, it acquitted him “with the highest honor” on 1 Nov. (see General Orders, 1 Nov.; see also Wayne to GW, 17, 22 Oct., and the minutes of the court of inquiry and Wayne’s defense at his court-martial, in PHi: Wayne Papers).

2Paul Parker of Charles County, Md., who enlisted in the Maryland flying camp as a private in July 1776, was offered a commission as a first lieutenant in the 6th Maryland Regiment in late 1776, but after recruiting for his company, he declined his commission in favor of becoming a first lieutenant in Col. Thomas Hartley’s Additional Continental Regiment in January 1777. On 30 May 1777 the Maryland council wrote GW that “Mr Paul Parker was recommended as an Officer in the Proportion of Troops of this State and accordingly had a Power to recruit as such and eight hundred Dollars delivered to him by the Commissioners. He was appointed a Lieut. in Capt. Trueman’s Company and, as the Capt. says, was successful, having, according to the Accounts he gave his Captain, raised upwards of thirty Men. Mr Parker afterwards refused to serve in the Battn in which he was appointed has accepted a Lieutenancy in one of the sixteen Regiments and carried his Recruits with him. . . . Capt. Trueman thinks he is entitled to the Men recruited by Mr Parker and requests us to have them given up to him; we think his Pretensions are well founded but know of no Method of effecting it but by an Application to you” (MdAA; see also Md. Archives description begins Archives of Maryland. 72 vols. Baltimore, 1883–1972. description ends , 16:267–68). No reply to the council from GW has been found. In September 1777 Parker was promoted to captain in Hartley’s regiment, which was part of Wayne’s brigade at this time.

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