George Washington Papers

General Orders, 1 November 1777

General Orders

Head-Quarters, Whitpain Township [Pa.] Nov: 1st 1777.

Parole NewtownC. Signs Reading. Stamford.

The Commissaries are directed to take all the liquors in the hands of the sutlers, at a reasonable price if they can agree, and if they cannot, the sutlers are to carry them away: And no sutler shall be allowed to continue in the camp after the 5th instant.

A General Court Martial of which General Sullivan was president, was held the 25th, 26th, 27th & 30th of October last, for the trial of Brigadier General Wayne on the following charge—viz.—“That he had timely notice of the enemy’s intention, to attack the troops under his command, and on the night of the 20th of Septr last, and notwithstanding that intelligence, neglected making a disposition, until it was too late either to annoy the enemy, or make retreat, without the utmost danger and confusion”—Upon which the Court pronounced their sentence as follows.1

“The Court having fully considered the charge against Brigadier Genl Wayne, and the evidence produced to them, are unanimously of opinion that Genl Wayne is not guilty of the charge exhibited against him, but that he, on the night of the 20th Ultimo (that is of Septr last) did every thing that could be expected from an active, brave, and vigilant officer, under the orders he then had—The Court do acquit him with the highest honor.”2

The Commander in Chief approves the sentence.

Henceforward, whenever any Non-commissioned officers, or soldiers, shall be confined, for crimes not triable by regimental Courts Martial; the Brigadiers or officers commanding brigades, are, without delay, to order Brigade Courts Martial to try them; and the sentences of such courts they are to approve or disapprove, and cause to be executed, as to them shall appear just;3 except only where the prisoners are sentenced to suffer death.

As an encouragement to all persons to take up and bring to Head-Quarters, any deserters from the Continental Army, the Commander in Chief hereby promises a reward of Ten Dollars, for each deserter so taken and brought in, besides One Shilling a mile for every mile they travel; to be computed from the place where he is taken, to camp; This bounty, and mileage, to be paid to all non-commissioned officers and soldiers, who shall bring in deserters, as well as to the inhabitants of the states.

Many reasons have concurred, to induce the Commander in Chief, to extend mercy to Thomas Roach, now under sentence of death, for desertion; and to grant him his pardon; which is hereby declared. He is to return to his corps immediately, The Commander in Chief expecting, that by his future good behaviour, he will attone for his past crimes, and shew himself worthy of this act of clemency.4

After Orders. The army is to march to morrow morning at ten o’clock, with all the baggage—the right wing down the Skippack road, in this order from the left—Genl Wayne’s division, Genl Sullivan’s, Lord Stirlings, followed by the park of Artillery, and waggons of that wing, in the order of the divisions. The left wing down the road on which General Greene is encamped, in this order—General McDougall’s division—General Greene’s—General Stephen’s, followed by the waggons in the order of the divisions—the left wing to march by the right. The North Carolina brigade to march with General McDougall’s division, and to be considered as a part of it, during the absence of General Varnum’s brigade. The horse are to be divided, half marching at the head of each column—The leading divisions will beat a march when they move, to be followed by the other divisions in their order—General Irwine’s brigade to follow the right wing, and Genl Smallwood’s division the left wing.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

In Muhlenberg’s orderly book these general orders begin with the paragraph: “Detail the same as Yesterday, only the other six Brigades furnish Captains yesterday, & the North Carolina Brigade is to furnish 15 instead of 26 privates” (“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 35:166).

1This accusation was made by several of the officers in Wayne’s division, especially Col. Richard Humpton (see Samuel Hay to William Irvine, 29 Sept. 1777, and Wayne’s defense, 2 Nov., in “Papers Relating to the Paoli Massacre,” Pa. Mag. description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 138 vols. to date. 1877—. description ends , 1 [1877], 313–18). For the background to Anthony Wayne’s court-martial, see General Orders, 11, 12, and 24 October.

2At this point in the text, Muhlenberg’s orderly book contains the following text: “The Court Martial of which Col. Bland was President is dissolv’d” (“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 35:167; see also 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 , 35:113).

3At this point in the text Muhlenberg’s orderly book contains the phrase “and cause them to be executed” (“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 35:167; see also 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 , 113).

4Thomas Roche’s conviction was announced in general orders on 26 October. GW stayed his execution on that date and on 30 Oct. (see General Orders, those dates). At the end of this paragraph Brig. Gen. George Weedon’s orderly book contains the following text: “A detachment of 400 men with a proportion of Officers are to parade tomorrow morning at sun rise at the grand parade 30 light dragoons are to parade at the same time and place—Colo. Parker Lt. Colo. Nicholas & Majr. Mentzes are the Field Officers to command this party” (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 , 114). Muhlenberg’s orderly book includes the additional text but gives Mentze’s name as “Major Menbys” (“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 35:167–68).

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