George Washington Papers

General Orders, 3 December 1777

General Orders

Head-Quarters, White Marsh [Pa.] Decr 3rd 1777.

Parole Portugal.C. Signs Falmouth. Derby.

At a General Court martial whereof Col. Grayson was president, held the 26th, 27th 28th and 29th of Novr last, Major Howard appeared before the court, charged with “1st Wounding Capt: Lieut. Duffey with his sword—2nd Abetting a riot in camp, and 3rd In the front of his men (at his request assembled) attempting the life of Capt: Duffey with a loaded firelock, and fixed bayonet, being utterly subversive to good order and military discipline”—The Court having considered the charges and the evidence are of opinion that Major Howard did not intentionally wound Capt: Duffy, and therefore acquit him of the first charge Upon the second charge; they are of opinion, that however justifiable the motives were, by which Major Howard was at first actuated his conduct in the end was such as tended rather to promote than suppress a riot—They therefore sentence him to be reprimanded in General Orders—With respect to the 3rd charge the Court are of opinion that it is not supported by evidence, and therefore do acquit him of the said charge.

Capt: Duffey appeared before the court, charged with “1st Aiding and abetting a riot—2nd Assaulting and abusing Major Howard in the execution of his office”—The Court having considered the first charge and the evidence, are of opinion that Capt: Duffey behaved with a warmth, which tended to produce a riot, and do sentence him to be reprimanded in General Orders—Upon the second charge they are of opinion that Major Howard, when Capt: Duffey struck him, had deviated from the line of his duty, and consequently was not in the execution of his office—They do therefore acquit Capt: Duffey of the second charge.1

The foregoing opinions are approved by the Commander in Chief, and the sentences of reprimand appear to be pronounced with great justness, on an impropriety of conduct unbecoming the character of officers, whose duty it is to suppress all riot and tumult, and to set examples of moderation, decency and order.

The officers and men of the company raised by the late Capt. Calderwood, are to be annexed to Capt: Niven’s Company, in Col. Malcom’s regiment.2

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

On this date a Pennsylvania delegation consisting of John Bayard and James Young visited GW as ordered by a resolution passed by the council of safety on 28 Nov. to confer on the subject of clothing for the troops in the Pennsylvania line. “These Gentlemen,” states the resolution, “are to notice as the great inducements to Council to interfere in this instance, the Reproaches brought on this State by the bad appearance and suffering of their troops, and the great discouragement to the Recruiting service. They are also to remind his Excellency that, by our order, a collection of Cloathing for the Army is now making in this State, which they hope will be to a considerable effect, and that we have ordered it into the hands of the Clothier General’s Deputy at Camp; But that under the informations Received, and the evil consequences they apprehend therefrom to the service in general, the Council have thought it their duty to direct them to inquire particularly into the Real circumstances of the Pennsylvania battalions with Respect to cloathing, and Report thereon to this Council; And in the mean time to Represent to his Excellency the most earnest Request of Council, that as great a proportion of the Cloathing collected in this State for the Army as may consist with the General Service, be Appropriated to the Battalions Raised therein” (Pa. Col. Records description begins Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 16 vols. Harrisburg, 1840–53. description ends , 11:350–51). Bayard reported to Pennsylvania supreme executive council president Thomas Wharton, Jr., on 4 Dec. that “Yesterday we waited on the General: shewed him the resolve, & had some conversation with him on the Subject. He at first apprehended Council reflected on him in the resolve, as it implied partiality in the distribution of the Cloathing. We assured Him there was no design in Council to throw the least reflection on him, but that our appointment was to enquire into the Fact, wether the Troops of this State were worse Cloathed than those from other States, & if so, the Causes why. The Genl requested we would go through the army & view the situation of the Troops in general, & then Call on the Officers of our own State to receive their account of the situation of their men. This We did, & upon examining find most of the Troops (except the New England men, who are well Cloathed,) nearly in the same situation. . . . I am happy to find the Committee from Congress at Head Quarters; had some conversation with them. . . . Mr. Young & self are to meet them at the Genl’s. to-day” (Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 6:61–62; see also James Young to Thomas Wharton, Jr., 8 Dec., ibid., 75–76).

1John Eager Howard (1752–1827), who had been a captain in the 2d Maryland Regiment of flying camp during 1776, became major of the 4th Maryland Regiment on 22 Feb. 1777. On 11 Mar. 1778 Howard was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 5th Maryland, and on 22 Oct. 1779 he transferred to the 2d Maryland Regiment. Sent to the southern theater with his regiment in 1780, Howard distinguished himself at the Battle of Cowpens in January 1781, and he was wounded at the Battle of Eutaw Springs the following September. Howard retired from the service in April 1783. Patrick Duffey (Duffy) was appointed a lieutenant in Thomas Proctor’s Pennsylvania Artillery Regiment (later the 4th Continental Artillery Regiment) on 5 Oct. 1776 and promoted to captain lieutenant on 3 Mar. 1777. Made a captain on 29 Feb. 1778, Duffey served with that rank until 11 Oct. 1781, when he was dismissed from the service for “Scandalous and Infamous behavior unbecoming the Character of an officer and Gentleman” (see General Orders, that date). Duffey apparently moved to Philadelphia and worked as a broker following the Revolutionary War. For additional charges against Duffey stemming from this altercation with Howard, see General Orders, 22 Dec. 1777.

2Capt. James Calderwood had died in September 1777 from wounds he received at the Battle of Brandywine. Daniel Niven (1742–1809), a native of Scotland who had immigrated to New York before the war, was appointed first lieutenant of Col. William Malcom’s Additional Continental Regiment in October 1776 and was promoted to captain on 2 July 1777. Niven became a captain of sappers and miners on 25 April 1779 and a captain of engineers in March 1780, with the stipulation that the latter rank also was to date from 25 April 1779.

Index Entries