George Washington Papers

General Orders, 4 February 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters V. Forge Wednesday Feby 4th 1778.

Parole: Ulster—Countersigns: Uxbridge Upton.

At a General Court Martial whereof Coll Clark was President January 27th—Charles Smith a soldier in 1st New Jersey Regiment tried for desertion & inlisting again as a substitute & acquitted—The General approving orders him to be immediately released.

The most pernicious consequences having arisen from suffering persons, women in particular to pass and repass from Philadelphia to camp under Pretence of coming out to visit their Friends in the Army and returning with necessaries to their families, but really with an intent to intice the soldiers to desert; All officers are desired to exert their utmost endeavors to prevent such interviews in future by forbiding the soldiers under the severest penalties from having any communication with such persons and by ordering them when found in camp to be immediately turned out of it.1

If any of them appear under peculiar circumstances of suspicion they are to be brought to immediate trial and punishment, if found guilty.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Lt. Samuel Armstrong of the 8th Massachusetts Regiment wrote in his diary on this date that “Orders came out for Officers to take up Women that come out of Philadelphia what comed into Camp, if Suspected, and bring them to a trial; as it is supposed that they are sent out to insinuate those that have deserted the British Army & Inlisted into ours, that they will Receive a Pardon & Bounty to return, which Women come out under a pretence of bringing out many necessaries & also of carr[y]ing Provision in for their own support” (Boyle, “Armstrong’s Diary,” description begins Joseph Lee Boyle. “From Saratoga to Valley Forge: The Diary of Lt. Samuel Armstrong.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 121 (1997): 237–70. description ends 263).

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