George Washington Papers

General Orders, 4 March 1778

General Orders

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

Parole: Durkee—Countersigns: Dunkirk. Dresden.

As the Field Officers of the day are often so busily employed in visiting the Guards, the day they are on duty as not to be able to wait upon the General. He desires the pleasure of their Company to dine with him the day after when relieved.

At a General Court Martial whereof Coll Cortlandt was President (Feby 26th 1778.) Captn Cox of 10th Pennsylvania Regiment tried for absenting himself from his duty and the Regiment upwards of three months without leave; Upon mature deliberation the Court are of opinion that Captn Cox has been neglectful of his duty, being a breach of Article 5th Section 18th of the Articles of War and do sentence him to be reprimanded by the Brigadier General or Officer Commanding the Brigade to which he belongs in the Presence of the Officers of the Brigade.1

The Commander in Chief approves the sentence and orders it to take place tomorrow morning at roll-calling.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

On this date John Chaloner at the headquarters commissary office wrote to GW’s aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton: “I am apprehensive that the information given to the General has arisen from the Circumstance of a Number of Cattle passing through the great swamp on their way to Camp—I shall immediately dispatch a person to make enquiry and remove them should any be found” (Ephraim Blaine Papers, DLC: Peter Force Collection).

1William Cox (c.1749–1816) had served as a captain in the 10th Pennsylvania Regiment since 4 Dec. 1776. When the regiment was consolidated with the 11th Pennsylvania on 1 July 1778, Cox was left out of the new arrangement. A note on a September 1778 return explains that “Captain Cox, before the new arrangement took place, resigned his commission verbally to Col. Nagel, but since considered himself one of the supernumeraries, in order to have the emoluments that may be allowed such officers” (Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 5th ser., 3:468). Article 5, section 18, of the articles of war adopted 20 Sept. 1776 provided that “All crimes not capital, and all disorders and neglects . . . to the prejudice of good order and military discipline” were subject to court-martial even if not specifically mentioned in the previous articles (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:807).

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