George Washington Papers

General Orders, 8 March 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters V. Forge Sunday March 8th 1778.

Parole: Hamden—Countersigns: Hexham. Hull.

At a General Court Martial whereof Coll Bradley was President (March 6th 1778) Thomas Hughes Pay-Master to 7th Virginia Regiment tried, firstly for neglect of duty, secondly disobedience of orders, thirdly leaving Camp (with an Intention not to return) without settling his Accounts, found guilty of the charges exhibited against him, being a breach of Article 5th section 18th of the Articles of War and sentenced to be dismissed the service, and that he continue in Camp ’till he settles his Accounts with the Pay-Master General and with the Regt in which he has acted and further that he pay Lieutt Colman his reasonable expences incurred in going to York by Genl Woodford’s Directions to order Mr Hughes to camp.1

The Commander in Chief approves the sentence and orders it to take place.

At the same Court-Martial March 3rd—Ensign Forbs of Coll Sheppard’s Regiment tried for neglect of duty and cowardly behaviour on the night of 7th of February, found guilty of the charges exhibited against him, being breaches of 5th Article 18th Section & 13th Article of 13th Section of the Articles of War & sentenced him to be cashiered, and that agreeable to 22nd Article 15th Section of the Articles of War, his Crime, name place of Abode and punishment be published in the News-Papers in and about Camp and of that particular State to which he belongs or in which he resides.2

His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence, orders Ensign Forbs to leave Camp as soon as he has settled his Accounts and the remainder of the sentence to be put in Execution as soon as possible.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

On this date GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman wrote Maj. Elisha Painter of the Continental artificers, introducing the captain of an independent company of artificers whose service had expired. Tilghman wrote, in part, “If you have not inlisted as many Men as will be necessary and Capt. [Seth] Oaks can agree with you, His Excellency desires he may be employed to raise a Company” (DLC:GW).

1Thomas Hughes (1752–1826) was commissioned a second lieutenant of the 2d Virginia Regiment in October 1775 and became paymaster of the 7th Virginia Regiment in December 1776. Richard Coleman was commissioned an ensign in the 7th Virginia Regiment in April 1776, promoted to second lieutenant in December of that year, and promoted to first lieutenant dated May 1778. Remaining with the regiment, which was redesignated as the 5th Virginia in September 1778, he retired from service in February 1781.

2Jonathan Forbes (Forbs) served as a corporal in Capt. Lebbeus Ball’s company of Massachusetts militia in April 1775 and soon after became a sergeant in Ball’s company of Col. Timothy Danielson’s Massachusetts regiment. Danielson’s regiment was adopted into the Continental army in June 1775 and consolidated into the 3d Continental Regiment in January 1776. Forbes was promoted to ensign in the regiment effective 1 Jan. 1777, when it was redesignated as Col. William Shepard’s regiment. An extract of these general orders regarding Forbes (misdated 11 Mar.) was printed in the Pennsylvania Packet (Lancaster) of 1 April, the Continental Journal, and Weekly Advertiser (Boston) of 30 April, and the Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal of 4 May. Article 13 of section 13 of the articles of war authorized punishment for any officer or soldier who “shall misbehave himself before the enemy, and run away, or shamefully abandon any fort, post or guard . . . or who, after victory, shall quit his commanding officer, or post, to plunder and pillage” (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 , 5:798). The article providing for publication of the crime of a commissioned officer “cashiered for cowardice, or fraud,” was article 22 of the section 14, not 15 (ibid., 804).

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