George Washington Papers

General Orders, 14 March 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters V. Forge Saturday March 14th 1778.

Parole: Ormskirk—Countersigns: Otley. Ottery.

At a General Court Martial whereof Brigr General McIntosh was President (10th March) Coll William Cook of 12th Pennsylvania Regiment tried for disobedience of orders in sundry instances (viz.) About 20th of December last when the Enemy advanced over Schuylkill, the Brigade to which he belonged was ordered and did march towards the Enemy, but Coll Cook absented himself from his Regiment and did not join it again whilst on that service which was near ten days1—After the Regiment was incamped again for about two days, Coll Cook after having been refused leave of absence, did without leave abscond from Camp and did not return again until a few days since—For giving leave of Absence to Officers of his Regiment and reporting them absent without leave, by which they were brought to a trial by a Court-Martial and acquitted.2

The Court having maturely considered the Evidence produced are of opinion that Coll Cook after having been refused leave of absence, did without leave absent himself from Camp & did not return until near two months after he went away being a breach of General orders of 22nd of december last and contrary to good order and military discipline and do sentence him on account of some particular Circumstances and on account of the good character he has sustained as an officer only to be reprimanded in General orders, but acquit him of furloughing his officers and reporting them absent without leave.

The Commander in Chief approves the sentence and hopes that the disgrace to an Officer of Colo. Cook’s rank of being found guilty of the Charge of quitting Camp without leave will be a sufficient reprimand.

At a General Court Martial whereof Coll Tupper was President (10th March 1778) Lieutt Enslin of Coll Malcom’s Regiment tried for attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier; Secondly, For Perjury in swearing to false Accounts, found guilty of the charges exhibited against him, being breaches of 5th Article 18th Section of the Articles of War and do sentence him to be dismiss’d the service with Infamy3—His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence & Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Lieutt Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return; The Drummers and Fifers to attend on the Grand Parade at Guard mounting for that Purpose.4

At a Court of Inquiry held in the Brigade of Artillery whereof Lieutt Coll Strohbogh was President March 11th 78, to examine into a Complaint exhibited by one John Willson against Captains Rice and Proctor Senior of Coll Proctor’s Regiment for plundering and taking by force and for permiting the soldiers to take a quantity of houshold Furniture and other Articles from the Complainant. The Court after hearing the Evidence and Altercations of the Parties are of opinion that the charges exhibited against Captains Rice and Proctor Senior are groundless, consequently the Complaint quash’d.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1The charges likely refer to the British army’s foraging expedition in the vicinity of Darby, Pa., 22–28 Dec. 1777. Cooke’s regiment belonged to the 3d Pennsylvania Brigade, elements of which, including the 6th Pennsylvania and Malcom’s Additional Continental Regiment, engaged the British foraging force (see Major General Stirling to GW, 24 Dec. 1777, second letter).

2Cooke had left camp by 2 Jan. 1778, and on 6 Jan., Stirling’s aide-de-camp James Monroe issued an order for him to return and face charges (see General Orders, 2 Jan., and note 2).

3John Manhart (c.1760–1835) of New York enlisted as a private in Capt. John Sandford’s company of Col. William Malcom’s Additional Continental Regiment in the spring of 1777, and he remained with that company, later part of Col. Oliver Spencer’s Additional Continental Regiment, until the spring of 1780, rising to corporal in May 1779. The cited article authorized punishment of “disorders and neglects . . . to the prejudice of good order and military discipline” (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).

4Lt. James McMichael wrote in his diary for 15 Mar.: “I this morning proceeded to the grand parade, where I was a spectator to the drumming out of Lieut. Enslin of Col. Malcom’s regiment. He was first drum’d from right to left of the parade, thence to the left wing of the army; from that to the centre, and lastly transported over the Schuylkill with orders never to be seen in Camp in the future. This shocking scene was performed by all the drums and fifes in the army—the coat of the delinquent was turned wrong side out” (“McMichael’s Diary,” description begins William P. McMichael. “Diary of Lieutenant James McMichael, of the Pennsylvania Line, 1776–1778.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 16 (1892): 129–59. description ends 157; see also “Brigham Diary,” description begins Edward A. Hoyt, ed. “A Revolutionary Diary of Captain Paul Brigham, November 19, 1777–September 4, 1778.” Vermont History 34 (1966): 3–30. description ends 19; “Wild Journal,” description begins “The Journal of Ebenezer Wild (1776–1781), who served as Corporal, Sergeant, Ensign, and Lieutenant in the American Army of the Revolution.” Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 6 (1890–91): 78–160. description ends 106–7).

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