George Washington Papers

General Orders, 15 March 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters V. Forge Sabbath March 15th 1778.

Parole: PortsmouthCountersigns: Pitt Plato.

The General Court Martial whereof Coll Tupper is President is dissolved and another ordered to sit tomorrow at ten ôClock A.M. at the Adjutant General’s quarters for the trial of all such Prisoners as shall be brought before them—Coll Swift is appointed President—Each Brigade gives a Captain for the Court—All Evidences and Persons concerned are desired to attend, more especially those against the Inhabitants of this State, now confined in the Provost, as their trial will come on tomorrow.

Many inconveniencies & injuries having arisen to the service from the Powers exercised by officers in granting furloughs, the Honorable Continental Congress to prevent the like in future have been pleased to resolve, “That the Commander in Chief or Commander of any Department shall have full Power and Authority to suspend or limit the Power of granting furloughs or leave of absence and to reserve it wholly to himself or impart it to such officer or Officers under him as he thinks fit according as he shall judge the good of the service requires; and that no officer under Color or pretence of authority to him granted by the 2nd Article of 4th section or any other Article in the rules and regulations of War, grant any furlough or leave of absence contrary to the orders of the Commander in Chief or Commander of a department on pain of being punished for disobedience.”1 All officers are to pay strict obedience to the foregoing resolution and none are to grant furloughs or leave of absence on any pretence whatever except such as are authorized by General orders, and they only under such limitations and restrictions as have been or shall be pointed by the Commander in Chief.

Passes to soldiers going out of Camp are to be taken from them on their return by the officers commanding guards and to be destroy’d. The Market which has been held heretofore on the other side Schuylkill is to be held in future on the West-Side near the Bridge.2

The General perceiving that there is a great abuse and waste of hides from the present mode of leaving them with the Brigades ’till exchanges can be effected, directs in future that the Commissary of each Brigade will deliver all the hides produced in the Brigade to the Commissary of Hides taking his receipt for them and keeping an Accompt with him for the same. The Brigadiers will still continue their contracts as heretofore directed and for the performance will give orders upon the Commissary of hides who is hereby required to make returns the first day of each month at Head-Quarters of the number and weight of hides received & issued by him.3 The most convenient mode of delivering the hides will be to send them daily in the Brigade provision Waggons to the Commissary of Issues when they will be received by the Commissary of hides and a receipt given for them: The Commissary of hides will attend at Head-Quarters tomorrow at 10 ôClock.

At a General Court Martial whereof Coll Tupper was President March 78, Lieutt Oliver4 of 14th Virginia Regiment appeared before the Court charged with sending a Corporal and file of men into Coll Stewarts Regiment to seize a keg of Whiskey belonging to one of his officers without consulting Coll Stewart or any of his officers—The Court after mature consideration are of opinion that Lieutt Oliver is guilty of the charge exhibited against him being a breach of 5th Article 18th Section of the articles of War and think that however laudable Lieutt Olivers intentions were in seizing the Whiskey, or the man who sold it, the mode he fell on was by no means justifiable as many ill-consequences must necessarily follow the practice of sending a file of men into another Regiment to seize anything without an application to the Commanding officer. The Genl confirms the opinion and orders Lt Oliver discharged from his arrest.5

At a Court Martial March 11th 1778. Edward Grissel tried for going into Philadelphia found guilty, being a breach of a resolution of Congress passed October 8th 1777. and since extended and sentenced to receive one hundred lashes.6

The Commander in Chief approves the sentence and orders it to be put in execution tomorrow morning at guard-mounting.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1This quotation was taken from Congress’s resolution of 7 Mar. (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 , 10:230).

2These orders refer to the market held on Tuesdays and Fridays near the bridge at Fatland Ford (see Proclamation on Market at Valley Forge, 30 Jan., and note 3 to that document).

3For previous orders detailing the brigadiers’ responsibilities in regard to hides, see General Orders, 31 Dec. 1777, source note, and 17 and 18 Jan. 1778.

4Drury Oliver became a lieutenant of the 14th Virginia Regiment in early 1777 and served to May 1779.

5At this place in Brig. Gen. Edward Hand’s orderly book, an advertisement appears: “The Regimental Paymaster and Others who received Money of the Paymaster General on Wednesday and thursday last are requested to examine their cash, as he made a mistake with some of them to his prejudice—The Colonels and Commanding officers of Corps will be so oblidging as to see that their respective paymasters have immediate notice of this Advertisement” (DNA: RG 93, Orderly Books, 1775–1783, vol. 22); a similar advertisement also appears, in the form of an order, in Weedon’s Orderly Book description begins Valley Forge Orderly Book of General George Weedon of the Continental Army under Command of Genl George Washington, in the Campaign of 1777–8: Describing the Events of the Battles of Brandywine, Warren Tavern, Germantown, and Whitemarsh, and of the Camps at Neshaminy, Wilmington, Pennypacker’s Mills, Skippack, Whitemarsh, & Valley Forge. New York, 1902. description ends , 261.

6These orders refer to the congressional resolution of 8 Oct. 1777 giving GW authority to punish civilians supplying or giving intelligence to the enemy, extended on 30 Dec. 1777 to 10 April 1778 (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 , 9:784–85, 1068). An Edward Grissell (Grissel, Grizzle), “Laborer” of Thornbury Township, Chester County, Pa., appeared on the 15 June 1778 proclamation of inhabitants charged under the Pennsylvania act of attainder with having “adhered to, & knowingly & willingly aided & assisted the Enemies of the State, & of the United States of America, by having joined their Armies at Philadelphia” (PHarH: Records of Pennsylvania’s Revolutionary Governments, 1775–1790; see also Pa. Col. Records description begins Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 16 vols. Harrisburg, 1840–53. description ends , 11:513–18). Later, probably in the winter of 1779–80, Grissell deserted the British and, according to documents seeking clemency, surrendered himself to GW. Tried by a court at Philadelphia in May 1780, Grissel was sentenced to death, but he apparently was spared execution (PHarH: Records of Pennsylvania’s Revolutionary Governments, 1775–1790; Joseph Gardner to Persifor Frazer, 13 May 1780, in Frazer, General Persifor Frazer description begins Dr. Persifor Frazer. General Persifor Frazer: A Memoir Compiled Principally from His Own Papers by His Great-Grandson. Philadelphia, 1907. description ends , 301).

Index Entries