George Washington Papers

General Orders, 26 March 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters V. Forge Thirsday March 26th 1778.

Parole: Fend—Countersigns: Framingham Frankfort.

No scouting party is to be sent out of Camp unless it is by order of the Commander in Chief the General Officer of the day or Adjutant General ’till the Army may happen to be in a moving state and circumstances require it, disobedience to, or neglect of this order will be severely punished, and as many officers have been captivated by their own folly and carelessness, He most expressly declares that whereever this is found to be the Case such officers shall be the last exchang’d notwithstanding in point of time they should be intitled to preference.

No Officer commanding an Out-Post or upon a scouting party is to give passes into Philadelphia under pain of being tried for Disobedience of Orders. The very end and design of these Parties are defeated by this means—The Adjt General will take Care that these orders are communicated to Officers on all detach’d Commands.

The fatigue men in future are to take their dinners with them to prevent unnecessary straggling from work and will be daily allowed a Gill of Whiskey pr man.

No Boats to pass Sullivan’s Bridge without permission from the officer commanding the Guard there who will be strict in examining them & permit no suspicious person to pass.

Sixty eight men out of the number of those who are return’d unfit for duty for want of cloathes and necessaries to be paraded tomorrow morning at Guard-mounting and march’d to the Laboratory to be daily employ’d in that Department one Month1 & as it is of the greatest Importance that a stock of fix’d Ammunition should always be in store it is expected that each Brigade will keep it’s Detail good.

At a General Court Martial whereof Coll Swift was President March 20th 1778, Commissary Gambol tried for opposing Lieutenant Robinson in the Execution of his office in drawing his sword, opposing the Serjeant and his men and rescuing the offenders was acquitted of rescuing the offenders, but found guilty of opposing Lt Robinson in the Execution of his office being a breach of Article 5th Section 2nd of the Articles of War and sentenced to be reprimanded by the Commanding officer of the Brigade to which he belongs2—The Commander in Chief approves the sentence and orders it to take place tomorrow.

At the same Court Thomas Webb a soldier in Coll Jackson’s Regiment tried for repeatedly geting drunk found guilty and sentenced to receive twenty five lashes on his bare back.3

Approved and ordered to be put in execution tomorrow morning at guard mounting.

Godfrey Grim tried for desertion acquitted and ordered to be immediately discharged.4

Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Brig. Gen. George Weedon’s orderly book includes the following order under this date, “Till further orders the Major General of the day is dispens’d with” (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 , 270); the same information was recorded in other orderly books, including that of Brig. Gen. Edward Hand (DNA: RG 93, Orderly Books, 1775–1783, vol. 22).

1In a return of ordnance and military stores, dated 1 May, Commissary of Military Stores Samuel French noted, “84,651 of the above Musket Cartridges were made in the Laboratory at Camp in the month of April 1778”; on 1 June he reported an additional 151,057 cartridges made at camp. The number of cartridges manufactured at camp in those two months was about 40 percent of the total delivered to French during that time and exceeded the number of cartridges remaining at camp on 1 June (DNA: RG 93, manuscript file nos. 21007, 21008).

2James Gamble (d. 1795), from Ireland, came to Pennsylvania in September 1775 and volunteered for military service in early 1776. By March 1777 he was quartermaster of the 7th Pennsylvania Regiment, and in August 1777 he was appointed assistant commissary of issues for the 1st Pennsylvania Brigade, commanded at this time by Col. James Chambers. Although commissioned an ensign of the 7th Pennsylvania Regiment sometime in 1778, he continued to function as a commissary, being appointed in November 1780 to act as deputy commissary general of issues for the Northern Department. He was commissioned a second lieutenant of the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment in April 1782 (apparently backdated in 1783 to January 1781), and he transferred to the 4th Continental Artillery in January 1783, serving to June 1783. In June 1794 Gamble was commissioned a captain in the Corps of Artillerists and Engineers authorized by Congress that year. The lieutenant was probably Noah Robinson (1757–1827) of the 2d New Hampshire Regiment. Robinson, an Exeter, N.H., blacksmith, entered the service as a private in May 1775, rising to corporal by August 1775, and being commissioned an ensign on 6 Sept. 1776 and a second lieutenant on 8 Nov. 1776. He gained further promotions to first lieutenant, dated 19 Sept. 1777, and captain lieutenant, dated 30 Nov. 1779, before leaving the army on 1 Jan. 1781. The cited article of war prescribed “death” or “other punishment” for “any officer or soldier who shall strike . . . or shall lift up any weapon, or offer any violence against . . . or shall disobey any lawful command of his superior officer” (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 , 5:790).

3Thomas Webb, who engaged at Boston for three years’ service in June 1777, was reported to have deserted on 18 April 1778.

4A certain Godfrey Grym served as a wagoner for the 4th Continental Artillery Regiment.

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