George Washington Papers

General Orders, 12 April 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters V. Forge Sunday April 12th 1778.

Parole: Bemus.Countersigns: —Burlington. Bennington.

The Court-Martial whereof Coll Vose is President is dissolved and another ordered to sit tomorrow nine ôClock A.M. at the usual Place whereof Coll Craige is appointed President to try such persons as shall be brought before them: A Captain from each Brigade to attend as Members.

A Subaltern from 2nd Pennsylvania Brigade to attend at the Adjutant General’s Office at three ôClock this afternoon where he will receive his orders.

The Honorable Congress having thought proper to recommend to The United-States of America to set apart Wednesday the 22nd instant to be observed as a day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, that at one time and with one voice the righteous dispensations of Providence may be acknowledged & His Goodness and Mercy towards us and our Arms supplicated and implored1—The General directs that this day also shall be religiously observed in the Army, that no work be done thereon & that the Chaplains prepare discourses suitable to the Occasion—The Funeral Honors at the Interment of officers are for the future to be confined to a solemn Procession of officers and soldiers in number suitable to the rank of the deceased with Revers’d Arms; Firing on those occasions in Camp is to be abolished.

At a General Court Martial whereof Coll Vose was President April 6th 1778—William McMarth, Matross in Captain Lee’s Company Coll Lamb’s Regiment of Artillery was brought prisoner before the Court charged with desertion to the Enemy; After mature deliberation the Court are of Opinion that he is guilty of a breach of 1st Article, 6th section of the Articles of War and do sentence him to be hanged ’till he be dead.2

His Excellency the Commander in Chief confirms the opinion of the Court and orders William McMarth to be executed next friday, ten oClock A.M.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For this resolution, see Henry Laurens to GW, 10 Mar., n.2.

2William McMath, who may have been the William McMath recorded as a deserter on the 1 Oct. 1776 muster roll of Capt. Casper Weitzel’s Pennsylvania Rifle Company (Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 5th ser., 2:295), enlisted in the 2d Continental Artillery Regiment before August 1777, probably in February of that year, and served as a bombardier and a matross. He had been tried for desertion and stealing a horse in January 1778 but was acquitted of desertion on that occasion (see General Orders, 30 Jan.). This sentence was stayed on 16 April, and McMath was pardoned on 6 May (see General Orders for 16 April and 6 May). He remained on rolls of the artillery regiment until his discharge in February 1780.

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