George Washington Papers

General Orders, 13 April 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters Valley Forge Monday April 13th 1778.

Parole: Cuckold-town—Countersigns: Croten. Canada.

The General Officers are desired to meet at Lord Stirling’s quarters at ten ôClock next Wednesday morning.1

The General Court-Martial which was ordered to sit this day, will sit tomorrow at the time & place mentioned in yesterdays orders, and strict Enquiry will be made into the reasons of Non-attendance of any Member warned.

At a General Court Martial whereof Coll Vose was President (April 4th 78,), Philip Culp an Inhabitant of Pennsylvania tried for attempting to carry flour into Philadelphia, found guilty and sentenc’d to receive fifty lashes and to be employed in some publick work for the use of the Continent while the British Army continues in this State, unless he should choose to inlist into the Continental Service during the present War.2

John Bloom an Inhabitant of this State tried at the same Court for attempting to carry flour into Philadelphia found guilty and sentenced the same as Culp.

At the same Court by Adjournment April 7th—Captain Benstead Pay-Master of 10th Pennsylvania Regiment tried for disobeying the orders of Captain Cox by refusing to pay him when he paid the other officers of the Regiment. The Court having considered the Charge and the Evidence are unanimously of opinion that Captain Benstead is guilty of the charge exhibited against him, but think that the orders of his Colonel justify his refusal to pay Captain Cox and therefore do acquit him.3

The Commander in Chief approves the foregoing sentences except the stripes in the two first, orders them to take place and that Captain Benstead be released from his arrest.

John Evans an Inhabitant of this State tried at the same Court for attempting to send Provisions into Philadelphia, found guilty of the charge exhibited against him, being a breach of a resolve of Congress and sentenced to be sent to Carlisle, there to be employed in some work for the benefit of the Publick during the Continuance of the Enemy in this State.4

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

Adam Gilcrest an Assistant Forage-Master tried at the same Court for abusing & threatning to take the Life of a soldier, found guilty of the charge exhibited against him; but as the nature of the insult received by him rendered instant Chastisement necessary, the Court are of opinion that he is pardonable.5

The Commander in Chief confirms the opinion of the Court and orders Mr Gilcrest to be discharged from his arrest.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For the intended subject of this meeting, see GW to Stirling, this date.

2On 15 April a Phillip Culp enlisted for three years’ service as a wagoner in the Continental army (“Return of Inlisted Waggoners with the Army of the United States Augt 1778,” DNA:PCC, item 173).

3Alexander Bensted (Benstead), a Newtown, Pa., storekeeper, was appointed quartermaster of the Bucks County Associators in July 1776 and became paymaster of the 10th Pennsylvania Regiment on 1 Dec. 1776. He was commissioned an ensign on 2 June 1778 and promoted to lieutenant on 1 Mar. 1780, serving to the end of that year.

4The court is referring to the congressional resolution of 8 Oct. 1777, which was extended on 30 Dec. 1777 (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, 1068).

5Adam Gilchrist (1760–1816) was captured on 28 Sept. 1778 and remained a prisoner at Long Island in February 1779. After the war he settled in Charleston, S.C., and served in that state’s general assembly, 1800–1801. When Gilchrist applied for a federal position in 1790, the former commissary general of forage Clement Biddle gave him a glowing recommendation, but GW did not appoint him to the post (see Biddle to GW, 1 Aug. 1790, PHi).

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