George Washington Papers

General Orders, 14 May 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters V. Forge Thursday May 14th [17]78.

Parole Orleans.C. Signs Orkney—Ostend.

The Troops are in future to be exempt from exercise every Friday afternoon, which time is allowed them for washing Linnen and cloathing—The Serjeants who conduct Squads to bathe are to be particularly careful that no man remains longer than ten minutes in the Water.

The Commanding Officers of Regiments are to order two windows at least to be made in each hut.

As the second North-Carolina, Livington’s and Angell’s Regiments are sickly the commanding Officers of those Regiments will apply for tents to remove their men from their hutts.1

At a Brigade Court-Martial in the Artillery May 9th 1778, Coll Proctor President, Captain Francis Proctor senior tried for scandalous and infamous behaviour unbecoming the Character of a Gentleman and Officer—Also for breaking his Arrest and threatning Captain Rices Life in an ungentlemanlike manner in different Companies, acquitted of the charge of breaking his Arrest but found guilty of scandalous behaviour unbecoming the Gentleman and Officer being a breach of the 21st Article, 14th section of the Articles of War2 & sentenced to be discharged the service.

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

At a General Court Martial whereof Colonel Febiger was President 5th of May 1778—Lieutenant Carter of Coll Baylor’s Regiment of Light Dragoons3 tried for neglect of duty in leaving the different roads unguarded from Barren-Hill Church to Philadelphia, by which neglect the Enemy march’d a body of horse and foot to said Church & surprized and made Prisoners a Subaltern and his Party who had returned to the Church for refreshment:4 After due deliberation the Court are of opinion that Lieutt Carter is guilty of the charge exhibited against him, being a breach of Article 5th section 18th of the Articles of War but are of opinion that he must have mis-understood the orders given by Captain McLane, which considerably alleviates his neglect of duty and sentence him to be reprimanded in General Orders.

The Commander in Chief approves the sentence, discharges Lieutenant Carter from his Arrest and desires him to repair to his Regiment; He hopes that he will in future pay very strict attention to the orders of his commanding Officer, as he must plainly perceive the ill effects that have arisen from Misapprehension.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Sgt. Ebenezer Wild of the 1st Massachusetts Regiment wrote in his journal on this date that “This afternoon at 4 o’clk we turned out to exercise. Genl Glover’s, Poor’s, and Larnerd’s Brigades formed a Division, and went through a number of manœuvres before his Excellency Genl Washington and members of the grand Congress” (“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 107).

1GW’s aide James McHenry wrote surgeon Barnabas Binney of the military hospital on 21 May: “His Excellency on considering the necessity of the case has ordered back the three soldiers of Col. Angel’s Regt. But at the same time desires a return of the number of sick belonging to the different Battalions, and that proper nurses may be provided as soon as possible” (DLC:GW).

2See 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 , 5:804.

3John Hill Carter was appointed a lieutenant in the 3d Regiment of Continental Dragoons in October 1777 and resigned in December 1778.

4British engineer captain John Montresor referred to this engagement in his journal entry for 24 April 1778: “At daybreak this morning 5 companies Light Infantry and 20 Dragoons crossed the Bridge at Schuylkill and surprised 2 parties of Rebels, one posted at Barren hill and one at Paul’s mill and took the whole excepting the Captain who swam the Schuylkill, killed 1 and wounded 4, one of which left, being too ill to move. The Prisoners consisted of one Lieut. and 50 men, 3 of which were Deserters from our Army” (Scull, Montresor Journals description begins G. D. Scull, ed. The Montresor Journals. New York, 1882. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vol. 14. description ends , 486). Barren Hill Lutheran Church was located on the north bank of the Schuylkill River, about eleven miles northwest of Philadelphia in what is now Whitemarsh Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

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