George Washington Papers

General Orders, 21 May 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters V. Forge Thursday May 21st 1778.

Parole Asia—C. Signs Amboy—Aleppo.

Inspectors &c. will attend at the Baron Steuben’s quarters at the hour appointed in the orders of the 19th instant tomorrow.

If there are any persons in the Army who understand making thin Paper such as Bank Notes are struck upon they are directed to apply immediately to the Orderly-Office where they will be shewn a sample of the Paper—Officers commanding Regiments are to publish this in Regimental Orders.

Mr Vowles Adjutant of the 7th Virginia Regiment is appointed to do the duty of Brigade Major in General Woodford’s Brigade ’till further orders.1

At a General Court-Martial May 15th 1778—Coll Bowman President Captain Cleveland of Coll Michael Jackson’s Regiment tried for behaving in an unofficerlike manner in refusing to do a tour of duty when duly notified, found not guilty of the charge exhibited against him and acquitted with honour; Though Captn Cleveland ought not to have been warned for duty when return’d sick yet the General cannot applaud the spirit which actuated him in refusing obedience to a positive order and declining a tour of duty of such a kind as might in all appearance been easily performed by Captn Cleveland in his circumstances—Captn Cleveland is releas’d from Arrest.2

At a Brigade Court Martial May 18th 78—Lieutt Coll Cropper President,3 Captain Edward Hull of the 15th Virginia Regiment tried for gaming when he ought to have been on the Parade the 12th instant unanimously found guilty of that part of the Charge relative to gaming but acquitted of non-attendance on the Parade and sentenced to be reprimanded by the Commanding Officer of the Brigade in presence of all the Officers thereof.4

At the same Court Lieutt Thomas Lewis of the said Regiment tried upon a similar charge, found guilty and sentenced the same as Captain Hull.5

The Commander in Chief however unwilling to dissent from the judgment of a Court Martial is obliged utterly to disapprove the sentences, the punishment being in his opinion totally inadequate to the offence—A practice so pernicious in itself as that of gaming, so prejudicial to good order and military discipline; So contrary to positive and repeated General Orders, carried to so Enormous a height as it appears, & aggravated certainly in Case of Lieutt Lewis by an additional offence of no trifling military consequence, Absence from Parade, demanded a much severer Penalty than simply a reprimand—Captn Hull and Lieutt Lewis are to be released from their Arrest.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Henry Vowles (1752–1803) of Spotsylvania County, Va., had been appointed an adjutant of the 7th Virginia Regiment in December 1776 and was subsequently made a second lieutenant before transferring to the 5th Virginia Regiment in September 1778. In April 1779 Congress appointed Vowles a second lieutenant of the 1st Continental Artillery Regiment, but he held this position for only a few months before resigning. He later was a captain-lieutenant in the Virginia State Regiment.

2Ebenezer Cleveland (Cleaveland; 1754–1822) of Gloucester, Mass., served as an ensign and second lieutenant in Col. Ebenezer Bridge’s Massachusetts Regiment from May to December 1775. In January 1776 he was appointed a first lieutenant in the 21st Continental Infantry Regiment, and Congress promoted him to captain in September of that year. He was appointed a captain in the 8th Massachusetts Regiment in January 1777 and resigned in June 1778 (see William Heath to GW, 6 June, n.3).

3John Cropper (1755–1821) of Accomack County, Va., served as captain of a company of militia from his county from July 1775 to February 1776, when he was appointed captain of the 9th Virginia Regiment. He was major of the 7th Virginia Regiment from January to October 1777, when he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 11th Virginia Regiment. He transferred to the 7th Virginia Regiment in September 1778 and resigned in August 1779. In November 1782 he briefly commanded a company of volunteers in a failed expedition against the notorious Captain Kidd in Chesapeake Bay.

4Edwin Hull (d. 1780) of Northumberland County, Va., was appointed a captain of the 15th Virginia Regiment in November 1776 and retired in September 1778. He perished during a riot at the Northumberland County Courthouse in September 1780.

5Thomas Lewis (1749–1809) was appointed a second lieutenant in the 15th Virginia Regiment in November 1776 and was promoted to first lieutenant in March of the following year. His regiment was redesignated the 11th Virginia Regiment in September 1778, and he retired in February 1781. He served as a captain in the U.S. Army from 1792 to 1801.

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