George Washington Papers

General Orders, 22 June 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters Coryell’s-Ferry [N.J.] Monday June 22nd 1778.

ParoleC. Signs

A Field return is to be made this afternoon under the immediate Inspection of the Brigadiers and Officers commanding Brigades, who are to be responsible for their Exactness; These returns to comprehend those men only who are actually on the spot fit for duty in time of Action, among which the guards will be included; the unarmed men to be distinguished.

The soldiers to have their Arms well cleaned and afterwards carefully inspected, together with their Ammunition, by their respective Officers.

The tents and heavy baggage if there is any will be separated from the Army for some days; the Officers will content themselves with a few Necessaries during that time; The Quarter Master General will make his Arrangements accordingly—He will give orders respecting the movement of the separated baggage: None but Invalids and men unfit for the fatigues of a march are to go as guards to the baggage.1

Intrenching Tools are to be assigned to the Brigades in due proportion and delivered to the Care of the Brigade Quarter-Masters.

When circumstances will permit the Artificers and Pioneers are to advance before the Van Guard of the Army and repair the roads with Fascines and Earth instead of Rails which serve to cripple the horses.

The Quarter Master General will fall upon some method to have straw equally and regularly distributed to the men when they arrive at the ground of Encampment to prevent Confusion & Waste.

On a march the Major General of the day will pay particular Attention that the Column advances in compleat order and not so fast in front as to fatigue and distress the Rear.

The Brigadier of the day with the Officers ordered to remain in the Rear will see that every thing is properly conducted there—the Guards kept to their duty and all damage to the fruit trees prevented, of which the whole road hitherto exhibits such shameful Proofs. Commanding Officers of Companies will see that their men fill their Canteens before they begin the march, that they may not be under a necessity of runing to every spring and injuring themselves by drinking cold water when heated with marching.

Each Brigade is to furnish an active, spirited Officer and twenty five of it’s best marksmen immediately; These parties to join Coll Morgan’s Corps and continue under his command ’till the Enemy pass thro’ the Jerseys after which they are to rejoin their Regiments without further orders.

The General will beat at three oClock in the morning and the Army march at four ôClock precisely.

The Quarter Master General will communicate the order of March and the Route and will acquaint the Major Generals with their respective Commands.

After Orders.

The following Brigades during the march are to compose the Right Wing of the Army and be commanded by Major General Lee, Woodford’s, Scott’s, No. Carolina, Poor’s, Varnum’s and Huntington’s—First Pennsylvania—2nd Pennsylvania Late Conway’s, Glovers, Larneds and Paterson’s are to compose the Left Wing and be commanded by Major General Lord-Stirling.

The Second line is to consist of 1st & 2nd Maryland Muhlenberg’s, Weedon’s and Maxwell’s (when it joins) and be commanded by Major General the Marquis De la Fayette. The Army to march from the left. The Quarter Master Genl will furnish Guides. A Field Officer is to take Charge of the baggage guard.

If the weather should prove very rainy in the morning the Troops are not to march; in any case, if they march the tents are to be left standing and the baggage guards are, when dry to strike and load them in the Waggons: Lieutt Coll Coleman will take command of the baggage guard.

The Officer and twenty five men from each Brigade who are to be annexed to Coll Morgan’s Corps are to be sent to his quarters early tomorrow morning about a mile in front of the Army.

The two Light Infantry Companies in the North-Carolina Brigade will be attached to Coll Morgan’s Corps instead of the twenty five therefrom, mention’d in the first order of this day.

Lieutenant Coll Basset is appointed Bringer-up vice Lieutt Coll Coleman.2

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

GW’s army spent this day crossing the Delaware at Coryell’s Ferry. Sgt. Ebenezer Wild of the 1st Massachusetts Regiment wrote in his diary: “At 5 o’clk the General was beat. We struck our tents and loaded our baggage. Between 6 & 7 o’clk we fell in & were counted off in order to march. About 8 o’clk we marched down to the ferry & crossed. We marched about a mile and a half in the Jerseys, and made a halt there till about 1 o’clk. Then we marched about 2 miles further, where we came up with Genl Lee’s Division and encamped in a field” (“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 109).

A British brigade order book recorded that on this date “The army marched again in two divisions, the 1st under the command of Sir H. Clinton and Lord Cornwallis moving at 3 o’clock, and the 2nd under Lieutenant-General Knyphausen at 6, and following the baggage of the 1st; the face of the country though much better settled and more open than at the beginning of our route, not admitting of the two divisions taking different roads. The army again encamped in two lines near the Black Horse, where the Commander-in-chief had his head-quarters” (Whinyates, Services of Francis Downman, description begins F. A. Whinyates, ed. The Services of Lieut.-Colonel Francis Downman, R.A., in France, North America, and the West Indies, between the Years 1758 and 1784. Woolwich, England, 1898. description ends 66; see also Gruber, Peebles’ American War, description begins Ira D. Gruber, ed. John Peebles’ American War: The Diary of a Scottish Grenadier, 1776–1782. Mechanicsburg, Pa., 1998. description ends 190–91).

1An undated document, docketed “Column of Baggage from Coryells Ferry. June 1778” by GW, reads: “The Disposition for the Baggage of the Army as follows—viz.

  • “1st. Commander in Chiefs to form the Trunk of the Column
  • “2d Adjutant Generals
  • “3. Pay Master Generals
  • “4. Quarter Master Generals
  • “5. Engineers
  • “6. Auditors of Accounts.
  • “7. Clothier Generals, Judge Advocate, Camp Prisoners & Post Offic⟨er⟩
  • “8. Baggage of the Army according to the Line of march as follows—viz.
  1st Pattersons }     Lord Stirlings
Baggage in
  2d Learneds
  3 Glovers
  4. late Conways
  5. 2d Pennsylvania
  7. late Weedons }     The Marquis
de la Fayettes
Baggage in front
  8. Muhlenburgs
  9. second Maryland
10. first Ditto.
11. the Baggage of Artillery
12. Huntingtons }     General Lees
Baggage in
13. Varnums
14. Poors.
15. North Carolina
17. Woodfords
  • “9. The flying hospital
  • “10. The Commissary General
  • “11. The Forage Teams

“The Teams are to march as near to each other as possible & on no pretence break the Line or double up—nor to stop to water unless by orders from the Officer commanding the Baggage Guard for the whole to halt for that purpose.

“The Army will march off, leave the Baggage on the Ground and their Tents standing—which the Guards left in Charge of the Baggage are to load in the Waggons when the Tents shall be completely dry.

“The whole then to remain loaded at the present Encampment until the Day after tomorrow unless they should receive other Orders—in Case they should not, they are then to move in the most Direct route towards Somerset Courthouse halting near Sower Land hill at the distance of nine or Ten miles from Princetown.

“The Provision & Forage belonging to the Brigades, to march with the Army” (DLC:GW).

2Dudley Coleman (1745–1797) served in 1776 as a second lieutenant and adjutant in the 12th Continental Infantry Regiment. He was appointed a major in the 13th Massachusetts Regiment in January 1777 and promoted to lieutenant colonel in July 1777. He left the army in March 1779. Barachiah Basset (1732–1813) of Falmouth, Mass., served as a captain and major in the Massachusetts militia in 1775–76 and was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 14th Massachusetts Regiment in November 1776. He left the army in January 1781.

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