George Washington Papers

General Orders, 27 July 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters White-Plains Monday July 27th 1778.

Parole LexingtonC. Signs London. Lebanon.

The Gentlemen who have offered themselves as Candidates for Commissions in the Companies of Sappers & Miners are requested to wait upon General Du Portail, Chief Engineer who will examine their respective Pretensions & Qualifications & make a report to Head-Quarters accordingly.

A Hogshead of Rice will be delivered to each Brigade for the use of the sick.

At a General Court-Martial July 17th 1778—Coll Putnam President, Mr James Davidson, Quarter Master of Coll James Livingston’s Regiment tried for defrauding the soldiers of their Provisions, embezzling Continental Property and disposing of several Articles belonging to the United States, found guilty and sentenced to be cashiered.1

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

At the same Court Henry Scott a soldier in Colonel Sherburne’s Regiment was tried for desertion, found guilty and sentenced to receive fifty lashes on his bare back and be confined in some Gaol ’till he can be put on board the Continental Navy there to remain during the War.2

The Commander in Chief orders him to receive his lashes on the Grand-Parade tomorrow morning at Guard-mounting and then to return to his Regiment.

Likewise Alexander Graham alias Smith a soldier in Coll Meigs’s Regiment tried for desertion unanimously found guilty and sentenced to be shot to death.3

John Craige of 4th Maryland Regiment, at a Brigade General Court Martial July 10th 1778—was tried for deserting to the Enemy—found guilty and unanimously sentenced to suffer death.4

His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the two last mentioned sentences.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

On this date Reuben Wright gave a receipt for £28.18.10, received in full payment of his account for GW’s “family Expence,” 20–27 July (DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 29).

1James Davidson had been appointed quartermaster of the 1st Canadian Regiment in March 1777.

2Henry Scott enlisted in Col. Henry Sherburne’s Additional Continental Regiment in September 1777 and deserted in December of that year. After he rejoined the regiment in April 1778, he was reported as confined until he was transferred to a Continental ship in 1779.

3Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Gilbert of the 5th Massachusetts Regiment identified this man as “one Smith formally Belonging to Colo. Greatons Regt” (Symmes, Gilbert Diary description begins Rebecca D. Symmes, ed. A Citizen-Soldier in the American Revolution: The Diary of Benjamin Gilbert in Massachusetts and New York. Cooperstown, N.Y., 1980. description ends , 35). An Alexander Smith of Col. John Greaton’s 3d Massachusetts Regiment enlisted for the war in February 1777 and deserted in July of that year. He, or another man of the same name, was convicted of desertion and sentenced to lashes earlier in July 1778 (see Horatio Gates general orders, 15 July, NN: Emmet Collection).

4John Craig, who had enlisted as a private for three years’ service in May 1778, was pardoned (see General Orders, 21 Aug.), and he later reenlisted for the war.

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