George Washington Papers

General Orders, 8 August 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters W. Plains Saturday Augt 8th 78.

Parole Europe—C. Signs Finland. Durham.

The Regimental Pay-Masters are to apply to the Pay-Master General for Pay for the Months of April and May1—Those who have not received their Ration money since the first day of January last are to apply immediately as the Pay Master General is ordered to forward the Accounts to Congress.

Right Wing to be paid on Monday next Second Line and Artillery on Tuesday and Left Wing on Wednesday.2

At a General Court Martial August 4th 78 Coll Hall President, Anthony Matica an Inhabitant of this State was tried for supplying the Enemy with Fuel and acquitted.

Also William Cole on Suspicion of being a Spy and acquitted of the Charge exhibited against him; Both are to be released from their confinement.

At the same Court John Armstrong a Private in Captain Pollard’s Company of Artificers was tried 1st “For stealing a Key[“]—2nd For striking and giving abusive language to Lieutenant Parker—found guilty and sentenc’d to receive one hundred lashes.3

Also John Duffey a soldier in the Delaware Regiment tried for desertion to the Enemy, found guilty and sentenced to receive one hundred lashes.4

The Commander in Chief approves the sentences and orders them to be put in Execution tomorrow morning at Guard mounting at the head of the Troops to which they respectively belong.

Lieutt Herbert of the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment is appointed to do the duty of Brigade Major in the 2nd Pennsylvania Brigade ’till further Orders and is to be respected accordingly.5

After Orders August 8th 1778.

For the Safety and Ease of the Army and to be in greater readiness to attack or repel the Enemy, The Commander in Chief for these and many other Reasons orders and directs that a Corps of Light-Infantry composed of the best, most hardy and active Marksmen and commanded by good Partizan officers be draughted from the several Brigades to be commanded by Brigadier General Scott, ’till the Committee of Arrangement shall have established the Light-Infantry of the Army agreeable to a late Resolve of Congress.6

Field Officers for the Corps.

Colonels— Lieut. Colls Majors.
Parker Harmer. J. Stewart
Gist Simms Taylor7
Butler Shearman. Ledyard.

Coll Graham’s Regiment to be added to this Corps.

The details of the several Brigades are to be draughted and got in readiness as soon as possible.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln’s orderly book for this date begins with an additional order: “For two days guards—to be furnished with two days provisions and 40 rounds pr man—Lieut. Col. Hubley—Major Thompson” (MHi: Lincoln Papers). Additional routine orders regarding the two days guards, which appear frequently in Lincoln’s and other orderly books for August and September 1778, will not ordinarily be noted.

1GW’s Revolutionary War warrant book lists four pages of disbursements to paymasters on this date (DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 19).

2An additional order appears at this point in Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln’s orderly book: “Twenty four light Dragoons, properly officered to attend the grand parade tomorrow morning at guard mounting furnished with two days provision” (MHi: Lincoln Papers). Additional routine orders regarding the appearance of dragoons at guard mounting, which appear frequently in Lincoln’s and other orderly books for August and September 1778, will not ordinarily be noted.

3John Armstrong served from January 1777 to November 1779 as a private in one of the companies of quartermaster’s artificers that were organized under Col. Jeduthan Baldwin’s command in July 1778. Phineas Parker of Andover, Mass., who was commissioned an ensign in an artificer company in January 1777, was promoted to lieutenant in March 1778 and to captain in January 1779. He served at least until the end of 1780, by which time the Quartermaster Artificer Regiment had been formally created.

4John Duffey, a private in Capt. Robert Kirkwood’s company of the Delaware Regiment, reportedly deserted on 1 May 1777 and returned on 3 Aug. 1778 (Delaware Archives, 1:203, 227).

5Stewart Herbert, Jr. (1754–1795), a printer from Lancaster County, Pa., enlisted in the German Regiment as a sergeant in July 1776 and became an ensign of the 12th Pennsylvania Regiment in October of that year. Promoted to second lieutenant in May 1777 and to first lieutenant in January 1778, he transferred to the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment on 1 July 1778. Herbert, who had been wounded in a battle at Short Hills, N.J., in June 1777, was again wounded, and this time captured, at Green Spring, Va., on 6 July 1781. Although paroled, he was not exchanged as late as November 1782. He was assigned to the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment in the January 1783 reorganization of the Pennsylvania line and may have subsequently moved to the 3d Pennsylvania Regiment, serving out the war. After the war, Herbert served from August 1784 to September 1785 as a lieutenant and adjutant for a U. S. infantry regiment formed to defend the northwest frontier, and from 1790 until his death he printed a newspaper at Hagerstown, Maryland.

6GW was referring to the first of Congress’s resolutions of 27 May on the establishment of the army ( 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 , 11:538–39).

7This officer was probably Maj. Richard Taylor (1744–1829). Taylor, who was commissioned a lieutenant in the 1st Virginia Regiment in September 1775 and promoted to captain in March 1776, became major of the 13th Virginia Regiment in February 1778. He became lieutenant colonel of the 2d Virginia Regiment in December 1779 and retired from the army in February 1781. After the war Taylor moved to Kentucky, where, in 1790, GW appointed him collector of customs at Louisville. Taylor was the father of President Zachary Taylor.

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