George Washington Papers

General Orders, 24 August 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters W. Plains Monday Augt 24th 1778.

Parole Framingham—C. Signs Fez—France.

Brigade returns of all the horses in each Regiment and by whom kept to be made out immediately and delivered in to the orderly Office by 12 ôClock tomorrow.

The honorable the Congress have been pleased to agree to the following Report of their Committee and to pass the resolution annexed to it.

In Congress August 17th 1778.

The Committee to whom was referred a letter from General Washington of the 28th of July respecting Genl Putnam and the report of the Court of Enquiry on the subject of the Posts in the Highlands of Hudson’s River taken last year which was transmitted to Congress, report, That upon a careful examination of the Facts stated by the Court of Enquiry & consideration of the Evidence taken and transmitted, it appears that those Posts were lost not from any fault, misconduct or negligence of the Commanding Officers but solely thro’ the want of an adequate Force under their command to maintain & defend them. Resolved, that Congress agree to the said Report.1

At a Brigade Court-Martial in the Corps of Artillery Augt 14th 1778—Lieutt Coll Popkin President, Lieutenant Waters and McNamara were tried for speaking disrespectfully of the Commander in Chief treating Lieutt Hill in a scandalous manner unbecoming the Characters of Gentlemen & raising a Riot, and contemptuous treatment of Coll Harrison after being arrested2—After mature deliberation the Court are of opinion that Lieutenant Waters is guilty of treating Mr Hill in a scandalous manner, unbecoming the Character of a Gentleman, but as the provocation from Mr Hill was so considerable and so very apt to produce in Mr Waters the forgetfulness of his Character as a Gentleman and Officer, they view the Crime in some measure palliated & therefore only sentence him to be reprimanded by the Commanding Officer of Artillery in Presence of all the Officers of the Corps—The General approves the sentence & orders it to take place tomorrow morning at Roll-Call.3

The Court find Lieutt McNamara of Colonel Harrison’s Regiment of Artillery guilty of speaking disrespectfully of His Excellency General Washington, treating Lieutt Hill in a scandalous manner, unbecoming the Character of a Gentleman & contemptuous treatment of Coll Harrison after being arrested and unanimously adjudged that he shall be cashiered.

The Commander in Chief is sorry to be under the Necessity of Deciding in a Case of this Nature & would readily remit the sentence against Lieutt McNamara if his behaviour to Colonel Harrison, his Commanding Officer had not been so gross and disorderly as to compel the General to confirm it.

The General Court-Martial whereof Major General Lincoln is President will sit tomorrow at the time and Place mentioned in yesterdays orders—Members the same, except Coll Wyllys vice Coll Cortland who is absent on Command.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln’s orderly book for this date begins with the following orders: “Major Merriweather for two days guard, supplyed with two days provisions & 40 rounds pr man—The Detachments for a weeks & fortnights command to be supplyed with the like quantity of provision & also 22 light dragoons, who are to parade to morrow morning” (MHi: Lincoln Papers; see also N.C. State Records description begins Walter Clark, ed. The State Records of North Carolina. 16 vols., numbered 11-26. Winston and Goldsboro, N.C., 1895–1907. description ends , 12:542).

On this date GW’s aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton wrote to Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne to convey GW’s request that Wayne look into Capt. John Nelson’s complaint about his arrest and detention (PHi: Wayne Papers; see also Hamilton Papers, 1:536). Also, a council of general officers replied to the question posed to them by GW on 20 Aug. (see Proceedings of a Council of General Officers, 20–24 Aug.).

1For this report, see 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 , 11:803–4.

2All three lieutenants were in Col. Charles Harrison’s 1st Continental Artillery Regiment. Richard Waters had been commissioned a first lieutenant in January 1777. He was appointed regimental adjutant in September 1778 and promoted to captain lieutenant in August 1779. Taken prisoner at Camden, S.C., on 16 Aug. 1780, he was on parole at the end of the war. Michael McNamara was commissioned a second lieutenant in January 1777 and promoted to first lieutenant in January 1778. He had been serving as regimental adjutant since 1 July 1778. Richard Hill was commissioned a second lieutenant in January 1777 and promoted to first lieutenant in October of that year. He resigned in April 1779.

3The artillery brigade orders for 25 Aug. reported that “Upon a representation made to his Excellency the Commander in chief, he has been pleased, to remit the Sentence of reprimand ordered Lt. Waters; who is hereby released from his arrest” (Artillery Brigade orderly book, NHi).

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