George Washington Papers

General Orders, 25 August 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters White-Plains Tuesday Augt 25th 1778.

Parole Oronoko—C. Signs Orr. Otway.

The whole Army to have their tents struck & loaded into Waggons, their Packs slung and to be in every respect ready for marching tomorrow morning at six ôClock1—The Quarter Master General, Commissaries Clothier &c. will in like manner be ready to move with the affairs of their respective departments.

At a General Court Martial August 15th 1778—Coll Hazen President Lieutt Lewis of the 9th Virginia Regimt tried for disobedience of orders on the 27th of last June—found guilty of the Charge exhibited against him and sentenced to be reprimanded in General Orders; The good Character given Lieutenant Lewis by his Commanding Officer, has prevented the Court from being more severe in their sentence.2

The Commander in Chief looks upon Lieutt Lewis’s Conduct as an inexcusable breach of military discipline—The Plea of not knowing Coll Swift under whose immediate Command he then was, cannot be admitted, as Lieutt Lewis, if he was in any doubt, might very easily, and very naturally ought to, have asked from whom the order came.

At the same Court Joseph Cooler of the 3rd Maryland Regiment & John Fowler of Coll Nixon’s Regiment were tried for desertion found guilty and sentenced to receive one hundred lashes each—The Commander in Chief approves the sentences and orders them put in Execution tomorrow morning at guard mounting at the head of the Regiments to which they respectively belong.3

At the same Court Augt 20th Lieutt Lane of the 2nd Jersey Battalion was tried for unofficerlike Procedure in opening a Packet from the British Commissioners to Congress, while on Command at second River, unanimously found guilty of the Charge exhibited against him, being a breach of the 5th Article of 18th section of the Articles of War & sentenced to be cashiered.

At a Brigade General Court Martial Augt 22nd 1778. Coll Patten President, Lieutt Levi Gatlin of the 2nd North Carolina Battalion, was tried for neglect of duty and disobedience of orders, unanimously found guilty of the Charges exhibited against him & sentenced to be dismissed the service.4

The Commander in Chief approves the two last mentioned sentences and orders them to take place immediately.

At another Brigade General Court Martial August 21st—Colonel Chambers President, Francis Murray a soldier in the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment was tried for desertion to the Enemy—The Court duly considering the Evidence, the Prisoner’s defence and the aggravating Circumstances, are unanimously of opinion that he is guilty of desertion to the Enemy and do therefore sentence him to suffer Death.5

His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The entry for this date in Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln’s orderly book begins with the following additional order: “A Court of enquiry to sit tomorrow morning 9 oClock at Colo. Marshals Marque or Quarters who is appointed President, upon a complaint exhibited by Dr Brown against Colonel Davi[e]s—Members Lt Cl Woolford Major Reed & a Capt. from the 1st Pennsya & Clinton’s Brigades” (MHi: Lincoln Papers; see also Alexander McDougall orderly book, NHi; 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 , 12:544).

1Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Gilbert of the 5th Massachusetts Regiment recorded in his diary for 26 Aug.: “Wee Struck all our Tents and Loaded our Bagage. Swept the peraide and then pitcht our tents again by 12 oClock” (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 , 36; see also “Beatty Journal,” description begins “The Journal of Captain William Beatty, of the Maryland Line, 1776 to 1780.” Historical Magazine, and Notes and Queries concerning the Antiquities, History, and Biography of America, 2d ser., 1 (1867): 79–85. description ends 83).

2John Lewis (c.1755–1823) was commissioned an ensign in the 9th Virginia Regiment in March 1776 and promoted to second lieutenant in November of that year. Promoted to first lieutenant in May 1778, he resigned his commission on 15 Sept. 1778. Lewis served as a captain in the Virginia militia, 1780–81, and later became proprietor of the Sweet Springs spa.

3The orders were probably referring to Joseph Cooley, who had enlisted as a private in the 3d Maryland Regiment on 16 April 1778 and had been absent fifteen days as a deserter. Cooley deserted again, apparently in November 1778, and was discharged. John Fowler (born c.1759) of Marblehead, Mass., enlisted in November 1776 and served in Capt. Adam Wheeler’s company of Col. Thomas Nixon’s 6th Massachusetts Regiment. He had deserted in 1777 and was later recorded as having deserted in January 1779.

4Levi Gatlin was commissioned an ensign in the 10th North Carolina Regiment in 1777 and was promoted to lieutenant in February 1778.

5Pennsylvania records suggest that Murray was not executed at this time but died later in the war.

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