George Washington Papers

General Orders, 27 August 1778

General Orders

Head-Quarters W. Plains Thursday August 27th 1778.

Parole New-HampshireC. Signs Newark Norway.

As the late Order respecting Brigade Inspectors of the day renders their duty very unequal, the Commander in Chief directs, that they be daily appointed in orders in regular rotation.

Captn John Alexander is appointed Pay-Master Lieutenant John McCullan Adjutant and Lieut. John Hughes Quarter-Master to 7th Pennsylvania Regiment1 These appointments to bear date from the 1st day of June last when they were made.

Captain Joseph Howell of the 2nd Pennsylvania Regt is appointed Pay-Master to the same.2

The Colonels and Officers commanding Corps are desir’d to return to Head-Quarters, with all the Accuracy they can, a list of the names of all the Officers who have served in their respective Corps at any time since the 1st of January 1777—and the present day, in which they will specify their ranks and the dates of their Commissions; and also such promotions and removals as have happened, whether by reason of death, Resignation or from other Causes—All Corps now in service in the Continental Line are comprehended in this order.3 The honorable the board of War want these lists & wish to obtain them as soon as they can be made out.

Half a Gill of Rice pr Ration is to be issued to the Army three times a Week in lieu of one quarter of a pound of flour which is on those days to be deducted from the usual Rations.

The General again in the most positive and express terms forbids any person whatever keeping a horse or horses in or near Camp, who are not properly authorized by the Regulations of the Army or by his special Permission to keep horses maintained at the Public Expence; The necessity of a strict Compliance with this order is obvious & Officers commanding Divisions, Brigades and Regiments will in a particular manner be responsible for the most exact obedience.

All horses belonging to the Public in the Possession of any Person not entitled to them by Public Authority are forthwith to be returned to the Quarter-Master General or his Deputy.

The making use of Waggon horses as riding horses is strictly forbidden unless by a written order signed by the Commanding Officer of the Brigade to which the horses belong; Any Person guilty of a breach of this order may depend on being severely punished.

All Persons who have horses belonging to the Public in their Possession for their own use are without fail to make return of them to the Qr Master General by saturday noon next; The utmost punctuality will be expected.4

After Orders.

A board of Field Officers consisting of—Lieutt Coll Cropper Major Wallace from Genl Woodford’s Brigade—Coll Davis Lieutt Coll Ball from Genl Muhlenberg’s—Coll Wood Majr Clark5 from General Scott’s, are to sit tomorrow to settle the relative Rank of the Field Officers and Captains of the Virginia Line; One Officer at least from each Regiment is to attend the board to give Information. The Brigadiers of the Virginia line are to appoint a board of Officers consisting of an equal number from each Brigade to settle the relative Ranks of the Subalterns.

Each of those boards are to ascertain the dates which the Commissions are to bear—and make a return of them to the Committee of Arrangement sitting at Head-Quarters that the Register may be as compleat as possible.

The Commanding Officer of the New York Brigade and the Colonels or Commanding Officers of Battalions are to attend the Committee of Arrangement tomorrow morning nine ôClock at Head-Quarters.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1John Alexander (1753–1804), who was commissioned a second lieutenant of the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment in January 1776 and promoted to first lieutenant the next month, became a captain of the 7th Pennsylvania Regiment in March 1777. He remained with the regiment through its consolidation into the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment in January 1781 but resigned in July of that year. John McCullam was commissioned an ensign of the 7th Pennsylvania Regiment in March 1777 and promoted to second lieutenant in September of that year. Promoted to first lieutenant in April 1779, he remained with the 7th (later 4th) Pennsylvania Regiment until it was disbanded on 1 Jan. 1783. Then he joined the 2d Pennsylvania Regiment, where he served until June 1783. McCullam remained regimental adjutant until June 1779. John Hughes (1754–1804), who served in 1776 as a sergeant and ensign in the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment, became an ensign of the 7th Pennsylvania Regiment in January 1777 and was promoted to second lieutenant in September of that year. Promoted to first lieutenant in April 1779, Hughes served to the close of the war.

2Joseph Howell, Jr. (c.1750–1798), was appointed a captain of the Pennsylvania Musket Battalion in March 1776. Taken prisoner on Long Island on 27 Aug. 1776, he was exchanged on 9 Dec. 1776 and became a captain in the 2d Pennsylvania Regiment later that month. He resigned from the army in October 1778. On 27 April 1779 Congress elected Howell to be an auditor of the army. In 1783 he was appointed as a deputy to the paymaster general and commissioner of army accounts, and he became commissioner in 1788. He was accountant of the War Department, 1792–95.

3For an example of the lists prepared pursuant to this order, see “A Return of the Commission’d Officers belonging to the Corps Commanded lately by Collonell Armand, at present Commanded by Captn Antoni Selin August 28th 1778” (DLC:GW).

4A number of reports in response to this order can be found in DNA:PCC, item 173.

5Jonathan Clark (1750–1811), who was commissioned a captain in the 8th Virginia Regiment on 23 Jan. 1776, became a major of the 12th Virginia Regiment in January 1778. Promoted in May 1779 to lieutenant colonel of the regiment, which had been redesignated the 8th Virginia Regiment, Clark was taken prisoner at Charleston on 12 May 1780, and he remained a prisoner on parole at the end of the war.

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