George Washington Papers

General Orders, 8 January 1779

General Orders

Head-Quarters Middle-Brook [N.J.] January 8th 1779.

Parole Montgomery—C. Signs Milo Milton.

At a General Court-Martial held near Fish-Kill November 9th 1778. Colonel John Neville President.

Colonel Thomas Price commanding the 2nd Maryland Regiment, was tried on the following charges (viz.)

1stly—Cowardice on York-Island in the face of the Enemy.

2ndly—Disgraceful behaviour in refusing to take command, at Hackinsack of the regiment late Smallwoods when ordered to Fort-Lee.

3rdly—Scandalously leaving Hackinsack at 12 ôClock at night, when raining, on the report of the enemies approach.

4thly—Disgracefully leaving Kingston on the approach of the enemy.

5thly—Cowardice at Brandewine.

6thly—Cowardice at Germantown.

7thly—Ungentlemanlike behaviour in not complying with his promise, to leave the service, made at a court of Inquiry at White-Marsh, by which he induced many of the Witnesses thro’ compassion to suppress their evidence.

After maturely considering the charges and evidence and defence, The Court do acquit Colonel Thomas Price of the 4th 5th and 6th charges; They also acquit him with honor of the 1st 2nd 3rd & 7th charges.

Major General Lord Stirling, Commander in Chief in the Jersies confirms the sentence of the Court and orders Colonel Price to be released from his Arrest.

Lieutenant Robert Porterfield of the 7th Virginia Regiment is to do the duty of Brigade Major ’till further orders in General Woodford’s Brigade, Brigade Major Porterfield being absent.1

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Congressman Samuel Holten wrote in his diary on this date that “Congress sit ’till 4 o’Clock, & then dined at the city tavern, where they had invited Genl. Washington & a number of other Gentlemen to dine with them” (Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 11:435).

1Robert Porterfield (1752–1843) was appointed a second lieutenant in the 11th Virginia Regiment in December 1776 and was promoted to first lieutenant in June 1777. He served in 1778 as regimental adjutant before transferring to the 7th Virginia Regiment in September 1778. Porterfield was promoted to captain-lieutenant in July 1779 and to captain a month later; he was captured at Charleston, S.C., in May 1780 and exchanged in December of that year. He transferred to the 2d Virginia Regiment in February 1781 and served to the end of the war. After the war ended, he settled at the estate of “Soldier’s Retreat” near Waynesboro, in Augusta County, Va., and became a general in the Virginia militia.

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