George Washington Papers

General Orders, 11 February 1779

General Orders

Head-Quarters Middle-Brook Thursday Feby 11th 1779.

Parole Sunderland—C. Signs Bombay—Tirol—

A formal complaint having been lodged with the Commander in Chief against Coll Craige for beating & otherwise ill-treating Caleb Brokaw, an Inhabitant of this State; a Court of Inquiry to examine into the circumstances of the affair will sit on saturday forenoon 10 ôClock at the Court Martial room—The court will consist of Coll Russell as President, Colonels Williams and Butler, Lieutt Colonel Adams and Major Posey Members—They will report a state of facts and their opinion to the Commander in Chief.1

Accurate returns of Arms, Accoutrements, Ammunition &c. according to the printed forms which will be deliverd out are to be forthwith made by the commanding officers of regiments to the officers commanding Brigades, who are to have them digested into Brigade returns and transmitted to the Adjutant General. The Officers will advert to the order of the 7th of August last and all Arms, Ammunition &c.—in use at that time or drawn since are to be regularly accounted for.2

At a General Court Martial whereof Coll C. Hall was President Feby 6th 1779.

Captain Von Heer, commanding the M.L.D.3 was tried for, “Exacting without authority money for licencing Sutlers”—The Court are of opinion that Captn Von Heer exacted without authority money for licencing Sutlers, being a breach of Article 5th—section 18th of the rules and articles of war4—They are also of opinion that as Captain Von Heer’s conduct might possibly have arisen from a mis-conception of the nature of his office, he shall only be reprimanded in general orders and repay the several sutlers the money he exacted from them.

As the public manner in which Captain Von Heer demanded fees from the sutlers is an argument of his being unconscious that he was committing the most heinous species of extortion, The Commander in Chief acquiesces in the lenient sentence of the Court Martial—He desires that Captain Von Heer will for the future pay stricter attention to his instructions and consider them as the only rule of his conduct which will be approved or condemned only, as he adheres to, or deviates from them.

A course of lectures on Anatomy and the operations of Surgery will commence sometime between the middle & latter end of February instant at or near the camp, so as best to suit the conveniency of those surgeons belonging to the Army who shall attend—A Preliminary lecture will be delivered by Doctor Brown, Physician General to the Middle-Department at the Orderly-Room on tuesday the 16th instant 11 ôclock A.M. on the Theory and Practice of Physic—All regimental surgeons are desired to attend.5

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1The following Saturday was 13 February. For alterations in the court’s membership and delay of its meeting, see General Orders, 13 and 14 February. Caleb Brokaw, a civilian, apparently alleged that he had been mistreated by Col. Thomas Craig. For the court’s report effectively exonerating Craig and GW’s dissatisfaction with it, see General Orders, 24 February. Caleb Brokaw (1746–1814) was a resident of Hillsborough Township, Somerset County, New Jersey. Craig continued commanding the 3d Pennsylvania Regiment until the end of the war.

3Capt. Bartholomew von Heer commanded a mounted provost corps known as the Maréchaussée Light Dragoons or simply the Maréchaussée Corps.

4The fifth article of the eighteenth section of the articles of war reads that “crimes not capital, and all disorders and neglects which officers and soldiers may be guilty of, to the prejudice of good order and military discipline, though not mentioned in the above articles of war, are to be taken cognizance of by a general or regimental court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offence, and be punished at their discretion” (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 , 5:807).

5In 1778 Dr. William Brown had published at Philadelphia a thirty-two-page book entitled Pharmacopoeia simpliciorum et efficaciorum, in usum nosocomii militaris … (Pharmacopoeia of Simple and Effective Drugs for the Use of Military Hospitals). Containing 100 remedies that could be made with inexpensive ingredients, Brown’s book was the first pharmacopoeia printed in the United States.

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