George Washington Papers

General Orders, 13 March 1779

General Orders

Head-Quarters Middle-Brook saturday March 13th 1779.

Parole UtrechtC. Signs Colbert: Tuscany.

Captain Bebee of Coll Shearman’s Regiment; Lieutt Andrew Little 2nd Pennsylvania regiment: Lieutt Nathan Lawrence, late Patton’s Regiment; Lieutt William Murray1 10th Pennsylvania Regiment; Mr Gilloland Director of Ordnance; Mr Richard Mount Volunteer in the 2nd North-Carolina or 1st N. York Regiment; Captain Du Val at Reading; Lieutt William Glenny 2nd New-York Regiment; Mr Welch Volunteer in General Huntington’s Brigade; Mr Mix of Coll Wyllys’s Regimt & Mr John Burnside, Coll Lamb’s regiment of Artillery being under nomination for appointments in the corps of Sappers and Miners are desired to attend forthwith at Head-Quarters.2

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1 Adj. Gen. Alexander Scammell’s orderly book entry for this date correctly reads “McMurray” (orderly book, 22 Dec. 1778–26 June 1779, DNA: RG 93, Orderly Books, 1775–1783, vol. 28).

2 These eleven candidates were again ordered to come to GW’s headquarters at Middlebrook in the general orders of 19 May, and it was announced in the general orders of 2 Aug. that six of them had been chosen to be officers in the corps of sappers and miners along with two other officers not previously named as candidates in the general orders.

The six selected candidates were James Beebe, Andrew Lytle (Little), William McMurray, James Gilliland, Captain Du Val, and John Welch. James Beebe of the 2d Connecticut Regiment, who was currently involved in a dispute over rank, accepted a commission as a captain of the sappers and miners and served in that capacity from 1 Sept. 1779 to 8 June 1781 (see GW to Israel Putnam, this date, and n.3, and General Orders, 19 June 1781).

Andrew Lytle (Little), a first lieutenant and regimental quartermaster of the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment, is the only person of that name and rank who is known to have served in the Pennsylvania line. Chosen as a captain-lieutenant of the sappers and miners on 2 Aug. 1779, Lytle declined that appointment before the end of the month and continued serving as a lieutenant in the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment until January 1783, when he transferred to the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment (see General Orders, 28 Oct. 1778, 31 Aug. 1779, and 10 and 17 July 1780).

William McMurray (d. 1787), a frontier surveyor from Sunbury, Pa., served from June 1775 to June 1776 as a sergeant in the Northampton County, Pa., rifle company that marched to Cambridge, Mass., during the summer of 1775 to join the Continental army as part of Col. William Thompson’s Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment. On 17 July 1776 Congress resolved that McMurray be a second lieutenant in Capt. John Doyle’s independent rifle company, which was organized at Lancaster, Pa., in September 1776 and was attached to the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment during the campaign of 1777 (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 , 5:571, 736–37). Attached to the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment in December 1777, Doyle’s company was disbanded on 1 July 1778, when McMurray, who had been promoted to 1st lieutenant on 2 June 1778, transferred to the 10th Pennsylvania Regiment. He was named a captain of the sappers and miners in the general orders of 2 Aug. 1779 and served as such until 1 June 1781 (see General Orders, 19 June 1781).

James Gilliland, who had operated a mercantile and mathematic school in New York City before the war, was appointed a second lieutenant in Capt. Alexander Hamilton’s New York artillery company in March 1776 and was promoted to first lieutenant in August 1776. Resigning his artillery commission in December 1776, Gilliland subsequently became director of ordnance at Fort Montgomery, N.Y., where he was captured with the garrison when it surrendered to the British on 6 Oct. 1777. The date of his exchange is not known. Named a captain-lieutenant of the sappers and miners in the general orders of 2 Aug. 1779, Gilliland was promoted to captain in June 1781 (see General Orders, 19 June 1781). At the siege of Yorktown in October 1781, Alexander Hamilton praised Gilliland and his men for their work in removing obstructions during the successful attack on British redoubt number ten (see Hamilton to Lafayette, 15 Oct. 1781, DLC:GW). However, ill health, the needs of his large family, and strained relations with other officers in the corps of sappers and miners impelled Gilliland to resign from the army in October 1782 (see Gilliland to GW, 3 Sept. 1781 and 3 Aug. 1782 [both DLC:GW], and 9 Oct. 1782 [DNA: RG93, manuscript file no. 20164]). Gilliland subsequently became a timber measurer and custom house gauger in New York City, and on 31 May 1789, he petitioned GW for continued employment (see Papers, Presidential Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series. 17 vols. to date. Charlottesville, Va., 1987–. description ends , 2:415–16; see also Gilliland’s petitions to Congress, 25 April 1785 and 27 Jan. 1787, DNA:PCC, items 41 and 42).

The Captain Du Val (Du Veil) at Redding, Conn., who was subsequently commissioned a captain in the corps of sappers and miners has not been identified (see General Orders, 2 Aug. 1779, and 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 , 16:133).

John Welch became a lieutenant in the corps of sappers and miners in August 1779, and on 2 Aug. 1780 he was appointed quartermaster of the corps (see General Orders, that date). Resigning from the sappers and miners on 1 July 1781, Welch became an ensign in the Rhode Island Regiment on 1 Jan. 1782 and served with it until the end of the war, being promoted to first lieutenant on 1 May 1782 and being appointed regimental quartermaster on 2 Oct. 1782 (see General Orders, that date).

Of the five candidates who were not chosen as officers of the corps of sappers and miners in August 1779, one was subsequently so appointed. Jonathan (not Nathan) Lawrence, Jr., of Col. William Malcom’s Additional Continental Regiment, who became a supernumerary officer when Malcom’s regiment was consolidated with other regiments in the spring of 1779, relinquished his Continental commission on 22 April 1779 and subsequently served for a time as a captain of New York militia levies (see William Malcom to GW, 30 July 1778, and Lawrence to GW, 16 May 1781, DLC:GW). Lawrence was appointed a captain in the corps of sappers and miners in June 1781 and served until November 1782 (see General Orders, 19 June 1781, and Lawrence to GW, 28 Aug. and 25 Nov. 1782, both DLC:GW).

A soldier named Richard Mount had enlisted as a private in the 1st New York Regiment in July 1777. He may be the “Mr. Mount” for whom the commander of that regiment, Col. Goose Van Schaik, had sought an appointment as an officer the previous winter (see George Clinton to Van Schaik, 1 Feb. 1778, in Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 2:701–2). In the North Carolina line the only known Richard Mount served as a private from May 1776 to March 1779 in the 6th North Carolina Regiment, which was stationed in South Carolina at this time.

William Glenny (d. 1781), who had served as a sergeant in the 3d New York Regiment from June 1775 to January 1776, was commissioned an ensign in the 2d New York Regiment in November 1776 and was promoted in that regiment to second lieutenant in June 1777 and first lieutenant in April 1780. Glenny was killed on 30 Oct. 1781 in an engagement at Jerseyfield, N.Y., on West Canada Creek, a tributary of the Mohawk River.

John Mix (c.1755–1834) of Farmington, Conn., who had served as a sergeant in the 7th Connecticut Regiment from July to December 1775 and as an ensign in Col. John Douglas’s Connecticut State Regiment from June to December 1776, was appointed an ensign in the 3d Connecticut Regiment on 1 Jan. 1777, and in June 1778 became a lieutenant and regimental adjutant of the 2d Connecticut Regiment. From July 1781 to at least August 1783, Mix served as an assistant quartermaster general while retaining his rank as a lieutenant in his regiment, which on 1 Jan. 1781 was consolidated with the 9th Connecticut Regiment to form the new 3d Connecticut Regiment (see Samuel Holden Parsons to GW, 10 July 1781, DLC:GW; GW to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 16 Aug. 1781, Ct: Trumbull Papers; Mix to Trumbull, 23 May 1782, DLC:GW; GW to Mix, 11 Aug. 1782, DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 25589; Mix to David Humphreys, 12 Aug. 1783, DLC:GW; and GW to Mix, 17 Aug. 1783, DLC:GW).

John Burnside had become a sergeant in Col. John Lamb’s 2d Continental Artillery Regiment in January 1777, and he was promoted to second lieutenant in September 1778. Burnside was still serving as a lieutenant with Lamb’s artillery on 22 May 1781 when he wrote Gov. George Clinton of New York from Haverstraw, N.Y., asking to be relieved from recruiting duty (see Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 6:902).

Index Entries