George Washington Papers

General Orders, 12 April 1779

General Orders

Head-Quarters Middle-Brook Monday April 12th 1779

Parole Tecklenburgh—C. Signs Temrock. Trim.

All the Brigade-Inspectors and Adjutants of Regiments to attend at the Orderly-Office tomorrow morning ten ô clock to copy the 5th & 6th chapters of the Baron Steuben’s instructions which are to be strictly adhered to & immediately put in practice:1 The hours of exercise to be from 6 to 8 ô clock in the morning and from 4 to 6 in the afternoon.

The Honorable the Congress having recommended it to the United States to set apart thursday the 6th of May next to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, to acknowledge the gracious interpositions of Providence; to deprecate deserved punishment for our Sins & Ingratitude, to unitedly implore the Protection of Heaven; Success to our Arms and the Arms of our Ally2—The Commander in Chief enjoins a religious observance of said day and directs the Chaplains to prepare discourses proper for the occasion; strictly forbiding all recreations and unnecessary labor.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Adj. Gen. Alexander Scammell’s orderly book entry for this date includes the following additional general order: “1 Sergt & 12 R[ank] & F[ile] from the 1st pennsylvania Brigade for Fatigue Tomorrow” (orderly book, 22 Dec. 1778–26 June 1779, DNA: RG 93, Orderly Books, 1775–1783, vol. 28).

On this date Margaret Thomas, GW’s washerwoman, signed a receipt at Middlebrook that reads: “Received of Major Gibbs. Sixty Six dollars & two thirds for one years wages for washing for His Exelly. Also including one pound of Indigo.” A note on the receipt indicates that “this year wages ended the 20th Feby 1779” (DLC:GW; Gibbs entered this into GW’s expense account book on 14 April [household account book, 11 April 1776–21 Nov. 1780, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 28]).

1For Major General Steuben’s regulations, see his letter to GW of 17 March, and n.2 to that document. Chapter five of Steuben’s regulations dealt with the instruction of recruits in individual military drill such as the wear of accoutrements, stances and facing movements, marching, and the manual of exercise for musket firing. Chapter six explained company exercises in opening ranks, firing, and marching movements such as the oblique march, march by files, and the countermarch.

2Congress had passed this resolution on 20 March (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 , 13:342–44).

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