George Washington Papers

General Orders, 18 August 1779

General Orders

Head-Quarters Moores House [West Point]
Wednesday August 18 1779.

Parole Palestine— C. Signs Paoli Paris.

At the General Court-Martial of the line whereof Col. Russell is President, William Rhodes of the 4th Maryland regiment, on the 9th instant, was tried for “Attempting to desert to the enemy”—Also James McCredy of the 1st Pennsylvania regiment for “Deserting to the enemy”—and Mobrey Owens of the 2nd New-York regiment for “Desertion and taking up Arms against the United-States of America”—Rhodes and McCredy found guilty and sentenced each to receive one hundred lashes on his bare back. The Court are of opinion that Owens is intitled to the benefit of His Excellency’s proclamation.1

The sentences against Rhodes and McCredy to be put in execution tomorrow at the head of the regiments to which they respectively belong and the General directs that Owens be released from confinement.

At the Brigade General Court Martial held at the Park the 11th instant, Lieutenant Colonel Stephens President, Mr John Price, Assistant Commissary of Forage was tried for “Taking a Continental horse for his own private property and purchasing another in his place of a mean quality”—likewise for “Being given to drunkenness when he ought to be at public business and taking stores belonging to the Continent that he had no right to”—acquitted of the 2nd & 3rd charge but found guilty of defrauding the public in the sale of the continental horse, being a breach of the 1st Article of the 12th Section of the Articles of War & sentenced to forfeit all his pay now due him, be dismissed the service and rendered unfit to serve the United States in any public station.2

At another brigade General Court-Martial the 16th instant, Lieutenant Colonel Carrington President, Captain Lieutt Godman of the Artillery was tried for “Willfully misapplying and embezzling a temt the property of The United States.”

The Court are of opinion that Captain Lieutenant Godman is guilty of a breach of the 1st Article of the 12th Section of the Articles of War which expressly directs, “That any officer offending in the premisses, make the damage good, lose the pay due to him and be dismissed the service.”

The Court are further of opinion that the article should in this case operate in its’ full force.

The Commander in chief confirms the sentences & orders them to take place immediately.

Edward Merriken of the 4th Maryland regiment was tried the 15th instant at a brigade General Court Martial whereof Colonel Hall was President for “Desertion”.

The Court are of opinion that he make up the lost time by serving the term of three years to commence the 11th of August 1779—the time he joined his regiment; and also are of opinion that any expence that has occured in apprehending him should be stopped from his pay or bounty (if any shall be due) by the Pay-Master of the regiment to which he belongs.3

The General confirms the opinion of the Court and orders Merriken to join his regiment.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

A letter of this date from Adjutant Gen. Alexander Scammell to Peter Scull, secretary of the Board of War, addressed from headquarters at West Point, N.Y., reads in part: “In answer to your letter of the 10th instant, I am to inform you that the Commander in Chief has directed me to keep Officers at the several Hospitals where the sick of the Army are, to keep the soldiers in proper subjection, send the recovered men off under proper officers to their respective Regiments, and send monthly lists of the sick to the Oderly Office. The reasons inducing such a regulation are, that the the soldiery when sent to the Hospitals will not pay proper attention to the orders of the Surgeons, and that previous to this regulation the men when discharged were sent without proper officers to the Army, by which means they frequently straggled into the Country and deserted” (Pa. Archives, description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends 1st ser, 7:649).

1See Proclamation to Deserters, 22 April.

William Roads enlisted as a private in the 4th Maryland Regiment in February 1778 and the same month became a corporal in the regiment. He served until May 1780, when he again deserted.

James McCready (McCreedy) enlisted in the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment in January 1777 and served in the regiment until January 1781.

Mauberry (Maberry, Mowbray) Owens (born c.1753), of Warrick, Orange County, N.Y., had enlisted as a private in Captain Hamtramck’s company of the 2d New York Regiment and also served in the light infantry company of the regiment.

2For the after orders convening this court-martial, specifically to try Price, see General Orders, 4 Aug., n.1.

The first article of the twelfth section of the articles of war reads: “Whatsoever commissioned officer, store-keeper, or commissary, shall be convicted at a general court-martial of having sold (without a proper order for that purpose) embezzled, misapplied, or wilfully, or through neglect, suffered any of the provisions, forage, arms, clothing, ammunition, or other military stores belonging to the United States, to be spoiled or damaged, the said officer, store-keeper, or commissary so offending, shall, at his own charge, make good the loss or damage, shall moreover forfeit all his pay, and be dismissed from the service” (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 5:796).

3Edward Merican joined the 4th Maryland Regiment in August 1779 as a private and served until December 1779, when he again deserted.

Index Entries