George Washington Papers

General Orders, 5 October 1779

General Orders

Head-Quarters Moore’s House [West Point]
Tuesday Octr 5th 1779.

Parole Louis XVI. C. Signs Gerard. D’Estaing—

The Commander in Chief requests that the commanding officers of corps will immediately call upon their respective officers who are absent from camp and not employed on special commands or who have not obtained recent furloughs in the most pointed and peremptory terms to join their Corps without a moments delay: A period may arrive in this campaign, and perhaps it is very near at hand, when the absence of an officer, unless there are powerful reasons for it, may fix an indelible stigma upon him—This consideration, if motives of public duty are not sufficient of themselves ought to bring every one under the above description to their respective commands.

The General Court Martial whereof Colonel Bradford is President is dissolved and another ordered to sit tomorrow morning nine ôclock at the usual place whereof Coll Starr is appointed President, for the trial of such persons as shall come before them.1

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

GW was preparing for military operations with the French fleet; see Planning for an Allied Attack on New York, c.3–7 October. On this date, GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison wrote to Q.M. Gen. Nathanael Greene: “Some of the Officers going to Egg Harbour are now ready—and the whole we expect will be so immediately. Their dispatches are all but finished. Will you be so obliging as to inform me whether the Horses for ’em are ready and where they are. If they are not, you will be pleased to send to New Windsor and have them provided immediately, from which place the Officers, in such case, may set out.” Harrison added the following postscript: “Be pleased to send the Express who is to go with the Duplicate dispatch to Genl Sullivan” (PPAmP). For the probable dispatch to Maj. Gen. John Sullivan, see GW to Sullivan, this date.

On this date, GW wrote to Maj. Gen. William Heath: “General Washington presents his Compliments to General Heath and requests the favr of his Company at dinner to day. Monsr Gerrard will be of the Company” (L, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, MHi: Heath Papers). In the entry for 5 Oct., in his memoirs, Heath recorded that “The Sieur Gerard, the late French Minister, came to camp, and dined at head-quarters” (Wilson, Heath’s Memoirs, description begins Rufus Rockwell Wilson, ed. Heath’s Memoirs of the American War. 1798. Reprint. New York, 1904. description ends 231). During his visit to headquarters, Conrad-Alexandre Gérard and GW discussed the prospective military operations against New York with the fleet of French vice admiral d’Estaing (see GW to d’Estaing, 7 Oct.). They also toured the fortifications of West Point (see GW to the Continental Congress Marine Committee, 6 Oct., n.5). For the strategic significance of GW’s conference with Gérard during this visit, see Planning for an Allied Attack on New York, c.3–7 October.

1The 6th Maryland Regiment’s orderly book entry for this date includes the following additional general orders at this place in the text: “The Maryland Pennsa and Connecticut lines and the Garrison each furnish a Lieut. Colo. or Major and 2 Captains as Members for the Court” (DLC: Peter Force Collection).

Index Entries