George Washington Papers

General Orders, 17 September 1780

General Orders

Head Quarters Steenrapia Sunday Septemr 17. 1780

Parole Cumberland. Countersigns A: Y.
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[Officers] For the day Tomorrow[:] Brigadier General Parsons[,] Colonel Bayley[,] Lieutenant Colonel Fernald[,] Major Hamilton[,] Brigade Major Smith

For Detachment[:] Lieutenant Colonel Cobb

At the General Court martial whereof Colonel Wyllys is President—Colonel Hazen was tried on the following Charges vizt:

“Disobedience of orders and unmilitary conduct on the march from Tapan to the Liberty pole in halting the brigade under his Command without any orders therefore from the General commanding the division and thereby occasioning a vacancy of near half a mile in the Centre of the Left Column: And for unofficer and ung[ent]lemanlike behavior in falsely asserting he had received such orders from General Stark.”

The Court are of opinion that on the March from Tapan to the Liberty pole Colonel Hazen halted the Brigade under his Command and occasioned a Vacancy in the Centre of the Left Column; but as it appears to them that he had orders from the General commanding the division, to halt, they do therefore honorably acquit him of disobedience of orders: and unmilitary conduct in the instance contained in this Charge; The Court do also honorably acquit Colonel Hazen of unofficer and ungentlemanlike behavior in asserting that “he had orders from General Stark to halt” which this Charge says he had not. The Commander in Chief approves the sentence. But as it appears to have been a matter of question, whether a brigadier or officer commanding a brigade in a line of march has a discretionary power to order halts? the General thinks it necessary to declare that it is highly improper for him so to do but in cases of extreme necessity when the halt or the cause of it should be immediately reported to the officer commanding the division who is at the same moment to inform the General or commanding officer of the Column that he may take measures accordingly to prevent a seperation of the column and the bad consequences which may result therefrom. It is nevertheless the duty of a brigadier or officer commanding a brigade if he finds his men fatigued: suffering for want of water or in need of a halt from any other good reason, to make immediate representation thereof to the officer under whose command he immediately is, that the knowledge of it may be communicated to the officer commanding the column.

Colonel Hazen is released from his arrest.

The General Court martial whereof Colonel Wyllys is president is dissolved.1

Major General Greene’s orders.

His Excellency the Commander in Chief going to be absent from the Army a few days, the knowledge of which possibly may reach the enemy and encourage them to make some movement in consequence thereof; The General desires the officers of all ranks to be in perfect readiness to meet them on the shortest notice and recommends to the outguards to be very Vigilant and attentive and the Patrols active and watchful.2

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Lt. Col. Henry Dearborn had written in his journal entry for 23 Aug.: “Colo. Hazen was arrested to day by Barren Stuben for halting his Brigade without leave” (Brown and Peckham, Dearborn Journals description begins Lloyd A. Brown and Howard H. Peckham, eds. Revolutionary War Journals of Henry Dearborn, 1775–1783. 1939. Reprint. New York, 1971. description ends , 201; see also General Orders, 22 Aug.). The general orders for 27 Aug. established the court-martial that tried Col. Moses Hazen. Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene apparently furnished evidence that led to Hazen’s acquittal (see Hazen to Greene, 11 Sept., in Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 6:277–78; see also Hazen to Timothy Bedel, 15 Oct., in Hammond, Rolls description begins Isaac W. Hammond, ed. Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, 1775, to May 1777. . . [vol. 1]; Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, May, 1777, to 1780 . . . [vol. 2]; Rolls and Documents relating to Soldiers in the Revolutionary War . . . [vols. 3-4]. New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers, vols. 14–17. Concord and Manchester, N.H., 1885–89. description ends , 4:380–81).

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