George Washington Papers

General Orders, 21 September 1780

General Orders

Head Quarters Orangetown Thursday September 21st 80

Parole Lancaster Countersigns P, M.
Watchword Take care

[Officers] For the Day Tomorrow[:] Brigadier General Wayne[,] Colonel Nixon[,] Lieutenant Colonel Cochran[,] Major Alexander[,] Brigade Major Darby

For detachment[:] Major Cogswell

The burning of fences and breaking up inclosures is so distressing to the inhabitants, as well as disgraceful to an Army that has the least pretension to discipline and order that the General earnestly exhorts the officers of all ranks but more particularly the commanding officers of regiments to take all possible care to prevent it and for this purpose the Camp and quarter guards are to confine every person detected in either removing or burning fencing stuff; and as it frequently happens that there are numbers of soldiers standing round a fire made of fencing though none will acknowledge or inform who made it such therefore as are standing by it shall be considered as the Authors unless they point out the Persons and shall be confined and punished accordingly.

As it is much better to prevent crimes than punish them the General desires the commanding officers of regiments to fix upon proper places for Kitchens that the cooking of the regiments may be done together as much as possible and that the police officers may visit them during the cooking hours as well to see that the cooking is properly performed as that the fires are not made with fencing stuff.

At the General Court martial whereof Colonel Jackson is president the 16th Instant—Major Murnan of the corps of Engineers was tried for “Unofficer and ungentlemanlike behavior in taking possession of the quarters of the Reverend David Jones in his Absence and for similar behavior to him in his quarters.[”]

The Court are of opinion that Major Murnan having a right to take possession of the quarters which Mr Jones calls his is not Guilty of unofficer and ungentlemanlike conduct in taking possession of them the Court do acquit Major Murnan of the last part of the charge against him.

Major General Greene confirms the opinion of the court.

Major Murnan is released from Arrest.1

Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene issued the general orders for this date (see The Hartford Conference, 20–22 Sept., editorial note).

1For the establishment of this court-martial, see General Orders, 12 Sept., and n.3 to that document.

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