George Washington Papers

General Orders, 30 October 1780

General Orders

Head Quarters Totowa Monday October 30th 1780

Parole Norwalk Countersigns N; E
Watchword Now.

[Officers] For the day Tomorrow[:] Brigadier General Patterson[,] Colonel Marshal[,] Lieutenant Colonel Sumner[,] Major Prior[,] Brigade Major Moore

At a General court marshal Philadelphia September 27th 1780—Colonel Francis Johnston President, Doctor James B. Sharpe was tried for “Disobedience of orders” found guilty, being a breach of Section 2d Article 5th of the Articles of war and sentenced to be reprimanded in general orders;1 but the court considering the peculiar situation in which the Director General placed Doctor Sharpe by having ordered him not to receive sick into the Hospital without the order was previously countersign’d by him or a senior surgeon which order the Court are of opinion is not warrantable, do therefore recommend it to the Commander in Chief to remit the sentence.

The General is sorry to disagree in opinion with the Court as the order given by the Director General appears to him founded in Expedience and the common practice of Service as well as consonant to the spirit of a general order of the 21st of January 1778.

Doctor Sharpe is releas’d from Arrest.2

At a General court martial of the Line whereof Colol Bailey is President3 the 16th instant Colonel Thomas Procter of the Artillery was tried upon the following charges.

1st Mustering men in his regiment as soldiers that were not actually doing the duty of Soldiers and returning them on command when they were doing the duty of Servants in his and other families in the city of Philadelphia.

2dly Discharging Soldiers of his regiment for Sums of money.

3dly Fraud in the settlement of his recruiting accompts.

4thly Signing a false Certificate to a Return for Quarter master’s Stores.

5thly Discharging a number of able bodied men from his regiment to the great prejudice of the service.

The Court are of opinion that Colonel Procter is not Guilty of either of the Charges exhibited against him and do acquit him with Honor.

The General entirely approves the determination of the Court: He cannot help remarking that the prosecution on the part of Captain Porter was vexatious groundless and illeberal;4 it is with pain too he has seen several instances for some time past where personal pique has given birth to prosecutions as unjust as they were indelicate and improper.

Colonel Procter is released from his Arrest.

Duplicate Returns of the names of all the officers in the Infantry Artillery and Cavalry to be made out regimentally and signed by the commandants of regiments and Corps specifying their ranks and dates of Commissions; Those of the Artillery Cavalry Additional regiments and Corps are to designate the states to which their officers respectively belong.

Those officers on the Staff are also to be noted in a seperate Column according to their several staff appointments, agreeable to the Form herewith given.

These returns to be transmitted without delay to the Orderly Office.5

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1The fifth article of the second section of the articles of war reads: “Any officer or soldier who shall strike his superior officer, or draw, or shall lift up any weapon, or offer any violence against him, being in the execution of his office, on any pretence whatsoever, or shall disobey any lawful command of his superior officer, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as shall, according to the nature of his offence, be inflicted upon him by the sentence of a court-martial” (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 , 5:790).

2For background on this court-martial, see Lewis Nicola to GW, 31 Oct., and n.6. The general orders for 21 Jan. 1778 had warned against overcrowding hospitals or sending the sick to facilities lacking adequate provisions. The controversial William Shippen, Jr., was the director general of Continental army hospitals (see General Orders, 13 March 1780, and n.1 to that document, and GW’s third letter to Samuel Huntington, 15 July 1780).

James Boyd Sharpe (died c.1801) became surgeon’s mate in the 2d Georgia Regiment in February 1777. He rose to surgeon in December 1782. Sharpe practiced medicine in Waynesboro, Ga., at the time of his death. The Georgia Gazette (Savannah) for 30 April 1801 advertised an auction for his “Personal Estate.”

3For the establishment of this court-martial, see General Orders, 14 Oct.; see also General Orders, 27 October.

4Capt. Andrew Porter brought his case against Col. Thomas Proctor after having been acquitted of making false and malicious misrepresentations against Proctor (see General Orders, 11 Oct.).

5GW ordered these returns in response to congressional legislation reforming the Continental army (see Huntington to GW, 26 Oct., n.1).

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