George Washington Papers

General Orders, 26 November 1780

General Orders

Head Quarters Totowa sunday November 26th 1780.

Parole [ ]Countersigns [ ]

[Officers] For the day Tomorrow[:] Brigadier General Huntington[,] Colonel Chambers[,] Lieutenant Colonel Newall[,] Major T. Ll: Moore[,] Brigade Major Ashley.

The Army will march tomorrow morning—The General will beat at nine—The Assemblé at half past nine and the march will commence precisely at ten. The Quarter Master General will furnish the route and order of march.1

The Troops are to draw and carry three days bread or flour as there are not Waggons for the purpose.

The light corps is dissolved—The several companies will return to their respective regiments.

The General presents his thanks to the Marquis de la Fayette and to the officers and men under his command for the excellent order and soldierly disposition which have been conspicuous in the corps He regrets that opportunities did not offer to avail himself of that Zeal and Ardor which in this Corps and in the Army at large afforded the Strongest assurance of Success2—Nor can he forbear remarking that this Campaign as well as the former has exhibited proofs of the Patience and patriotism of the Troops in cheerfully supporting those wants and distresses which the peculiar situation of our country has at different times rendered inevitable.

The Light Companies of the New Hampshire, Rhode Island and New York regiments sending off their baggage with that of the Massachusetts and Connecticutt companies will march themselves by a route which will be given them by the Marquis de la Fayette.

The Light companies of the Jersey line will take charge of the boats at Dobb’s and receive orders at Head Quarters.3

Major Parr’s corps of rifle men will move with the Pennsylvania division, but will remain a seperate corps and will be attentive to keeping their Rifles in good order.

After Orders.

The Van Guard will parade on the Left of the 4th Massachusett’s Brigade at nine ô clock tomorrow morning precisely.

The Rear Guard to be formed on the Grand Parade at ten.

Brigadier General Huntington with Lieutenant Colonel Newall to command the former and Colonel Nixon with Lieutenant Colonel Littlefield the latter.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Massachusetts soldier Nathaniel Cowdrey wrote in his diary entry for this date: “orders was Read for marching again tis Sunday today” (Moulton, “Cowdrey,” description begins Mary A. Stimpson Moulton. “Sketch of the Life of My Great-Grandfather, Nathaniel Cowdrey, of Reading, Mass.” The American Monthly Magazine 4 (January–July 1894): 409–16. description ends 416).

1The troops marched for winter quarters (see GW to Samuel Huntington, 28 Nov., and n.12).

Cowdrey wrote in his diary entry for 27 Nov.: “the general Beat at 9 OClock and we marched at 10. we Marchd Back to Peramos [Paramus] that day which was abought 8 mils, and camped in the wood. We had no tents that Night” (Moulton, “Cowdrey,” description begins Mary A. Stimpson Moulton. “Sketch of the Life of My Great-Grandfather, Nathaniel Cowdrey, of Reading, Mass.” The American Monthly Magazine 4 (January–July 1894): 409–16. description ends 416). Another Continental soldier, probably in the 12th Massachusetts Regiment, wrote in his diary entry for the same date: “This day, agreeable to yesterday’s orders, we marched at 10 o’clock & encamped 2 miles E. of Peramust [Paramus] church in woods. Pleasant weather” (Nichols, “Doughboy of 1780,” description begins James R. Nichols, ed. “The Doughboy of 1780: Pages from a Revolutionary Diary.” The Atlantic Monthly: A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics 134 (July–December 1924): 459–63. description ends 461). Capt. Henry Sewall of the 12th Massachusetts Regiment wrote in his diary entry for 27 Nov.: “The army marched at the hour appointed in yesterday’s orders; the four Massachusetts and two Connecticut brigades by the left to Paramus, and the Pennsylvania line by the right to Morristown for winter Quarters. The light corps being dissolved the several companies joined their respective regiments” (Maine Farmer [Augusta], 12 Oct. 1872).

2GW presumably alludes to two offensive operations involving the Light Infantry that were abandoned prior to execution (see Lafayette’s two letters to GW, 27 Oct. [first letter; second letter], and The Aborted Attack on the Northern Approaches to New York City and the Feint on Staten Island, 9–24 Nov., editorial note).

3GW wrote the officer commanding the Light Infantry of the New Jersey brigade from headquarters at Preakness on 27 Nov.: “You are with your party to take charge of the Boats at Doddes [tavern] and proceed with them to Pompton where you will wait ’till your brigade arrives in that neighbourhood and then join it. You will take more particular orders from the Qr Mr General.

“You will detach a party of thirty men, properly officered to Dobbe’s ferry to relieve the party stationed there at the Block House. The officer will conform to the orders which he will find there in possession of the present Commanding Officer” (Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also GW to John Mauritius Goetschius, 7 Oct., n.2).

GW also wrote the officer commanding the New Jersey brigade from headquarters at Preakness on 27 Nov.: “You will take post with and hut your brigade somewhere in the entrance of the Clove as near as possible for convenience of wood & water to the forks of the roads that go one to Ringwood the other to Charlottenburgh—from thence you will detach constantly light flying parties towards Hackensack the liberty Pole &c. to protect the country and suppress a traffic with the enemy as much as possible; but you will not have stationary guards for this purpose—They are exposed and invite the enemy without answering the end so well as parties continually moving from one place to another. I have ordered a party of thirty men from your brigade to take post at Dobbes ferry—You will have them relieved every fortnight” (Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; copy [duplicate], PHi: Wayne Papers; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; the duplicate has a variant first sentence: “You will take post with & hut your Brigade somewhere in The Clove near Pompton, where the road leads off at Post’s Mill to Ringwood.” A note appears at the end of the duplicate: “The within is a copy of Orders, the Original of which miscar[r]ied; The Duplicate was not received till the 9th instant [Dec.]”).

GW’s aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton wrote Q.M. Gen. Timothy Pickering on the same date: “The General desires you will have the boats removed from Doddes to Pompton as speedily as you can & from thence as soon as possible to Kings ferry—The Officer of the Jersey light infantry will take your orders. He will remain in the neighbourhood of Pompton till the Jersey Brigade arrives” (DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 26400). Maj. Gen. William Heath later wrote in his memoirs for 30 Nov.: “The New Jersey brigade left West Point, proceeding down on the west side of the Hudson, on their way to Pompton, where they took winter-quarters. In the afternoon, the four Massachusetts brigades arrived at West Point, and the two Connecticut brigades on the east side of the river, where the whole took winter-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 , 279).

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