George Washington Papers

General Orders, 11 December 1780

General Orders

[New Windsor] Monday December 11. 1780

A Captain two Subs. three Serjeants three corporals and Fifty oarsmen from the Connecticut Line are to be furnished with Boats and reinforce the water Guard—This detachment to be from the Light Infantry companies—The Captain will apply without delay to Head Quarters for Instructions.1

The General having observed several boats adrift in the river and apprehending many may be lost, directs the Quarter master General to consult with Major General Heath and settle the number necessary for the use of the Garrison of West point; and that the remainder be removed and properly laid up at Murderers Creek; those that are scattered on the river are to be collected and secured in the same manner.2

A return of blankets hats shirts coats waistcoats breeches or overalls stockings and shoes Good Bad and Wanting in the regiments of Infantry Artillery and Sappers and Miners to be made to the Adjutant General on saturday next—none are to be included but men inlisted for the war and those who have three months to serve from this time.

It is expected that the commanding officers of regiments will see that the above Returns are made with accuracy and that any clothing lately received immediately from State agents or clothiers is taken into the account—as all such is as much a continental supply as that drawn from the Clothier General. The commanding officers of lines are desired to direct their state clothiers to make at the same time returns of what they have upon hand.3

At a Division General court martial held in the Connecticutt line by order of Brigadier General Huntington: Lieutenant Colonel Gray president: Lieutenant Wales of the 4th Connecticutt regiment was tried on the following charges.

1st For being Absent from Camp from the 18th of September 1779 ’till the 20th of May ’80 without Liberty.

2d For being Absent from July the 3d ’till the 14th of October following after having obtained Liberty for five days only, promising at the same time upon his Word and Honor to return within the limited time.

The Court considering the difficulty of procuring clothing at that time and also that none was provided by the State together with the evidences and reasons of Lieutenant Wales’s absence, are of opinion that he was not unnecessarily absent and do therefore acquit him of both charges.

The Commander in Chief confirms the opinion of the Court

Lieutenant Wales is released from Arrest.4

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1This detachment participated in a failed effort to capture Gen. Henry Clinton and Lieutenant General Knyphausen (see GW to Roger Welles, 13 Dec., and to David Humphreys, 23 Dec., and the source note to that document; see also Heath to GW, 1 Jan. 1781, DLC:GW).

2Heath wrote Col. James Livingston, who commanded at King’s Ferry, N.Y., from West Point on 13 Dec., and added a postscript: “please enquire of your Boatmen whether there are any public Boats on the shores down the River” (MHi: Heath Papers). Livingston closed his reply to Heath from Verplanck Point, N.Y., on 15 Dec.: “There are several Batteaux arrived at the Ferry upon Carriages, but mostly out of repair & I believe there are None below this Post that are any way fit for Service” (MHi: Heath Papers; see also Heath’s first letter to GW, 18 Dec., and n.1 to that document).

3The activities of state clothiers recently had come to GW’s attention (see Heath to GW, 9 Dec., and GW to Heath, 10 Dec.).

4The service records for Lt. Ebenezer Wales reported him as sick in Connecticut between September 1779 and May 1780 (see DNA: RG 93, Compiled Service Records, Revolutionary War, 4th Connecticut Regiment).

Ebenezer Wales (d. 1793) served as ensign in the 4th Connecticut Regiment from January 1777 until his promotion to lieutenant that July. He transferred to the 1st Connecticut Regiment in January 1781 and remained in the army until the end of the war.

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