George Washington Papers

General Orders, 31 December 1780

General Orders

[New Windsor] Sunday December 31st 1780

Parole Countersigns [ ]

The new arrangement of the Army pursuant to the Resolves of Congress of the 3d and 21st of October and published in General Orders of the 1st of November following is to take place tomorrow.

The General orders a jill of Rum to be delivered to each of the soldiers who remain in service upon the occasion.

Returns to be made to the Adjutant General immediately of the Ranks which the regiments now bear in their respective lines—The Officers commanding each with the names and dates of Commissions or appointments of them and the other field Officers—Captains—Subs—and Staff. similar returns to be made by the regiments of Artillery.

If from particular circumstances the arrangement of any State line or regiment of artillery is yet incomplete the General desires that not a moment may be lost in finishing it that he may be enabled to make the Returns required by Congress.

The General has little doubt that in the formation of the new regiments of Infantry proper care has been taken to bring those of each line as near as possible to a level—If this has not been attended to He now directs it.

He persuades himself that it is totally unnecessary to signify that no retiring officer is at liberty to take with him his waiter being a soldier or inlisted at the public expence—but lest through inadvertency such a thing should be attempted it is hereby strictly forbidden.

The General expects that the order of the 16th of November last respecting the Arms Accoutrements &ca that were in the hands of the Levies and other disbanded soldiers has been pointedly attended to should it prove otherwise the officers who commanded the former corps though they now retire will not be exonerated but remain equally liable and most assuredly will be called upon to settle these accounts.1

A Field Officer from the Pennsylvania Line to relieve Colonel Spencer in the superintendency of the Hospitals in New Jersey He will receive the standing instructions from Colonel Spencer.2

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

GW wrote Maj. Gen. William Heath from New Windsor on this date: “I have not Brigaded the Troops in this day’s orders, because I was uncertain whether the Regiments of Massachusetts bay take their numbers from the Rank & Seniority of the Colonels—or from the former number of the Regiments—please to satisfy me in this point, by giving me the list of the Colonels, & number of the Regiments they respectively command” (ALS, MHi: Heath Papers).

Heath replied to GW from West Point on 1 Jan. 1781 that the question of rank remained “not fully determined” and enclosed a “List of the Names of Officers Commanding the Regiments in the Massachusetts Line” (DLC:GW).

2For Col. Oliver Spencer’s appointment as hospital superintendent, see General Orders, 14 July.

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