Orderly Book of the
Second Pennsylvania Continental Line
at Valley Forge

March 29 - May 27, 1778

The Pennsylvania Magazine
of History and Biography

Colonel Henry Bicker

March 21 - April 9
April 10 - April 20
* April 21 - May 6 *
May 7 - May 18
May 19 - May 27

Head Quarters Valley Forge, April 21st, 1778.

Regimental Orders
Clothes Survey:

A return to be made immediately by commanding officers of companies specifying what clothes they have delivered to their men since the first of January last, and what articles yet remain on hand.


Brigr tomorrow Wayne
Field Offr Lt. Col. Harney, Lt. Col Bufford
Brigr Majr Baily
Inspector Patterson

No Paymasters are to be discharged by the Commr-in-Chief or Officer Com'dg a separate department, and none of them are to apply for discharges without first obtaining and producing from the Paymasr Genl Auditors of accts & officers com'g the Regts they belongd to and to have ample Certificates, of their having settled their accs promptly with the public & their Regts; this is to be considered as a standing Order.

Regimental and Brigade Reviews:
The Col. and commg officers of Regts are to make an invariable rule to review their respective Regts once in every week, look into the state of them and where ever man is. The Brigr and officers commg Brigades are to do the same by their respective Brigade at least once a fortnight, in a word tis expected from both that every possible care & attention be paid to keep their men together & the arms, clothes & accouterments belonging to them in good order; these are also to be considered as standing orders, but not to supercede the daily inspection of subordinate officers agreeable to former orders.

Illegal Supplies Court Martial:
At Brigade Court Martial whereof Majr Haws was pres'dt, Apr 19th 78, Lts John Coffer & Chas. Lewis Broadwater, of the 10th Virg. Regt, tried for obtaining a certificate unlike Gentn without Right or Justice went to the Virga State Stores & procured a Quantity of goods designed only for such off's & soldiers from that State as remained in the service. After mature deliberation from the evidence produc'd the Court is of the opinion that Lr Coffer & Broadway are guilty of a breach of 21st Art 24th Section, Arts of War & sentenc'd to be discharg'd the service, and compelled to deliver the Clothing into the store which they drew since they obtained a certificate of their not being in debt to the public, and that their resignation be taken from them by the commr officer of their Regt: the Commr-in-Chief approves the sentence and orders it immediately to take place.

Court Martial Members:
A Genl Brigd Court Martial to sit next Thursday nine o'clock whereof Lt Col Miller is appointed Pres; he will appoint the place of sitting: a Captn & two Subs from each Regt form the Court. Lieut Syms de Hart is appointed paymaster of the first New Jersey Regt vice Aaron Ogden resigned.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, April 22nd, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Varnum
Field Officers Lt. Col. Coleman, Major --
Brigade Major Haskill
Inspector from Genl Weeden's Brigade. .

Forage Rules:
The Forage Master Genl is without delay to appropriate a sufficient number of wheatfields in the vicinity of Camp to serve as forage ground, to allot to each Brigade an extent proportioned to its strength, which to be clearly marked out, and to make report of the whole to Head Quarters and to the Quarter Master Genl as well as a particular return to the Brigade Forage Master for the proportion assigned to his Brigade. The commdg officers of Regts are to give strict orders to prevent mutual Encroachments by exceeding the limits assigned to it.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, April 23rd, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Poor
Field Officers Lt. Col. Basset, Major Hawes
Brigade Major Silley
Inspector from Genl Muhlenberg's Brigade. .

Forged Act of Congress:

A most-scandalous performance has made its appearance in the Philada Evening Post of the 3rd of this month; bearing all ye marks of a genuine Act of Congress, setting forth that these brave men who have enlisted or have been drafted to serve in the Continental Army for any limited time are never-the-less to be detained during the war between the United States and Great Britain, the Commander-in-Chief assures the Army that this publication is as false as it is wicked; and is intended to induce those who have already enlisted or have been drafted to desert or to intimidate others, from engaging into the service of their Country. Our enemy's finding themselves unable to reduce us by the force of their arms, are now practicing every insidious act to gain time, and disunite us, but the Genl hopes that men who have struggled through every difficulty and encountered every danger, are not to be conquered by artifices which are so easy exposed. It is necessary to give warning to such weak men, as might otherwise be Deterred by the treacherous promises of the enemy that under pretense of sending deserters from this army, passage free to Great Britain, or Ireland to be set at large they confine them on shipboard with a view either to force them into their service as seeming; or to transport them into some Garrison.

Medicine Chests:
The Medicine Chests from poor's and Glover's Brigades to be sent to Mr Cutting Apothecary Genl at the Yellow Springs to be refilled, from the first and second Pensa Brigade next Saturday.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, April 24th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Muhlenberg
Field Officers Lt. Col. Rignear, Major Peters
Brigade Major Walker
Inspector from Genl Maxwell's Brigade. .

Regimental Orders, April 24th 1778.

Frederick Long soldier in Capt Staddle's company is appointed Corporal & is to be respected and obeyed as such. Joseph Fitch of Capt Jenkins is also appointed Corporal and is to be obeyed as such.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, April 25th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Patterson
Field Officers Lt. Col. Oleny, Major Minges
Brigade Major .
Inspector from Genl Conway's Brigade. .

Court Martial:
The Court Martial whereof Col Craig was President of is dissolved & another ordered to sit in a Hut near Genl Varnum's Brigade next Monday 10 o'clock a.m. for the trial of all prisoners brol before them. Col. Febiger is appointed Presdt, each Brigr gives a Captt to this Court. Lt. Col. Gibson of the 13th, is appointed to the command of the 6th Virga Regt.

Apply to Auditor's Office:
Edwd Harris, in one of the Virga Regts, by applying at the Auditor's office may hear of something to his advantage. If he is absent, his officers are desired to send information to said office where he is.

Brigade Orders
A Captn from the 2nd Regt to attend the Court Martial as a member on Monday 10 o'clock a.m. at the place mentioned in Genl Orders.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, April 26th, 1778.
Brigadier for tomorrow Maxwell
Field Officers Lt. Col. Broadhead, Lt. Col. Brayley
Brigade Major Mervin
Inspector from Genl Huntingdon's Brigade. .

The Commdr-in-Chief has been informed that it is a common practice for soldiers to go about the country and make use of his name to extort from the inhabitants by way of sale or gift any necessaries they want for themselves or others. He strictly enjoins it upon all officers to take the most effectual measures to stop a practice so daring and infamous, and assures all concerned that if any person shall be detected in the commission of it, they will be punished with every mark of disgrace and severity.

Brigade Major Replacement:
Martial Adjut. of the 2nd Regt is appointed to do the duty of Brigade Major until further orders, and to be respected accordingly.

Washington Calls Meeting:
The commdg officers of Regts are desired to wait on the Commdr-in-Chief at Head Quarters precisely at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, April 27th, 1778.

Regimental Orders
Robt McCaleb Corpl in Capt Stoddles company appointed Sergt in said company and is to be respected and obeyed as such.

Brigadier for tomorrow Wayne
Field Officers Lt. Col. Vose, Major Hay
Brigade Major Johnston
Inspector from Genl Varnum's Brigade. .

Lieut. Col. Flury is to act as sub-Inspector and will attend the Baron Steuben till circumstances will admit of assigning him a Division of the Army. Each sub-Inspector is to be attended daily by a Orderly Sergt drawn by turns from the Brigade of his Inspection, that the necessary orders may be communicated without delay.

A few Continental Tickets to be sold at the Orderly Office, the Drawing of the Lottery the first of next month.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, April 28th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Varnum
Field Officers Lt. Col. Haskill, Major Folbert
Brigade Major Minnes
Inspector from Genl Woodford's Brigade. .

Medicine Chests:
The Medicine Chests from Scotts' and Woodford's Brigades to be sent to the Yellow Springs tomorrow, to be refilled by the Apothecary Genl Mr Cutting.

Court Martial Sentences:
The sentences against David Rush and Thos Fitzgerald mentioned in the orders of the 18th inst are communicated into one months constant Fatigue each.

Regimental Preparation:
The commdg officers of Regts are desired to keep their men from straggling that they may be ready to turn out on the shortest notice. It is expected that the several Brigades will be completed with 40 rounds pr man. The Brigade Quarter Masters will make out returns immediately for that purpose, they must be signed by the commdg officers of Brigades.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, April 29th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Poor
Field Officers Col. Clark, Major Gaskin
Brigade Major Clayburn
Inspector from the first Pennsa Brigade. .

Major Lydard is removed from the 4th New York Regt to the first.

Be Ready for Parade:
Each officer who mounts guard in future will bring his name, Regt and Brigade written on a piece of paper which he is to deliver to the Brigade Major of the Day, when he is appointing the officers to the several Guards. A strict compliance to this order is expected, as it will shorten the duty of the parade.

Those Regts who are in want of shoes may be supplied by applying to the Clothiers Genl's store.

Local Destruction:
Complaint having been made by Mr. Dewees, proprietor of the Valley Forge, that the soldier's pull down the houses and break up the fore bay: of which is called the Valley Forge, the Commander-in-Chief strictly forbids all persons from further damages to the said buildings, and works, which he hopes will be particularly attended to especially when they consider the great loss that Mr. Dewees has already suffered, and by the great waste which our Army has been under the necessity of committing upon the wood and other improvements.

Supplies for the Sick:
As some inconvenience has attended the Genl Order of the 17th inst. by confining the purchase of milk and other necessaries for the use of the sick to the Regts by the Regimental Quartermasters [x] of that mode discrete Sergts and a few men according to the number of sick in the Regt are to be sent out daily to purchase such articles with passes from the officers commdg Brigades respectively.

Muster Rolls:
The Col. Comndt orders the commd'g officers of companies in the different Regts in this Brigade to have their Muster Rolls ready to be Mustered the 1st Day of May.


Lost the 25th inst between the sign of the Hat & the White Horse, on Lancaster road, a black Leather pocket Book, brass hasp, containing a number of valuable papers a diamond ring and about 100 Dollars in Cash, part of which and several small bills of different States. 30 Dollars Reward to any one person who will leave the same at the Orderly Office.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, April 30th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow McIntosh
Field Officers Col. Harmar, Major Buchard
Brigade Major McCormick
Inspector from the 2nd Pennsa. Brigade. .

Found near Genl'l Woodford's Brigade, a small seal set in pinchback, one side plain the other a head & two faces, the seal is with the commdg Officers of the Brigade.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 1st, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Muhlenberg
Field Officers Col. Courtland, Lt. Col. Innes
Brigade Major Ogden
Inspector from Genl Poor's Brigade. .

The Brigade Quartermasters are daily to attend at the Orderly officer precisely at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. It is expected this order will be strictly complied with as the delinquents may depend on being severely noticed by the Quartermaster Genl.

Muster Rolls and Attendance:
As the Adjut Genl is now furnished with the names of all the men in the Hospitals and the Regts they belong to, also of those who have died, deserted and discharged from them at Different times, officers commanding. Regts and companies are therefore desired immediately to apply to him and get an exact account of their men respectively before they attest their Muster Rolls for the last month and every month hereafter, as such returns are to be made regular, for the future to prevent the uncertainly hitherto experienced. The Muster Master and his Deputies are also ordered to be more careful hereafter and not to certify any Muster Rolls, unless the duty of every man is on and the Hospital he is in be mentioned in the Muster Roll.

On the day of Muster, the men are to be brought on the parade dressed in their regimentals, with their arms and accouterments. They are to be drawn up in the order they stand on the Roll, with their arms shouldered and Bayonets fixed. The officers take post in front of their respective companies, and to continue there during the time of muster. The field and staff officers are to attend, and no officer or solder to be absent unless on duty or prevented by sickness. The rolls must be made out with all possible fairness, and agreeable to the directions given by the officers of Muster.

A certain number of Pickets will be fixed up in front of the lines by direction of the Inspector Genl. A sufficient number of sentinels from each Brigade are to be posted with strict orders to prevent their being removed.

Court Martial:
A Genl Court Martial of which Major Tyler is appointed president is ordered to sit tomorrow am. m. 10 o'clock at the Gulf Mills, to try such persons as they may be brought before them. Six Captains and eight Subalterns will attend as members.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 2nd, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Patterson
Field Officers Lt. Col. Brant, Major Johnston
Brigade Major McKenney
Inspector from Genl Glover's Brigade. .

Sunday Services:
The Commander-in-Chief directs that Divine services be performed every Sunday at 11 o'clock in those Brigades in which there are Chaplains. Those that have none, to attend the places nearest them. It is expected that officers of all ranks, by their attendance, will set an example to their men. While we are zealously performing the duty of good Christians and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of Religion, and to the distinguished character of Patriot. It should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian. The signal instances of providential Goodness which we have experienced, and have now almost crown'd our labour with complete success, demands from us in a peculiar manner the warmest returns of Gratitude and Piety to the Supreme Author of all Goodness.

Regimental Orders
Supply Details:

The Adjutants to make return every morning at 9 o'clock, to the Brigade Inspector of their respective Regts as follows.

Every day, the Adjutant of the Day is to order two officers, 4 non-commisd officers, and a drummer, to preserve the police in the Camp of the Regt. These officers and non-commisd officers are to be the whole day in the camp of the Regt and they are to be at all distribution of provisions etc --

which are made then. They are to conduct the soldiers when they go for water, wood, straw etc, in the following order, in the morning the officer of police orders the drummer to beat their double strokes, which is the signal to go for water. Then they assemble the solders with their canteens on the center of their Regimental parades. The officers form them up in rank and platoon, a non-Commsd officer as bringer up, conducts them to water, and brings them back in the same manner, which is to be done three or four times a day as occasion may require. The same order to be observed when the soldiers go for wood. The signal will be 4 strokes on the drum, then the soldiers assemble with their axes. Likewise, the same order is to be observed when they go for straw, or other necessaries.

Division Orders
Tomorrow's Parade:

The Division is to parade tomorrow at 10 o'clock in the neatest and most soldierly order possible, with wooden snappers fixed in each firelock, which are to be taken out and the flints replaced as soon as the maneuvering is over.

The officers will appear at the head of their respective Regts and make it a point of seeing that the whole of their men parade. The Gend is confident that each officer has an equal wish with himself to excel not only in the field, but the parade. He therefore thinks any repetition of orders, with regard to their attention to maneuvering their men, to be unnecessary. But as he finds that too many men are absent at the hours of exercise, the following orders must be fixed on the doors of each hut, to the end that no person may plead ignorance of them.

Viz: no soldier in future is to be absent on the hours allotted for exercise, either for water, provisions, or any other pretext, whatsoever, except on duty on pain of being severely punished. The officers and Brigade Inspectors will be careful to see this order duly executed.

Rum Rations:
The Commissary is immediately to issue one gill of rum to each man in the Division, for which the Commdg officers of the respective Regts will sign returns. The liquors lately seized will be appropriated for this and like occasions.

No Fatigue Sunday:
No Fatigue to turn out on Sunday, nor the Guards to be relieved, except the Main Guard, until after exercising.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 3rd, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Maxwell
Field Officers Col. Westfair, Major Thier
Brigade Major Bannister
Inspector from Genl Larnard's Brigade. .
For Detachment Col. Hall, Major Sumner

Guard Duty Limitations:
In future no guard in Camp is to be suffered to be on duty more than 48 hours without being relieved.

Brigade Exercise:
On Monday next the several Brigades will begin their exercise at 6 o'clock and continue to 8 o'clock in the morning, from 5 to 6 in the afternoon; the men for Guard not to attend the exercise.

Medicine Chests:
The Medicine Chests from Lord Stirling's Division to be sent to the Yellow Spring's immediately, to be filled by the Apothecary Gen.

Paymasters Pick Up Pay:
The paymasters of the Marquisses and Genl Wayne's Division are to call on the Pay-master Genl for a months pay next Monday.

Inspectors Orders

The Drums in Camp are only to beat the long Rolls, Fantoons and beat the same time throughout whole line. The Drummers are to be ready a quarter hour before the time, and as soon as these on the Right begin to beat, all the others are to take it up. The Drummers are to exercise at the appointed time, as for instance in the morning from 6 to 7 o'clock. Out of that time no Drummer is to beat, except for the usual beatings.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 4th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Wayne
Field Officers Col. Martin, Major Haget
Brigade Major Haskell
Inspector from Genl Patterson's Brigade. .

The sub and brigade Inspectors are to be pointedly exacting pursuing the Directions of the Inspector Genl, that the strictest uniformity may be observed throughout the whole Army. They are not to practice a single maneuver, nor any method different from it. Any alteration or invitation will again plunge the army into that contrariety and for confusion from which it is endeavoring to emerge. The hours for exercise are also to be exactly attended to by each Brigade, for which purpose, and that no difference may arise on account of watches, proper attention must be paid to the order of the first of April last, for regulating them by that of the Adjut Genls.

The Commdr-in-Chief requests that the Brigadiers and officers commanding Brigades will see that this order is strictly complied with. Hoping we will not slip the Golden Opportunity which now presents itself of Disciplining the Army, and that each Brigade will vie with each other in arising at the highest, and earliest, pitch of Excellence.

Hiding Latrines:
For the sake of decency, his Excellency hopes that the Commdg officers of Regts will order their necessaries to be hid, with boughs or hurdles, the last tho most troublesome at first, will always serve as they can be easily removed.

Stricter attention is required to the Order of ye 15th of March respecting hides.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 5th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Poor
Field Officers Col. Nagle, Major Gilman
Brigade Major Seeley
Inspector from Genl Weedon's Brigade. .

Aaron Ogden Esq. is appointed Brigade Major to Genl Maxwell's Brigade and is to be obeyed and respected accordingly.

Artificer Supervision:
Mr. Davis Bevan is appointed by the Quartermaster Genl to superintend the Artificers and to deliver out planks etc. in future, therefore, when Boards or planks are wanting or Artificers are necessary to do any job in the army. An order signed by a Genl Officer, Officers Commdg Brigades, or Brigade Quartermasters, and directed to Mr. Bevan at Sullivan's Bridge will be duly attended to.

Comb makers:
If there are any Comb makers in the Army, the Brigadiers and Officers Commanding Brigades are desired to make a return of them to the Adjt Genl.

Transportation to Philadelphia:
A Flag goes into Philadelphia next Friday.

Commissary of Prisoners:
The Commisry of Prisoners lives at David Harvards, next door to the Marquis de Lafayette Quarters.

Court Martials:
At a Genl Court Martial whereof Major Tylers was president, Gulf Mill May ye 2nd 1778, Jno Morrel, a soldier in Col. Henry Jackson's Regt tried for Deserting from his post while on sentry, and unanimously found guilty of a brach of Article the first Sec. the 5th and Article 6th Section 13th of the War, and unanimously sentenced to be hung by his neck, until he is Dead.

At a Brigade Court Martial, whereof Col Bicker was president, April the 24th 1778, Thos Hartnet a soldier in the 2nd Penna Regt tried for Desertion to the enemy, found Guilty, and unanimously sentenced to be hung by his neck, until he be Dead.

The Commander-in-Chief approves of the foregoing sentences.

The Genl Court Martial whereof Major Tyler was president is dissolved. The Brigade Genl Court Martial whereof Col Bicker was president is dissolved.

After Orders
Parade in Honor of French Coming in on Our Side:

It having pleased the Almighty Ruler of the Universe propiciously to Defend the Cause of the United American States, and finally by raising up a powerful friend among the princes of the Earth to establish our liberty and Independence upon lasting foundations, it becomes us to set apart a day for Gratefulness & celebrating the important event, to benign Interposition.

The several Brigades are to be assembled for this purpose at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning, when their Chaplains will communicate the intelligence contained in the Postscript of the PENNSA GAZETTE of the 2nd inst and offer up a thanksgiving & deliver a Discourse suitable to the ocasion. At 1/2 after 10 o'clock a Cannon will be fired, which is to be a signal for the Men to be under Arms. The Brigade Inspectors will then inspect their dress and Arms from the Battalions, according to the instructions given them, and announce the Commds Officers of Brigades the Battalions are formed. The Brigadiers and Commandants will then appoint the field officers to commd the Battalions, after which each Battalion will be ordered to Ground their arms.

At 1/2 after 11 o'clock a second Cannon will be fired, a signal for the march, upon which the several Brigades will begin their march, by wheeling to the Right, by plattons, & proceed by the nearest way to the left of their Guard. In the new position, this will be pointed out by the Brigade Inspectors.

A third signal will be given upon which there will be discharged 13 Cannon. When the 13th has fired, a running fire of the Infantry will begin on the Right of Woodford's and continue through the whole front line. It will then be taken up on the left of the 2nd & continue to the Right.

Upon a signal given, the whole Army will Huzza "Long live the King of France." The Artillery then begin again, and fire 13 rounds; this will be succeeded by a 2d discharge of the Musquetry. In running fire, Huzzas and Long live the friend European powers, then the last discharge of 13 pieces of Artillery will be given, followed by a Genl running fire, and Huzzas to the American States.

There will be no exercise in the morning, the Guards of the Day will not be relieved till after the Fuge of Joy, when the Brigade Majors will march them out to the Grand parade. The Adjs then will tell off their Battalions, in eight platoons, & the Command'g officers will reconduct them to their camps marching by the left. Major Genl Lord Stirling will command on the Right, the Marquis de Lafayette on the Left, and Baron De Kalb, the 2nd line. Each Major Genl will conduct the 1st Brigade of his command to its Ground; the other Brigades will be conducted by their Commdg officers in separate columns. The post of each Brigade will be pointed out by the Baron Steuben's aides. Major Walker will attend Lord Stirling. Major De Pon Zonzo [Du Ponceau], the Marquis de Lafayette; and Captain Linfaieth, the Baron De Kalb. The line is to be formed well with the interval of a foot between the files.

Each man is to have a gill of Rum; the Quartermasters of the several Brigades are to apply to the Adjut Genl for an order on the Commissary of Military Stores for the number of Blank Cartridges that may be wanted.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 6th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow McIntosh
Field Officers Lt. Col. Maybayler, Major Elison
Brigade Major Marshall
Inspector from Genl Weeden's Brigade. .

Bicker, Henry. "Orderly Book of the Second Pennsylvania Continental Line. Col. Henry Bicker at Valley Forge, March 29--May 27, 1778." Edited by John W. Jordan. Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 35 (1911), pp. 333-342, 463-396; 36 (1912), pp. 30-59, 236-253, 329-345.

Orderly Book
March 21 - April 9
April 10 - April 20
* April 21 - May 6 *
May 7 - May 18
May 19 - May 27
Henry Bicker's Ancestors
Grandson Henry Bicker Gibson

Letter from George Washington
Hartley's Brigade Marker
Historic Valley Forge
Valley Forge Historical Park
Valley Forge National Park Service
Doctor's Diary
Journal of a Valley Forge Soldier
American Revolution
History and Buttons of the 4th Pennsylvania

U.S. Military History
CV-45 USS Valley Forge

emptyfamily tree

site map
Site Map

IME logo Copyright © 2003, Mary S. Van Deusen