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, May 7th, 1778.

Clothing Returns:
The Col. once more Requests the Commanding Officers of Companies to make out an exact return of the Clothing delivered to their men, since the first of January last.

Thomas Gilbey Corpl in Capt. Patterson's company is for his bad conduct reduced to the ranks and is to be treated accordingly.


Brigadier for tomorrow Varnum
Field Officers Col. Bicker, Lt. Col. Sherman
Brigade Major Malvin
Inspector from Genl Scott's Brigade. .

Officers for Detachment:
Brigadier Genl Maxwell; Field Officers Col. Broadhead; Col. Brewer; Lt. Col. Haskill; Lt. Col. Shearman; Major Hopkins; Major Porter; to parade at 4 o'clock this afternoon precisely, for a weeks Commd, two light field pieces are to be attached to this command.

Col. Van Schaick is to relieve the picket at Cuckholdtown until further orders.

William Barber is appointed Aide De Camp to Major Genl. Lord Stirling, vice Major McWilliams resigned, and is to be respected according.

Oath of Allegiance:
The Honorable Congress have been pleased by their Resolution of the 3d February last, to require all officers as well civil as military holding commiss. under them to take and subscribe to the following Oath or affirmation, according to the circumstances of their parties.

I Do acknowledge the United States of America to be free Independent and Sovereign States, and Declare, that the people thereof owe no allegiance or obedience to George the 3d King of Britain, and I Renounce, Refuse, and Abjure, any allegiance or obedience to him and I Do Swear or Affirm that I will to the utmost of my power support, maintain and Defend, the said United States against the said George ye 3rd his Heirs and Successors & his, and their abettors, assistants, and adherents and will serve the said United States in the Office of ... which I now hold, with Fidelity and according to the best of my skill and understanding.

The form of attestation sworn before me at ... this Day ... of ...

In order to accomplish this very interesting & essential work, as early as possible, the following officers are to Administer the Oath, and grant Certificates to the Officers of the Divisions, Brigades or Corps set against their names including the Staff.

Major-Genl. Lord Stirling
to the officers of late Conway's Brigade
Major GenlMarquis de Lafayette
to that of Woodford's and Scott's Brigades
Major Genl Baron de Kalb
to those of Glover's & Learned's Brigades
Genl McIntosh
to those of his own Brigade
Genl Knox
to those of the Artillery and Officers of Military Stores
Genl. Poor
to those of his own Brigade
Brigadier Genl Varnum
to those of his own Brigade and that of Huntingdon's
Brigadier Genl Patterson
to those of his own Brigade
Brigadier Genl Wayne
to those of 1st and 2d Penna. Brigades
Brigadier Genl Muhlenberg
to those of his own and Weeden's Brigades
Brigadier Genl McIntosh
to North Carolina Brigade

Printed copies of the Oath will be lodged in the hands of the Major, and Brigadier Genls to facilitate the business, the Genls administering the Oath are to keep a Duplicate of the same and grant Certificates when it was made. In the beginning of the Oath the Name, Rank and Corps, of the party making said Oath are to be inserted, the Duplicate & Certificate are to be returned to Headquarters by the Genl. Those respecting the Affairs of whole may be made out, with greater ease and accuracy.

Major Genl Greene is to administer the same oath and grant the like Certificates to the officers in his Department, the Commissioners of Provisions both Issuing and Purchasing, and to the Commisary of Forage and his Deputies. Besides which he is to administer to the said Officers the following Oath and to grant Duplicates and Certificates.

I Do swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully truly and impartially execute the Office of ... to which I was appointed and render a true account when thereunto required of all public money by me recd or expended, and of all Stores and other Effects to me entrusted, which belong to the United States. And will in all respects discharge the trust reposed in me with Justice, and Integrity, according to my skill and understanding.

Prisoner Pardon:
The Comml-in-Chief in season of Genl Joy takes occasion to proclaim pardon and releasement to all prisoners now in confinement, whether in the Provost, or any other place. This he is induced to do, that the influence of prosperity may be as extensive as possible, even those that merit punishment rather than favour should be excluded ye benefit of an event so interesting to mankind in that which has lately happened to the affiars of America. He hopes the indulgence will not be abused, but excite gratitude in and produce a change of conduct and an abhorrence of every practice inconsistent with the Duty they owe to their Country.

Praise for Yesterday's Parade:
The Commander-in-Chief takes particular pleasure in acquainting the Army that their conduct yesterday afforded him particular satisfaction. The exactness and order with which their movement was performed, is a pleasing evidence of the progress they are making in the Military improvement, an earnest of the perfection to which they will shortly arrive. With the continuence of that laudible Zeal and emulation which so happily prevails. The Genl at the same time presents his thanks to the Baron Steuben and the Gentlemen acting under him for the indefatigable exertion in the Duties of their Offices, the good effects of which are so already apparent, and for the activity and prosperity in conducting their business of yesterday.

Brigade Orders
Arms and Ammunition:

The Col. Commandant requests the Officers Commanding Regts to pay the strictest attention to the men's Arms and minutely inspect whether they have their full complement of Ammunition. If not, to make a return of the deficiency without delay to the Brigade Quartermaster, who is to draw it immediately and keep a sufficient quantity in his hands in case of any emergency.


Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 8th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Patterson
Field Officers Lt. Col. Sims, Major Palin
Brigade Major Mervin
Inspector from Genl Maxwell's Brigade. .

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 9th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Wayne
Field Officers Col. Silley, Lt. Col. Gray
Brigade Major Jackson
Inspector from Genl Conway's Brigade. .

The Hour appointed for the late exercise of the Troops having been changed, make it necessary to change the hours for the Drummers to practice which will, for the future, be from five to six in the morning & from four to five in the afternoon. Any Drummer that shall be found practicing any other time than above mentioned, shall be severely punished.

The Adjts of the several Regts are to pay particular attention to this order as they will be answerable for the execution of it. Drums is of no use but for signals to the Army, and if every Drummer is allowed to beat at his pleasure, the intention is entirely destroyed, as it will be impossible to distinguish whether they are beating for their own pleasure or a Signal to the Troops.

Congress has been pleased to appoint Baron Steuben, Inspector General, with the rank of Majr Genl, & the Comml-in-Chief invested with power to appoint the Inspectors & Brigade Inspectors he continues in office them who are nominated & appointed.

Stealing Court Martial:
The languid progress of the essential works of defense which has been placed by the Engineers, gives the Commdr-in-Chief the greatest concern. He calls upon those officers who superintend them to use their utmost exertion to have them completed without the loss of time.

At a Genl Court Martial whereof Col Febiger was president May 5th, 1778, Robt Anderson late Wagon Master in the Marquis's Division tried for selling a Rifle markd U.S. Found Guilty & sentenced to redeem the Rifle & return it to the first Penna Regt to which the person who lately had it in possession belongs. Approved of and ordered to take place.

AWOL Court Martial:
At the same Court Lieut McDonald of the 3rd Penna Regt tried for absenting himself from the Regt without the consent of the Commd Officer of the Regt. Upon due consideration of the charge & evidence, the Court are of opinion the charge and evidence & Justification is sufficent & do acquit him of the charge against him. The Commdr-in-Chief confirms the opinion of the Court & orders Lieul McDonald to be released from arrest.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 10th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Poor
Field Officers Lt. Col. Starr, Major Nicoles
Brigade Major Minnes
Inspector from Genl Huntingdon's Brigade. .

No Filth:
Adjt of the Day from the 7th Regt. The Brigade Guard to be reduced to a Sergt, Corp, and 9 Privates. Each Regt. to mount a Guard, and place a sentinel to keep the men from casting filth into the ditch in front of the Brigade.

Regimental Orders

For a weeks Commd tomorrow Capt Ashmead.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 11th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow McIntosh
Field Officers Col. Parker, Lt. Col. Neval
Brigade Major Clayburn
Inspector from Genl Varnum's Brigade. .

Court of Inquiry:
A Court of Inquiry to sit tomorrow at Genl Varnum's Hut at 9 o'clock to take into consideration a complaint exhibited by Col Green against Col Stewart. Brigadier Genl Varnum is appointed president, Col Grayson and Bigalow, Lt Col Wisenfelt & Breely, and Major Ward will attend as members.

The Genl Officers are required to attend at Headquarters tomorrow 11 o'clock a.m., that they may take the Oath appointed by Congress in their resolution of the 3rd of Febry last, published in the Genl Orders of the 7th inst.

Masquerading Court Martial:
At a Genl Court Martial whereof Col Febiger was president, April 28th, 1778, Capt. Thos. Lucas, Col. Malcomb's Regt tried for

assuming the rank of a Capt, when a Lieut
2d for discharging an enlisted soldier and also for receiving a sum of money for so doing, and
3dly for returning the said soldier Deserted in the Muster Rolls after discharging him.

Found Guilty of the charges exhibited against him, being breeches of the 18th Sec., and the 2d Article of the 3d Sect, also of the 5th Article of the 5th Sect. of the Articles of War, and sentenced to be discharged the service.

Also Lieut. Barron of Col Wiggleworth's Regt tried for sticking Lt Page and 2dly for ungentleman like behaviour. Found Guilty of the charges exhibited against him and sentenced to be Cashiered and reduced - incapable of ever serving in the United States in any Military capacity.

The Commdr-in-Chief approves the foregoing sentences and orders them to take place immediately.

Selling Substitutes Court Martial:
At the same Court Capt Morrison of the 1st Jersey Battalion tried for selling as substitutes men who, by an express law of the State, were deemed incapable of being such, and for selling soldiers as substitutes who were before enlisted for the common bounty. Upon consideration of the Charge and evidence, the Court is unanimously of opinion that Capt Morrison is guilty fo the charges exhibited against him, but as he does not appear to have been actuated by self-interested motives, as his desires which are most censured have arose from a desire of promoting the good of the service, the Court determined that he does not merit censure. The Genl confirms the sentence. At the same time, he cannot forbear making the practice of selling soldiers as substitutes as an abuse of the highest Nature, and pregnant with the most pernicious consequences, which there is every reason to hope in the present instance that it did not proceed from selfish, pecuniary motives yet it is, itself, of so dangerous a tendency, and so inconsistent with every rule of propriety, that it cannot be merit the severest Reprehensions. Capt Morrison is released from his arrest.

Rudeness Court Martial:
By the same Court by Adjournament April ye 29th 1778, Adjt Thompson of the 9th Regt Penna. tried for refusing to come when sent for by Major Nicholas and, secondly, for treating Major Nicholas with ill language after coming to him. Acquitted on the first charge, but found Guilty of the 2d, and sentenced to be privately reprimanded by the Officer Commdg ye Brigade. The Genl remits the sentence for a consideration that the conduct observed toward Mr Thompson must have exceedingly wounded his feelings and excited him to the warmth of expression for which he was censured. Adjt Thompson is released from his arrest.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 12th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Muhlenberg
Field Officers Lt. Col. Badlam, Major Murphy
Brigade Major McCormick
Inspector from Genl McIntosh's Brigade. .

Court Martial Replacement:
The Genl Court Martial, whereof Col Febiger is present, is dissolved, and another ordered to sit tomorrow at the usual place, whereof Col Bowman is appointed president. A Capt from each Brigade to attend as members.

Haskill Esqr is appointed Brigade Major in Genl Patterson's Brigade, vice Brigade Major McClure.

Brigade Orders

Adjut of the Day tomorrow from the 2d Regt. A Capt from the 10th Regt to attend the Court Martial at the usual place.

Division Orders
Rifle Exchange:

The Brigade Quartermasters are immediately to make out returns of Accoutrements wanting to complete the several Regts in which they will include 200 Bayonet Belts for the 200 Muskets drawn yesterday. They will also make a return of the number of Rifles in each Brigade, in order to exchange them for an equal number of Muskets and Bayonets. They must note that equal number of Cartridge boxes and Bayonet Belts will be wanted, as there may be Rifles exchanged.

Neat, Please:
The Genl observes that the soldiers' clothing, for want of a little attention, is getting very much out of order. He therefore wishes every Commanding Officer of Regl and Corps to cause the Tailors to repair the Coats or Uniforms of the soldiers immediately and, by all means, prevent them from carrying provisions or water on their heads or shoulders, as nothing tends to destroy or dirty their hats and uniform equal to this unsoldierly practice. Officers will punish every soldier that may be Guilty of it in future.


Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 13th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Patterson
Field Officers Col. Gibson, Lt. Col. Ball
Brigade Major McKinney
Inspector from Genl Woodford's Brigade. .

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 14th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Wayne
Field Officers Col. Sheppard, Lt. Col. Charlton
Brigade Major Banister
Inspector from 1stPenna Brigade. .

Ten Minute Baths the Limit:
The Troops are in future to be exempted from exercise every Friday afternoon, which time is allowed them for washing their linen & bathing. The [x] who conduct the soldiers to bath are to particularly careful that no man remains longer than ten minutes in the water.

Tents Healthier Than Huts:
The Commanding officers of Regts are to order two windows, at least, in each Hut. As the Second Carolina, Livingston's and Angle's Regts are sickly, the Commanding Officers of these Regts will apply for tents, to remove their men from their Huts.

Ungentlemanly Court Martial:
At a Brigade Court Martial in the Artillery, May ye 9th, 1778, Col Proctor President, Capt Francis Proctersen tried for scandalous and infamous behavior unbecoming the character of an officer and a gentleman. Also for breaking his arrest & threatening Capt Rice's life in an ungentleman-like manner in different companies. Acquitted of ye charge of breaking his arrest, but found guilty of scandalous behavior unbecoming the character of a gentleman and an officer, being a breach of the Article Sect. 14th of the Articles of War, and sentenced to be Discharged the Service. The Commdr-in-Chief approves of the sentence, and orders it to take place immediately.

Dereliction of Duty Court Martial:
At a General Court Martial, whereof Col Febiger was president, Lieut. Carter of Col Baylor's Regt of Light Dragoons tried for Neglect of Duty & leaving the different Roads unguarded from Barren Hill Church to Philada, by which the enemy advanced a body of Horse and foot to said Church and surprised and made prisoners a Subaltern & his party, who had return'd to the Church for refreshment. After due deliberation, the court is unanimous of opinion that Lieut Carter is Guilty of the charge exhibited against him, being a breach of the 5th Article, 18th Sect of the Articles of War, but are of opinion that he must not have understood the orders given by Capt McClain, which considerably alleviates his duty, and sentences him to be Reprimanded in Genl Orders. The Commdr-in-Chief approves of his sentence, and desires him to report to his Regt. He hopes that he, in future, will pay a very strict attention to the orders of his Commanding Officer, as he plainly perceives the ill effects that have arisen from ill Apprehension.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 15th, 1778.

Brigade Orders
Rotten Food:

Information being made to me that the provisions now in the possession of the Brigade Commissary are unwholesome and not fit for use, the Brigade Major is therefore immediately to appoint one officer from each Regt in the Brigade to take a survey of the provisions, and make report to the Commandant accordingly.


Brigadier for tomorrow Poor
Field Officers Col. Butler, Lt. Col. Dearborn
Brigade Major Haskill
Inspector from the 2nd Penna. Brigade. .

Genl McIntosh, being appointed to a separate command and requiring a little time to prepare for it, Col Clark is to take the immediate command of the North Carolina Brigade & discharge the several duties of Col Commandent until further orders, except administering the Oaths to officers, agreeable to former orders, which Genl McIntosh is to continue to do while he continues in camp.

James McHenry Esq. is appointed an assistant Secretary to the Commander-in-Chief, and is to be respected and obeyed as such.

Court of Inquiry:
The Court of Inquiry, whereof Gen. Varnum was president, report that, altho' the inconveniences suffered in Col. Green's Regt would, naturally, prompt to request an enquiry, yet Col. Stewart has acquitted himself with propriety, being no way contributary thereto.

A proportion of paper will be delivered to the several brigades tomorrow.

No Alcohol to Indians:
No sutlers or soldiers are to give, or sell, any rum or liquors to the Indians on any pretense whatever. A breech of this order will be severely noticed.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 16th, 1778.

Division Orders
Parade Tomorrow:

The whole division to be under arms at 4 o'clock tomorrow in the afternoon, when the officers will cause all the old guards, and the Qr and Brigade Guards in Camp, their sentries only except, to parade in the neatest and most soldierly manner possible. Each Brigade to be divided into two Batallions, with a pair of colors in the center of each.

The officers will be particularly careful that every Hut be searched, and all the soldiers turned out. If any soldier in future attempts to screen himself from parade, he is to be immediately and severely punished, for the inattention of a few are aught not to be permitted to throw a disgrace upon a whole Corps, which will ever be the case unless both officers and men punctually attend the parade and make themselves perfect in each Maneuver. Baron Steuben proposes to introduce some new and useful [x] on that day.

Where Are All the Bayonets:
The Genl has observed a less number of bayonets than usual at the parade. He therefore wishes the officers to direct an immediate search for all such as may be in Camp, and cause the soldiers to clean and wear them, punishing all those who neglect or lose them in the most exemplary manner.

Hair Cuts:
The Genl wishes the officers to cause their men to cut their hair thinner and shorter this afternoon, and as uniform as possible.

Benjamin Fishburn, Aide de Camp

Brigadier for tomorrow Varnum
Field Officers Col. Bicker, Major Shepherd
Brigade Major Seeley
Inspector from Genl Poor's Brigade. .

Soldiers Aren't Servants To Take Away:
A most pernicious practice has, in too many instances, prevailed, of Officers leaving Camp, either upon furlough or, what is still worse, to quit the service, taking with them soldiers in the capacity of servants. This abuse, so detrimental to the Army, and injurious to the Public, is positively forbidden in future, and the Commanding Officer of Regts are enjoined to prevent its being practiced in any pretense whatever. This is to be considered as a standing, invariable order.

Too Much Personal Baggage May Get Left Behind:
It's not improbable that the Army may find it necessary to make a sudden and rapid movement. The Commander-in-Chief reminds the officers of the order of the 27th of last March, respecting baggage, etc. If there should be any who may have been inattentive to it, they must abide by the consequences. As it is determined that no hindrance to the motions of the Army will be suffered to happen on any account of our cumberance, which ought to have been Removed.

Daylight Savings Time:
As the hot season advances, the time exercise will be an hour sooner than has been heretofore. The whole Army will be under Arms at 5 o'clock in the morning precisely. The Inspectors and Brigade Majors will regulate their watches agreeable to the clock at Head Qrs.

Get Honors Right:
Honors due from Guards to the Genl and other officers of the army to be observed in future.

1st. The Guards commanded by Commissioned Officers are, for the future, to the Commander-in-Chief to parade, and present arms, the officers saluting and Drum beating. But, as in Camp before the enemy, it will not always be proper to announce the presence of the Commander-in-Chief. His Excellency therefore orders that the Drums will not beat.

Secondly. For Major Genls and Genls and field officers of the Day, the Guards present Arms.

3dly. For Brigadier Genls, they parade with handled Arms.

4thly. For the Adjt Genls and Inspectors of Divisions, the same. Also from the Quartermaster Guards to their own Brigade Inspectors.

5th. Guards Commd by non-commis'd officers present arms to the Commdr-in-Chief, Major Genls, Brigadier Genls, Field officers of the Day, Adjt Genls, Inspectors of Divisions, Field Officers by their own Regt and Inspector of their own Brigades. Sentinels to present arms for all Genl Officers, Field Officers of the Day, Adjt Genls and Inspectors of Divisions, and the Sentinels in Camp will present Arms, likewise, to the Field Officers of their own Regt.

The Guard of the Commdr-in-Chief pay no Honors but to him. The Guards of Major Genls pay no Honors but to the Commdrs-in-Chief and the Genls to whom they are on Guard. The Guards of Brigadier Genls. pay Honors but to the Commdr-in-Chief, its Major Genl, and Brigadiers to whom they are on guard. When a Guard parades, they must be formed in two ranks agreeable to the instructions already given for the formation of Troops, the officers to the right of the front rank, the Sergt covering him in the same manner as formed for the charge. The Drums to the right of the Officers, the Sentinel to the right of the Drum, a little advanced. There must be no single man. The sentinel must give the time. The officer facing to the left gives the word "present arms," and with the last motion faces again to the right.

Facing again to the left to Commd "shoulder," etc., keeping always to the right of his Gr. as occasion may require.

N.B.: This last article respects only the Guards in Camp. In time of war, in Garrison, or in time of peace, the Guards parade in open ranks and the Officers parade 4 paces before the center.

When it happens that a Genl or Field officer of the Day passes a guard during the time they are relieving, both Guards pay the Honors before mentioned without altering their position, tho the Genls should pass behind either of the Guards.

When a Battalion or a detachment passes before a guard, they must present Arms and beat a March, and if the Battalion or Detachment has colors, the Officer salutes them. When a body of men without arms, even if their Countrymen, if their numbers are equal or stronger than the Guard, the sentinel should alarm the Guard, and the Guard turn out until they are past. When a Guard is marching to its post, or in returning, meets a Genl or Field Officer, they should carry arms and continue their march. When a single soldier with arms meets any officers, he should front and carry arms till the officer has passed. When two Guards or Detachments meet, they should both carry arms and encline to the right to make room for each other to pass.

Brigade Orders
Straw for Blankets:

The Brigade Quarter Masters to provide straw for the men who have no blankets. The sick of the several Regiments to be first supplied.


Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 17th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Muhlenberg
Field Officers Lt. Col. Hainey, Major Dickinson
Brigade Major Martial
Inspector from Genl Glover's Brigade. .

Arms Returns:
The Commdg Officers of Regts and Corps are to make an exact return tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock, at Headquarters, of the Arms deficient in their respective Corps.

The Commissary of Military stores is also to make a return the 21st of all the Arms recd from, and delivered to, the Army from the first of November last, specifying the particular Corps and the number recd from, and delivered to, each.

Bring Back Any Soldiers Used as Servants:
The Commdg Officers of Regts and Corps are especially directed to call in by the first of June all soldiers belonging to their respective Corps who are now distributed in the several Departments of the Staff in the quality of servants, and to prevent any others being made use of in the same manner.

Detachment Assignment:
Officers for Detachment tomorrow: Lt Col Miller, Lt Col Hubley.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 18th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Patterson
Field Officers Col. Cropper, Major Conways
Brigade Major Mervin
Inspector from Genl Learned's Brigade. .

Extra Money:
The Commdg-in-Chief has the pleasure to inform the Army that the Honorable the Congress, have been pleased to come to the following Resolution:

In Congress May ye 15th, 1778
Resolved unanimously, that all Military Officers Commisd by Congress, who now are or hereafter may be in ther service of the United states and shall continue during the War, and shall not hold any office of profit, under these States or any of them shall, after the conclusion of the War, be entitled to receive annually for the term of seven years, if they live so long, one half of the present pay of such Officers. Provided that no Genl Officers of the Cavalry, Artillery, or Infantry shall be entitled to receive more than the one half part of the pay of a Col of such Corps Respectively. And provided that this resolution shall not extend to any Officers in the Service of the United States, unless he shall have taken the oath of allegance to, and shall actually reside within, some one of the United States.

Resolved unanimously that every non-commsd Military Officer and soldier who have enlisted, or shall enlist, during the War and shall continue therein to the end thereof, shall be entitled to receive the further reward of eighty dollars, at the expiration of the War.

Be Ready To Move:
The whole Army are desired to prepare in the best manner possible for an immediate and sudden movement.

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
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Henry Bicker's Ancestors
Grandson Henry Bicker Gibson

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