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 19th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Wayne
Field Officers Col. Green, Lt. Col. Ballard
Brigade Major Minnes
Inspector from Genl Patterson's Brigade. .

The Commanding Officers of Regts are to make returns to the Quarter Master Genl of the number of tents absolutely wanting in each. For such men as cannot be accomodated consistent with their health and comfort in Huts, it will be relied upon these, in return, that none will make a larger demand than the real necessity of the Regts requires. The Quartermaster Genl will make his issue upon these returns.

Field Officers for Detachment: Lt Col Ball, Major Gilman. The sub and Brigade Inspectors, Majors of Brigade, and Adjutants of the Army, to parade at the Baron's Quarters at 10 o'clock precisely tomorrow morning, when they will receive particular orders.

Attack Court Martial:
At a Genl Court Martial, Genl Bowman president, May the 13th, 1778, Jno Reynolds, an Artificer in Mayor Rollard's Corps, tried for striking Lt Hammet. Found guilty of the charge and sentenced to receive 100 lashes. The Commdr-in-Chief approves the sentence, and orders it to be put in execution tomorrow morning at Guard mounting on the Grand Parade.

After Orders
Military Instructions for Officers of Guards:

When an officer arrives at the post he is to relieve, the old guard is already formed and present arms at the arrival of the new one, which forms itself opposite. The old guard imparts instructions to the other he has recd, then both officers comml "shoulder fire locks." Both guards face together to the right and, upon the word "march," they change their ground reciprocally.

The officers of the new muard appoints as many men as there [are] sentinals. The Non Commsd officers of the old guard, and another of the new one, marching before those men Lead them to their different posts. They begin by relieving those before the guard house. On their drawing near to each other, the old sentinel presents his arms, ye Non Commsd officers of the new guard present arms, then poise fire locks, which only extends to the sentinel relieved. The Non Comsd officer commands "march." Both sentinels come near each other. The old imparts to the new one the orders he has recd. The new one takes the place of the old one, who goes afterward into his rank. The Non-Commisd officer then commd "shoulder," and leads the men to relieve the other sentinels in the same manner.

In the meanwhile, the officer of the new guard appoints the two other numbers for each post. When the Non-Commisd officers come back with the old sentinels, they lead them before the old guard, and commd "present arms, poise fire lock, march." The soldier goes to the rank and file. They commd "front shoulder fire lock."

The old officer forms his guard in the same order as at mounting -- wheels by the right or left - and leads his guard, with order, into camp.

When the old officer leaves the place, the new guard presents arms till the old one has filed off, then Commd "shoulder firelock," and orders a non commd officer to write down the names of the soldiers of what guard, supposing the guard to be composed of an officer, two Non-Commis'd and 25 privates.

When an officer has a guard of 24 men, there are 8 of them upon sentry. And when ye other 8 is relieving, he has but ye 3d part of his guard left under arms with which he must defend his post in case of an attack. He must, therefore, remain under arms until ye sentinels come back. He then forms his guard in 2 ranks, and orders them to lay down their arms (N.B. This will be observed with a greater exactitude in the night than in ye day.)

If a man deserts off guard, and the officer is not acquainted with the desertion before the first two hours are over, it is a sign he has not formed his guard, and must be aswerable for that neglect of his duty.

In ye night, ye officer is to send each half hour a patrol of a Non-Commsd officer and two privates, in order to visit the sentinels and examine whether they are strict on their duty.

Every guard must be under arms at the arrival or passing of any Genl officer, Field Officer of the Day, or Inspector. Pay them the honors due to their rank. And the officer gives an account of the instructions he has recd when required by the said Genl officer, etc.

During the night, ye Guards are to pay no honors to anybody except to the Genl officers and ye Officers fo the Day visiting the posts. At their arrival, they must put themselves under arms. The sentinel hinders the Officer of the day from coming near the guard till the officer has sent to him a Non-Commisd officer and two privates, in order to examine him and ask him for the counter sign. And having reconnoitered him, ye officer causes the Genl officer or Field Officer of the Day to come near him, asks him for the parole, and gives him an account of the guard.

No officer is to pull off his clothes in the Night, on pain of being tried by a Court Martial.

No officer is to absent himself from his guard, under any pretense whatever, beyond the distance of 200 paces, on pain of being tried by a Court Martial.

No officer is to give leave to a soldier to go to camp, or in the country, under any pretense whatever. if it is to get provisions, he must send a Non Commsd Officer and two or three privates with a note signed by his own hand, certifying that they are going for provisions, etc.

After tatoo is beaten, no soldier is to go 50 paces from the guard. And he who will be found at a greater distance shall be arrested and treated as a deserter.

The officer is to instruct his sentinels in what they are to observe at the posts, as well by night as by day.

Every guard is to be found under arms after their according to the new regulations given out for the formation of the troops.

When an officer or a Non Commsd officer is relieved from his guard, he is to conduct it back, in the same order, to the Parade where he recl them in one or two platoons, etc. If his guard be composed out of three brigades, he leads them to the center brigade, then divides ye men from each brigade, leaving each detachment to be conducted by a non commisd officer in good order to their different battalions.

If an officer who, before he has arrived in camp, will let his guard go by themselves and straggle out without order, shall be put under an arrest & tried by a Court Martial.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 20th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Maxwell
Field Officers Col. Chambers, Major Winslow
Brigade Major Clayburn
Inspector from Genl Weeden's Brigade. .

After Orders
Parade Tomorrow:

The same number of Officers and men to parade tomorrow morning at guard mounting, to relieve the commd at Radnor, as was ordered the 19th Inst.

Brigade Orders
Court Martial Rescheduled:

The Brigade Court Martial is adjourned till tomorrow at 10 o'clock, Col Chambers is appointed president, vice Major Grier, who is indisposed. The members will attend at the President's Quarters, at the time appointed.

Officers Must Attend Parade:
By order of Wm Irvine Col Command: It is with pain the Col is obliged to enjoin officers to be more punctual in not only seeing that their men attend the parade, but also attend themselves. It is expected that Commanders of Regts. will be very premptory in their several Corps, with respect to the above regulations and, likewise, that the number of Huts in front of the line be reduced. No apology will be admitted on account of sick tents for that purpose being now provided.


Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 21st, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Varnum
Field Officers Lt. Col. Reed, Major Moore
Brigade Major McCormick
Inspector from Genl Muhlenberg's Brigade. .

Inspectors Assignment:
The Inspectors, etc., will attend at the Baron Steuben's Quarters at ye hour appointed, in the orders of the 19th Inst.

Need to Make Bank Note Paper:
If there is any persons in the Army who understands making thin paper, such as Bank Notes are struck upon, they are desired to apply immediately to the Orderly Officer, where they will be shown a sample of the paper.

Officers commanding regts are to publish these in Regimental orders. Mr. Volles, Adjt of the 7th. Virginia Regt, is appointed to do the duty of Brigade Major in Genl Woodford's Brigade till further orders.

Court Martial Results:
At a Genl Court Martial, whereof Col. Bowman was president, May the 15th, 1778, Capt Cleveland, of Col Michael Jackson's Regt, tried for behaving in an unofficer-like manner in refusing to do a tour of duty when duly notified. Found not guilty of the charge exhibited against him, and acquitted with honor. Altho' Capt Cleveland ought not to have been warned for Duty when returned sick, yet the Genl cannot applaud the spirit which actuated him in refusing obedience of a positive order, & declining a tour of duty of such a kind as might, in all appearance, have been easily performed by Capt Cleveland in his circumstances. Capt Cleveland is released from his arrest.

At a Brigade Court Martial, May the 18th 1778, Lt Coll Cropper president, Capt Edward Hull, of the 15th Virginia Regt, tried for Gaming when he ought to have been on the parade. the 12th Inst. Unanimously found Guilty of that part of the charge exhibited against him relative to gaming, but acquitted of non-attendance on the parade, and sentenced to be reprimanded by the Commanding Officer fo the Brigade, in pressence of all the officers thereof.

At the same Court Martial, Lt Thos. Lewis, of the Sd Regt, tried upon a similar charge. Found guilty, and sentenced the same as Capt Hull. The Commander-in-Chief, though very unwilling to dissent from the judgment of the Court Martial, is obliged utterly to disapporve these sentences, the punishment being, in his opinion, utterly inadequate to the offense. A practice so pernicious in itself as that of Gaming, so prejudicial to good order and Military Discipline, so contrary to positive and repeated orders, carried to so enormous a height as it appears, and aggravated certainy int he Case of Lieut Lewis by an additional offense of no trifling Military consequence, absence from parade demanded a much severer penalty than a simple reprimand. Capt Hull and Lieut Hull are to be released from their arrest.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 22nd, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Scott
Field Officers Col. Bremer, Col. Hopkins
Brigade Major Berryanne
Inspector from the late Conway's Brigade. .

Officers for Detachment:
The auditor's office is removed to James Cloid's, within one mile and 1/2 of the Paymaster Genl.

Court Martial Results:
At a Genl Court Martial ye 16th /78, Col. Bowman president, Lt. Addison of the German Batt. tried for behaving in a manner unbecoming a gentleman and an officer, in abusing Col. Nixon's family. Unanimously found guilty of the charge exhibited against him, being a breach of the 21st Article, 14th Sect. of the Articles of War, and sentenced to be discharged the service. The Commander-in-Chief approves the sentence, and orders it to take place immediately.

At a Brigade Court Martial, May ye 18th /78, Major Wall president, Lt Marks of the 11th Virginia Regt tried for not attending the parade on the 18th inst. And unanimously acquitted with Honor.

Likewise, Lt William Powell tried upon the same charge, and acquitted in like manner.

The Genl observes that sickness or indisposition is certainly a sufficient excuse for not attending the parade, but it ought to be an established rule, to signify it either personally or in writing, through the Adjt to the commdg officer of the regt to which the officer concerned shall belong. These gentlemen, in not doing this, were deficient in the line of regularity and propriety. Hereafter, this excuse shall not be admitted unless this rule shall be observed, unless where any very particular circumstances renders it impracticable, which can really happen.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 23rd, 1778.

Division Orders
Arms and Ammunition:

The whole Division to parade tomorrow afternoon at 5 o'clock in the best order possible. It is expected that all officers off duty will attend.

By order of GENL WAYNE.

Brigadier for tomorrow Patterson
Field Officers Col. Deten, Lt. Col. Shearman
Brigade Major Stag
Inspector from Genl Huntingdon's Brigade. .

Preparation for the Army's Movement:
Till some further arrangement of the Army is made, Major Genl Lee is to take charge of the Division lately commanded by Major Genl Greene. And in case of action, or any genl move of the Army, the then oldest Major Genls present fit for duty are to command the two wings and second line, according to seniority. The commdg officers of Regts and Corps will immediately give orders upon the Commissary of Military Stores, for all the arms and accoutrements wanting to complete their men. The Qr. Masters of Brigades will also make out returns, and apply for orders for Ammunition to complete each man to 40 Rounds and 2 flints.

All officers are called upon to see that their men's arms and accoutrements are put in the best order possible. They will likewise take particular care that their men have Wooden Drives fix'd in their pieces at the hours of exercise to prevent any unnecessary waste of flints.

No man to be absent from camp on any pretense whatever, but be in actual readiness to march at a moment's warning.

Brigade After Orders
Arms and Accoutrements:

The Brigade Qr. Masters will deliver the arms and accoutrements drawn this day at Genl Wayne's Qrs. to the several Regts, agreeable to the returns made to him, as far as they will go, immediately after exercise, and return the arms not fit for service as soon as possible to the Commissary Genl of Military Stores. If, after this distribution is made, any Bayonet Belts or arms are wanting to complete, the commanders of Regts will make immediate returns.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 24th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Wayne
Field Officers Col. Patten, Major Summers
Brigade Major Bannister
Inspector from Genl Varnum's Brigade. .

Court Martials:
The Genl Court Martial, whereof Col. Bowman was president, is dissolved, and another ordered to sit tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock to try all prisoners that shall be brought before them. Col. Chambers will preside. Each Brigade will give a Capt to the Court. All persons concerned to attend.

At a Brigade Court Martial May the 22nd 1778, Lt Col Cropper president, Lt Davis of the 11th Virginia Regt tried for encouraging a soldier to stay away from his Regt, for refusing when a soldier was sent for by a Guard to let him to go his Regt, and for speaking disrespectfully of the officer who sent a Guard for the soldier a second time. Upon mature deliberation, the Court is of opinion that he is not guilty of speaking disrespectfully of the officer who sent a Guard for the soldier, tho of opinion his detaining the soldier was unwarrantable. But, considering that his error seems to have arose from what he thought was doing his duty, Lt Davis is released from his arrest.

Brigade Orders
Brigade Court Martial:

A Capt from the 1st Regt to attend the Genl Court Martial tomorrow at 9 o'clock, at the usual place. Col Hubley is appointed president of the Brigade Court Martial in the room of Col Chambers, to sit tomorrow at 9 o'clock a.m. The members will attend the president's quarters.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 25th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Muhlenberg
Field Officers Col. Swift, Lt. Col. Hubley
Brigade Major Haskill
Inspector from Genl McIntosh's Brigade. .

Surgeons, Get Your Lard:
The Regimental Surgeons will apply to the Flying Hospital Store for rags, lard and Sulphur. They are to make their returns more punctual on Mondays.

Guns Found:
Several Guns, packs and cartridge boxes belonging to some soldier in the Army are left at the Orderly Office.

Bureaucracy Info:
The Muster-master Genl and Commissary of Prisoners have removed their Quarters to Mr. Evan's house, half a mile north of Sullivan's Bridge, by Perkiomy Creek.

The Regimental Paymasters are to give in their abstracts for the month of April for examination.

Court Martial:
At a Genl. Court Martial, Col. Febiger president, Lt. Adams of the 10th Pennsa. Regt tried for ungentlemanlike behavior in propagating a report that an officer in the Regt had behaved cowardly in the action at Germantown. And, when desired by Col. Hubley to name the officer, answered in an unbecoming manner. Unanimously found Guilty of the charge exhibited against him, being a breach of the 21st Article, 14th Sect of the Articles of War, and sentenced to be discharged the service. The Commander-in-Chief approves of the sentence, and orders it to take place immediately.

Brigade Orders
Guarantee Your Men Complete:

The Col. hopes that the commanding officers of Regts have paid particular attention to the Genl Orders of the 23 Inst with respect to applying for arms and accoutrements to complete their men.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 26th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Poor
Field Officers Col. Grayson, Lt. Col. Wissingfelt
Brigade Major Learned
Inspector from Genl Woodford's Brigade. .
For Detachment Major Gaskin

We've Lost Track of Our Sick Soldiers:
The Commander-in-Chief, perceiving that the Regimental returns Materially Differ in the number of the sick absent from the Hospital Reports, notwithstanding these were lodged with the Adjt Genl that the regimental returns might be rectified & adjusted by them, calls upon the commanding officers of the Regts to make returns tomorrow to the Adjt Genl, specifying the names of all their sick absent, places where they are, and the times they were sent to them, that the difference above mentioned may be satisfactorily accounted for. In doing this, the stricted regard is to be paid to the Hospital Reports.

Offal and Carrion:
The Independent Corps commanded by Capt Sillent are immediately to bury the offal and carrion near the Black Bull.

Confiscate Illegal Liquor:
The Commissary Genl of the Staff will, in future, apply to the commanding officer of that Corps for a party to bury any offal that may be near his stall. A sub., serjt, corpl and eight men with the Commissary from each brigade are to be sent immediately into the vicinity of their respective Brigades to seize the Liquors they may find in the unlicensed tipling houses. The Commissaries will give receipts for the liquor they may seize, and notify the inhabitants or persons living in the vicinity of the Camp that unconditional seizure shall be made of all Liquors they presume to sell in future.

Head Quarters Valley Forge, May 27th, 1778.

Brigadier for tomorrow Varnum
Field Officers Lt. Col. Reed, Major Murray
Brigade Major Fynacke
Inspector from Genl xx's Brigade. .

Time to Get Your Supply Accounts Right:
The commanding officers of Regts are to make returns on Friday next of the arms that were in possession of their respective Corps the 1st of Nov. last, of those they have since delivered in, of those they have since drawn, and of those they have now actually in possession. It is expected that they always have exact accounts of arms, clothing, Camp utensils &c. furnished to their men, as they must be responsible for their due application.

Major Genl Miflin, having been permitted by Congress to report to, and serve in, this Army, he is to take the command of the Division late Lincoln's.

Capt. Furbiddle is appointed aide de camp to Major Genl Lee, till further orders, and is to be respected accordingly.

Account for Recruiting Monies:
The field officers of Regts. who have drawn money from any publick offices for Recruiting their respective Corps, are desired as soon as possible to furnish the Auditors of the Army with lists of money advanced by them to their officers for that service.

Purify Hut Air:
Officers to see that the Mud plastering about the Huts be removed, and every method taken to render them as airy as possible. They will also have the powder of a Musket Cartridge burnst in each Hut daily to purify the air, or a little Tar if it can be procured. The Commissary of Military Stores will provide blank Cartrides for ye purpose.

Brigade Orders
Officers Must Attend Parade:

The Col. wishes the officers to read the orders of the 23d instant, and hopes they will, by future punctual attention at parade, prevent his taking such measure, tho exceedingly disagreeable to him, as his indispensable duty requires. The Officers of the 2d and 10th were particularly reported this morning as being chiefly absent.

Court Martials:
The Commanders of Regl will order Regl Court Martials to try such prisoners as are in the Brigade Guard, who do not come under the Cognizance of a Brigade Court Martial.

Proceeding of the Brigade Court Martial, whereof Col Miller was president, is to be put in execution this afternoon.

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

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