Historic Pelham

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Orders Issued by British Major General The Honourable William Howe While Encamped in Pelham After the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776

As most students of Pelham history know, British, German and American troops fought the Revolutionary War Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776. Following the Battle, British Major General The Honorable William Howe and his forces camped in Pelham along both sides of the old Boston Post Road (today's Colonial Avenue).

While encamped in Pelham, Major General Howe issued a number of orders to his troops during a time of the first major incursion of enemy troops into the heart of Pelham. The Major General's first order suggests the terror and devastation faced by those who lived in Pelham. In that order the Major General noted that his troops had not followed his orders against "Plundering and Marauding". Thus he reaffirmed the ban against such activities and directed that his order be read to each and every Company of soldiers so that no man could claim he was unaware of the command if brought before military authorities for violating the order.

The orders are among those published in a journal prepared by The New-York Historical Society in 1884. They appear immediately below.


* * *

HEAD QUARTERS, Pelham Manor, 19th Oct., 1776.

The Commander in Chief is greatly disappointed that the repeated Orders he has been from time to time under the necessity of Issuing, for the Suppression of Plundering and Marauding, have not been attended to by the Troops, as he had a right to expect. He now therefore declares in public Orders, for the Information of every Individual Soldier and Follower of the Army, that he is determined hereafter to shew no Mercy to any Person proved guilty of the above Crimes, and he desires that this Order may be read immediately at the Head of every Company, and to every Man now upon Duty as soon as relieved, that every Man now upon Duty as soon as relieved, that Ignorance of the Order may not be pleaded as an Excuse, as it cannot possibly be admitted; and the Com-

[Page 392 / Page 393]

manding Officers of Corps will be responsible to the Commander in Chief that this Order is communicated and enforced to their respective Corps.

All the Waggons in Possession of the different Corps are to be sent to-morrow morning, at Day break, to the Landing Place, for four Days' Provisions for the Troops, from the 20th. to the 23d. inclusive.

HEAD QUARTERS, Pelham Manor, 20th. Oct., 1776.

The Out Posts of the Army will report every morning to the Adjutant General, for the Information of the Commander in Chief, every Movement they can perceive of the Enemy, or any other Extraordinaries they may think worth his Notice.

Two hundred Men to be taken from the Recruits lately arrived from England, and attached to the Artillery till further Orders.

The Men of Rogers's Corps to join as soon as relieved.

HEAD QUARTERS, Pelham Manor, 21st. Oct., 1776.

6 in the Morning.

The Tents to be struck at 7 o'Clock this Morning, and the Troops to be in Readiness to march by the Right, in the following Order :

General Clinton to command the Advance.
2d. Battalion Light Infrantry.
4 Divisions of Light Dragoons, consisting of 10 Files each.
British Grenadiers.
33d Regiment.
42d Regiment.
Hessian Grenadiers.
2 Battalions of the Guards.
1st Brigade.
Hessian Brigades.
71st Regiment.
Four Divisions Light Horse, ten files each.

[Page 393 / Page 394]

The Baggage of the Army, followed by the 2d Brigade, with Two twelve Pounders and two Horowitzers in the Front of the Brigade of Guards.

Two twelve Pounders at the Head of General de Heister's Brigade.

The 1st. and 3d. Battalion Light Infantry, with four Divisions of Cavalry of ten file each, to march on the Left Flank of the Army. 3d. Battalion leads.

6th Brigade British and Losberg's Brigade will take the Position which will be directed. The Queen's Light Dragoons take the Front.

Orders, the 20th. Oct., 1776.

The Commander in Chief has been pleased to make the following Promotions:

44th Regiment. -- Capt. Lieut. Benjamin Fish to be Captain Vice Browne dead of his Wounds 4th. Oct., 1776; Lieut. George Benson to be Captain Vice Robinson removed 4th. Oct., 1776; Lieut.-Col. Campbell, from 55th. Regiment, to be Captain-Lietenant Vice Fish promoted 4th. Oct., 1776; Ensign Samuel Leland to be Lieutenant Vice Benson promoted 4th. Oct., 1776; Lieut. John Tuffie to be Quarter Master Vice Benson 4th. Oct., 1776; David Starke, Volunteer, to be Ensign Vice Leland promoted 4th Oct., 1776."

Source: General Orders By Major General The Honourable William Howe in Collections of the New-York Historical Society for the Year 1883, pp. 251, 392-94 (NY, NY: The New-York Historical Society, 1884).

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