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The American Revolution
Creating a Continental Army
Commander Washington's General Orders, July 5, 1775

Few of the colonists who began to take up arms in the conflict with the British had much, if any, organized military experience. Many of Washington's General Orders, as a consequence, were intended to provide his troops and officers with military lessons of various kinds. In the following General Orders from Commander Washington, what issues does Washington address? How does he justify his reasoning regarding to respect of civilian property?

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Head Quarters, Cambridge, July 5, 1775.

Parole Bedford. Countersign Cambridge.

The Adjutant of each Regiment is required to take special care, that all general orders are communicated, as well to the private men, as to the officers, that there may be no Pleas of Ignorance, they will be deemed answerable for all the consequences which may follow a neglect of this order.

A General Court martial is ordered to sit to morrow at 10 oClock, A.M. for the Trial of William Patten charged with "leaving his post on guard," David Wells and Gideon Cole for "sleeping on their posts as sentinels," John Scott for "insulting the Centry and attempting to pass the guard at Boston," and James Foshe for "theft." When the Witnesses are to attend and the parties charged, are to have notice this day that they may be prepared for their trials.

The General most earnestly recommends and requires of all the Officers, that they be exceeding diligent and strict in preventing all Invasions and Abuse of private property in their quarters, or elsewhere he hopes, and indeed flatters himself, that every private Soldier will detest and abhor such practices, when he considers, that it is for the preservation of his own Rights, Liberty and Property, and those of his Fellow Countrymen, that he is now called into service: that it is unmanly and sully's the dignity of the great cause, in which we are all engaged, to violate that property, he is called to protect, and especially, that it is most cruel and inconsistant, thus to add to the Distresses of those of their Countrymen, who are suffering under the Iron hand of oppression.
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