General Gates's orders, August 15, 1780

From online version of Tarleton's A History Of The Campaigns Of 1780 And 1781, In The Southern Provinces Of North America..   Chapter 2., Note L, p. 142.. Transcribed by Marg Baskin.


Camp, at Rugeley's, 15th of August, 1780.

The sick, the extra artillery stores, the heavy baggage, and such quarter-master's stores as are not immediately wanted, to march this evening under a guard to Wacsaws: To this order the general requests the brigadier generals to see that those under their command pay the most exact and scrupulous obedience.

Lieutenant-colonel Edmonds, with the remaining guns of the park, will take post, and march with the Virginia brigade, under General Stevens; he will direct, as any deficiency happens in the artillery affixed to the other brigades, to supply it immediately; his military staffs, and proportion of his officers, with forty of his men, are to attend him, and wait his orders.

The troops will be ready to march precisely at ten o'clock, in the following order, viz. Colonel Armand's advance, cavalry commanded by Colonel Armand: Colonel Porterfield's light infantry on the right flank of Colonel Armand, in Indian file, two hundred yards from the road; Major Armstrong's light infantry in the same order as Colonel Porterfield's, on the left flank of the legion; advanced guard of foot, composed of the advanced pickets, first brigade of Maryland, second brigade of Maryland, division of North Carolina, Virginia division; rear-guard volunteers, cavalry on the right and left of the baggage equally divided. In this order the troops will proceed this night. In case of an attack by the enemy's cavalry in front, the light infantry on each flank will instantly march up, and give, and continue the most galling fire upon the enemy's horse; this will enable Colonel Armand not only to support the enemy's charge, but finally rout them: The colonel will therefore consider the orders to stand the attack of the enemy's cavalry, be their numbers what they may, as positive: General Stevens will immediately order one captain, two lieutenants, one ensign, three serjeants, one drum, and sixty rank and file, to join Colonel Porterfield's infantry. These men are to be taken from the most experienced woodsmen, and men every way fittest for the service.

The general will likewise complete Armstrong's light infantry to their original number; those must be immediately marched to the advanced post of the army. The troops will preserve the profoundest silence on the march; and any soldier who offers to fire, without the command of his officer, must be instantly put to death.

When the ground will admit of it, and the near approach of the enemy renders it necessary, the army will, when ordered, march in columns; the artillery at the head of their respective brigades, and the baggage in the rear. The guard of the heavy baggage will be composed of the remaining officers and soldiers of the artillery. One captain, two subalterns, four serjeants, four drums, and sixty rank and file, and no person whatever is to presume to send any other soldier upon that service.

All batmen, waiters, &c. who are soldiers taken from the line, are forthwith to join their respective regiments, and act with their masters, while they are upon that duty.

The tents of the whole army to be struck at Tattoo.