Posted by: Democratic Thinker | January 10, 2010

Newburgh Crisis: VIII—Cessation of Hostilities

Washington Secures the Republic

Following the Battle of Yorktown, the Continental Army encamped at Newburgh, New York. Under-provisioned, unpaid, and in dire straits, the soldier tried various courses of action to obtain the funding promised them by the states and the Continental Congress. Some of their plans were as desperate as their situation and threatened to destroy the republic.

On such a happy day, which is the harbinger of peace, a day which completes the eighth year of the war, it would be ingratitude not to rejoice; it would be insensibility not to participate in the general festivity.

General Orders.



THE Commander-in-Chief orders the cessation of hostilities, between the United States and the King of Great Britain, to be publicly proclaimed to-morrow at twelve at the New Building; and that the Proclamation, which will be communicated herewith, be read to-morrow evening at the head of every regiment and corps of the army; after which the Chaplains with the several brigades will render thanks to Almighty God for all His mercies, particularly for His overruling the wrath of man to His glory, and causing the rage of war to cease among the nations.

Although the Proclamation before alluded to extends only to the prohibition of hostilities, and not to the annunciation of a general peace, yet it must afford the most rational and sincere satisfaction to every benevolent mind, as it puts a period to a long and doubtful contest, stops the effusion of human blood, and opens the prospect to a more splendid scene, and, like another Morning Star, promises the approach of a brighter day than has hitherto illuminated the Western Hemisphere. On such a happy day, which is the harbinger of peace, a day which completes the eighth year of the war, it would be ingratitude not to rejoice; it would be insensibility not to participate in the general festivity.

The Commander-in-Chief, far from endeavoring to stifle the feelings of joy in his own bosom, offers his most cordial congratulations on the occasion to all the officers of every denomination, to all the troops of the United States in general, and in particular to those gallant and persevering men who had resolved to defend the rights of their invaded country so long as the war should continue. For these are the men who ought to be considered as the pride and boast of the American army, and who, crowned with well-earned laurels, may soon withdraw from the field of glory to the more tranquil walks of civilized life.

While the General recollects the almost infinite variety of scenes through which we have passed, with a mixture of pleasure, astonishment and gratitude; while he contemplates the prospect before us with rapture, he cannot help wishing that all the brave men of whatever condition they may be, who have shared in the toils and dangers of effecting this glorious revolution, of rescuing millions from the hand of oppression, and of laying the foundation of a great empire, might be impressed with a proper idea of the dignified part they have been called to act (under the smiles of Providence) on the stage of human affairs. For, happy, thrice happy, shall they be pronounced hereafter, who have contributed anything, who have performed the meanest offlce; in erecting this stupendous fabric of freedom and empire on the broad basis of independency; who have assisted in protecting the rights of numan nature, and establishing an asylum for the poor and oppressed of all nations and religions.

The glorious task for which we first flew to arms being thus accomplished; the liberties of our country being fully acknowledged and firmly secured by the smiles of Heaven on the purity of our cause, and the honest exertions of a feeble people determined to be free, against a powerful nation disposed to oppress them; and the character of those who have persevered through every extremity of hardship, suffering, and danger, being immortalized by the illustrious appellation of the Patriot Army, nothing now remains but for the actors of this mighty scene to preserve a perfect unvarying consistency of character through the very last act, to close the drama with applause, and to retire from the military theater with the same approbation of angels and men which has crowned all their former virtuous actions. For this purpose no disorder or licentiousness must be tolerated. Every considerate and well-disposed soldier must remember it will be absolutely necessary to wait with patience until peace shall be declared, or Congress shall be enabled to take proper measures for the security of the public stores. As soon as these arrangements shall be made, the General is confident there will be no delay in discharging, with every mark of distinction and honor, all the men enlisted for the war, who will then have faithfully performed their engagements with the public. The General has already interested himself in their behalf, and he thinks he need not repeat the assurance of his disposition to be useful to them on the present and every other proper occasion. In the meantime he is determined that no military neglects or excesses shall go unpunished while he retains the command of the army.

The Adjutant-general will have such working-parties detailed to assist in making the preparation for a general rejoicing as the Chief-engineer, with the army, shall call for; and the Quartermaster-general will also furnish such materials as he may want. The Quartermaster-general will, without delay, procure such a number of discharges to be printed as will be sufficient for all the men enlisted for the war; he will please apply to Head-quarters for the form.

An extra ration of liquor to be issued to every man tomorrow, to drink perpetual peace, independence and happiness to the United States of America.

General Orders.



TO erect a frame for an illumination, the several corps in this cantonment are to square and deliver at the New Building, on Monday next, the following pieces of timber, viz:

        Pieces.  Ft. long.  In. sq.
Maryland Detachment      2     30      7  
Jersey Regiment      5     30      7  
Jersey Battalion      2     30      7  
First York Regiment      2     30      7  
Second York Regiment      3     30      7  
Hampshire Regiment      8     18      7  
Hampshire Battalion      3     18      7  
First Massachusetts Regiment      9     18      7  
4th ”           8     18      7  
7th {    4     18      7  
   4     19      7  
2d      8     19      7  
5th {    4     19      7  
   8      8      7  
8th     16      8      7  
3d {    3     12      7  
   6     11      7  

Each commanding officer of a brigade is requested to appoint an officer to assist Colonel Gouvion in making preparations for the illumination. Colonel Gouvion will meet the officers so appointed at 12 o’clock to-morrow at the New Building.


New Building.

April 19th.—At noon, the Proclamation of the Congress, for a cessation of hostilities, was published at the door of the New Building, followed by three huzzas; after which a prayer was made by the Rev. Mr. Ganno, and an anthem, Independence, from Billings [“No King but God”] was performed by vocal and instrumental music. The same day, Gen. Washington went for Ringwood, to meet the Secretary at War, on some business of importance.—Heath’s Memoirs.

THE states, O Lord, with songs of praise shall in Thy strength rejoice,
And blest with Thy salvation raise to Heav’n their cheerful voice.
To the King they shall sing Hallelujah.
Thy goodness and Thy tender care have all our fears destroy’d,
A covenant of peace Thou mad’st with us confirmed by Thy word,
A covenant Thou mad’st with us and seal’d it with Thy blood.
To the King they shall sing Hallelujah.
And all the continent shall sing: down with this earthly King,
No King but God.
To the King they shall sing Hallelujah.
And the continent shall sing: God is our rightful King, Hallelujah.
And the continent shall sing: God is our gracious King, Hallelujah.
They shall sing to the King, Hallelujah.
Let us sing to the King, Hallelujah.
God is the King, Amen,
The Lord is His name, Amen.
May His blessing descend, world without end,
On ev’ry part of the continent.
May harmony and peace begin and never cease
And may the strength increase of the continent.
May American wilds he filled with His smiles
And may the natives bow to our royal King.
May Rome, France and Spain and all the world proclaim
The glory and the fame of our royal King.
God is the King, Amen,
The Lord is His name, Amen.
Loudly sing that God is the King.
May His reign be glorious, America victorious,
And may the earth acknowledge God is the King. Amen.

—William Billings, Connecticut, 1783.




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