Revolutionary War orders, written in Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy, Gentleman [1781?]
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The four pages of notes written in the flyleaf of Laurence Sterne's novel, Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, contain orders from a brigade commander and from General George Washington, likely given in May 1781 at Morristown, New Jersey. Orders were typically written in regimental orderly books, but, for an unknown reason, they were instead copied into the novel. The first portion of the document contains the orders of the brigade commander, which concern the shoeing of artillery and ammunition horses, the distribution of 50 pairs of stockings, and the securing of a hogshead of rum. Below this are orders from General George Washington, which establish a "standing Rule" forbidding the impressment of horses and wagons, except by commanding officers and colonels. The document also provides for punishment of violators, including arrest and "39 Lashes whithout Ceremony of a Cour[t] mar[tial]."