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General Orders



Head-Quarters, Philadelphia, December 13, 1776.

The General has been informed that some weak or wicked men have maliciously reported that it is the design and wish of the officers and men in the Continental Army to burn and destroy the city of Philadelphia. To counteract such a false and scandalous report, Bethinks it necessary to inform the inhabitants who propose to remain in the city, that he has received positive orders from the honourable Continental Congress, and from his Excellency General Washington, to secure and protect the city of Philadelphia against all invaders and enemies. The General will consider every attempt to burn the city of Philadelphia as a crime of the blackest dye, and will, without ceremony, punish capitally any incendiary who shall have the hardiness and cruelty to attempt it.

The General commands all able-bodied men in the city of Philadelphia, who are not conscientiously scrupulous against bearing arms, and who have not been known heretofore to entertain such scruples, to appear in the State-House yard to-morrow morning, at ten o' clock, with their arms and accoutrements. This order must be complied with, the General being resolutely determined that no person shall remain in this city an idle spectator of the present contest who has it in his power to injure the American cause, or who may refuse to lend his aid to the support of it, persons under conscientious scruples, as before mentioned, only excepted.

All persons who have arms and accoutrements which they cannot, or do not, mean to employ in defence of America, are hereby ordered to deliver them to Mr˙ Robert Towers, who will pay for the same. Those who are convicted of secreting any arms or accoutrements will be severely punished.

ISRAEL PUTNAM, Major-General.