4 am Arise. Washington is shaved and “dressed” by his slave Billy Lee.
Work starts before dawn in an “office,” probably with one or more aides-de-camp.
7 am Small breakfast.
Back to the office with his aides-de-camp until dinner.
3 pm A two to three hour dinner of meat & vegetables with dessert is served. Attendance is required for the aides-de-camp with one serving as the host responsible for introductions and toasts. Officers of the day are frequently invited. Provides an opportunity to discuss business and socialize with interesting or important visitors in camp including members of the Continental Congress and other government functionaries. Women may be present as wives and daughters of senior officers stop by the encampment.
This setting permits the opinions and perspectives of guests to be learned and other information gathered. The aides are expected to facilitate the conversation and to familiarize themselves on the issues and with the influential personalities. It also affords General Washington an opportunity to observe and assess his pool of officers available for ad hoc assignments, promotion, or shifting to positions better matched to their abilities or limitations.
This practice was initiated by the General from the very beginning of the Continental Army. “As the remoteness of some of the Regiments from Head Quarters [at Cambridge, MA,] renders it difficult to send invitations to the Officers; The Commander in Chief requests, that for the future, The Field Officer of the day, the Officer of his own guard, and the Adjutant of the day; consider themselves invited to dine [mid afternoon] at Head Quarters, and this general invitation, they are desired to accept accordingly“ (General Orders 6 Sept. 1775, in The Writings of George Washington edited by John Fitzpatrick).In the hectic days of September 1776 while the defense of New York City was collapsing, Lefkowitz reports this meal averaged twelve diners in the Morris mansion dining room. Washington was supported by a military secretary, three aides with rank & pay, and one unpaid volunteer aide at that point in time. One meal recorded twenty in attendance.In contrast at the Moland house during August 1777, Washington’s personal staff has expanded to a military secretary, four aides-de-camp with rank & pay (one absent due to illness), three unpaid volunteer aides, two members of the new Life Guard officially designated with the formal authority of aides-de-camp in the General Orders communicated to the Continental Army, and the Marquis de Lafayette. Three former aides-de-camp are now commanding regiments (through Washington’s auspices) encamped around the Little Neshaminy. There are five Officers of the Day. The Continental Congress and Pennsylvania provincial government are only one day’s ride down York Road in the capitol of Philadelphia. The only factor which could possibly have reduced the size of the throng gathered around the dinner table is that the decision to remain encamped is contingent day-to-day on receiving military intelligence on the location of British troops.
Probably back to work for Washington and his aides.
7:30 pm When circumstances permit, the General and his aides return to the dining room for a smallsupper. This is a modest meal of 3 to 4 light dishes, usually left-overs; with seasonal fruit and nuts, bread, and cheese.
Afterwards, Washington often relaxed with his aides, enjoying a glass of claret or Madeira wine, and snacking from a bowl of nuts.
9 pm Retire for the night.
SOURCES:John Ferling. Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, Jefferson & the American Revolution. NYC: Oxford University Press, 2009. pp171-72.John C. Fitzpatrick (ed), The Writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources Volume 3, Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library; 2-7 Feb 2009. Documents from 1775.Arthur S. Lefkowitz. George Washington’s Indispensable Men: the 32 Aides-de-Camp who helped with American Independence. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2006. pp73-76.