George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Alexander McDougall, 15 June 1776

From Colonel Alexander McDougall

New York June 15th 1776


All the necessaries for Soldiers Cloathing, are so very high and the Pay of the middle department so much below the Eastern Establishment, that my Soldiers are kept bare of necessary Cloathing and other Articles; a Common Soldiers Shirt Costing from 17/ to 20/ Currency, which is half a Months pay. The most of the Levies made in great Cities are generally induced to enter the Service from the sole Consideration of Pay; they are therefore uneasy when it is not punctually paid, and often insolent, which provokes to Correction, and this to Desertion, at this Crisis very injurious to the Service and public Safety. There is now one Month and a half pay due to my Regiment. For these Reasons I pray the General would Order the Regiment to be paid to the first Current, which would advance the Service and give Ease and Peace to the Officers.1 I would on this and other Occasions have made a personal application to the General; but judged this mode would be more agreeable to you, as it Causes no interruption of business of more Moment; and you could Choose your time to determine on the Subject. These Reasons I hope will apologize for this, and the other Letters I have taken the Liberty to write you on public Business. I have applied to the Convention to know whether I am to continue to recruit any Company of my Regiment which may become incomplete by death or desertion. But they would not decide upon it, and desired me to take the Generals direction; which I beg to befavoured with.2 I have the Honor to be Your Excellencys very humble servant

Alexr McDougall


1GW issued a warrant for $3,513 ¾ on 13 July to pay McDougall’s New York regiment to the end of May (warrant book no. 1, 10 Sept. 1775–12 Aug. 1776, DLC:GW, ser. 5, vol. 17). For the Continental Congress’s resolution equalizing the pay for troops in the middle and eastern departments, see General Orders, 16 June 1776.

2McDougall, who had been appointed colonel of the new 1st New York Regiment by the Continental Congress on 8 Mar. 1776, reported to the New York provincial congress on 13 June about the recruiting of his regiment (N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:492). No written instructions from GW on the question posed by McDougall have been found. For the terms on which McDougall recruited the companies for his regiment, see his letter to GW of 26 July.

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