George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Jay, 15 March 1779

From John Jay

Philadelphia 15th March 1779


Your Excellency will receive herewith enclosed a copy of an Act of Congress of this day for the Releif of such of the Troops of the United States as are not included in the Quotas assessed on the different States.1 I have the Honor to be With the greatest Respect And Esteem your Excellency’s most Obedt Servant.

LB, DNA:PCC, item 14. This letter apparently was carried to GW by Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge (see Jay’s first letter to GW of 24 March). GW replied to this letter on 24 March.

1This act, the enclosed copy of which has not been located, was passed by Congress on this date in response to a report from the Board of War of 13 March that reads: “The corps of light Dragoons, Artillery, additional battalions, and some other corps, not having been by Congress apportioned on any particular States, to be considered as parts of their respective quotas, have generally been precluded from the benefits of the provisions made by several States for the immediate relief of their own troops. But besides the clothing and refreshments furnished at moderate prices, some States have made generous provision for the families of Officers and soldiers while in the Army, and to reward (or compensate) their services at the close of the War. These considerations do, in the opinion of the Board, require that these separate corps should be annexed to the States in which they were raised, and considered as parts of their respective quotas; or where they contain a mixture of Men belonging to or enlisted in several States, that each should be credited for their own. This will at the same time lead to a more equal distribution of the burthen of raising the troops among the several States. It will also point out the immediate patrons of those unfortunate Men not proper inhabitants of any of the States, who shall be maimed or disabled in the service, and who are entitled to half pay during life.

“The disadvantages those corps labour under have for a considerable time been a subject of complaint among them all: and therefore instead of a particular provision in the case of Col [Elisha] Sheldon’s regiment, lately referred to the Board, We beg leave to report a general resolution for the whole” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 13:316).

That resolution, which constitutes the act passed by Congress on this date, reads: “That all officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers, now belonging to the corps of light dragoons, and artillery and infantry, and the corps of artillery artificers, commissioned and inlisted since the 16 of September, 1776, for three years, or during the war, or which shall hereafter be so commissioned and inlisted, not being part of the 88 battalions originally apportioned on the states, be considered as parts of the quotas of the several states to which they did or shall respectively belong when so commissioned or inlisted. And that where it has happened or shall happen, that any non-commissioned officers or soldiers of those corps shall not have gained a settlement in any part of the United States, they shall be considered as belonging to the State in which they were or shall be enlisted, and credited accordingly as part of the quota of such State.

“That for the purpose of ascertaining the states to which the officers and soldiers now in the corps aforesaid shall be deemed to belong, the Commander in Chief be directed to cause returns to be made to him without delay, of the names of all the officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers in the said corps, and the states, counties and towns to which they belonged, or in which they were inlisted as aforesaid; which returns shall be transmitted to the Board of War, who shall send to the respective states lists of the names and ranks of all officers and soldiers to be credited to them as aforesaid. The like returns to be made afterwards, once every three months, of all officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers, who shall have entered into these corps after making the said first returns” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 13:317–18).

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