Mount Vernon 15th Octr 1798
By the Act “To augment the Army of the United States, & for other purposes.” Twelve Regiments of Infantry, and six Troops of Light Dragoons, are to be added to the present force—By the Establishment of them, the first will consist of 7680 Rank & File, and the 2d of 354. If four Regiments of the former, and all the latter, are to be raised in the States South of the Potomack, the quota of each State, agreeably to the Population, to the present Representation, and to a medium between the two, will be as follow.
The remoteness of Kentucky and Tennessee from the Seaboard, where it is presumed the theatre of War will be; is opposed to the raising of Dragoons in either of those States. And to avoid broken Companies of Infantry, or Troops of Dragoons in any other State, the following plan of arrangement of both Officers & Privates, conformably to the preceeding calculation & principle (as nearly as the case will admit) is suggested for consideration.
The appointment of Adjutants, Quarter Masters, Paymasters, Surgeons and Surgeons Mates; Sergeant Majors, Quarter Master Sergeants, and Senior Musicians, does not press; and of necessity must be postponed where Regiments are composed of Troops from different States until they are abt to unite.
The Corporals, Saddlers, and Farriers are included in the above Rank and file.
The Lieutenant Colonel Commandant is not assigned to any State; because it is not known from whence the most eligable character can be obtained. Another Major of Dragoons is also wanting.
If Major Talmadge would accept the command of this Corps, I know of none who is preferable. A Captn Watts of this State—an Officer of celebrity in the Revolutionary War, is very highly recommended by General Lee. as is a Captn Armstrong (now of Georgia) by the same, but what the conduct of these Gentlemen have been latterly, and what their politics now are he knows not. Perhaps the oldest Captain of Dragoons, now in Service, or both of them, may be Meritorious Officers; and entitled to consideration.1
ADS, LNT: George and Katherine Davis Collection; ADf, DLC:GW; ADS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.
1. John Watts (1752–1830) of Bedford County served as captain of dragoons during the Revolutionary War and was wounded in 1781 at Eutaw Springs. He appears on the list of Candidates for Army Appointments from Virginia, November 1798, and served as a lieutenant colonel of the dragoons of the U.S. Army from 8 Jan. 1799; see also GW to James McHenry, 5 May 1799 (second letter), n.3. James Armstrong, who in 1799 received his appointment as a major of infantry, served as a captain of dragoons during the Revolutionary War (see Anthony Wayne to GW, 20 Mar. 1790).