George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin, Baron [von] Steuben, 6 April 1780

Philadelphia 6th Apr. 1780

My Dear General

I had the pleasure of receiving your favor of the 2nd Instant yesterday.

The necessity there was of having something done for the additional Regiments induced me to write the Board of War a Letter, copy of which I now inclose your Excellency, pressing their immediate attention to those Corps but tho’ some days have since passed, & the necessity of coming to an immediate decision in this affair is acknowledged, yet thro’ the absence of Mr Livingston & Mr Pickering no Report has yet been made to Congress.

Under such circumstances of Delay there appeared to me but one way of having any thing done for the Army in any Season, this was the appointment of a Committee with full powers in concert with your Excellency to make every Arrangement necessary for next Campaign to determine the formation, & every other thing necessary to be done for the additional Corps, as well Cavalry as Infantry, to devise the means of putting the Officers on a footing with the other parts of the Army & in Part to do every thing necessary to be done to put the Army in a proper Condition for the ensuing Campaign.

This proposition has been debated in Congress these two days, yesterday Mr Lovell gave me hopes it would take place & I have since been informed a Committee is actually named to draw up the Instructions necessary for the Committee before mentioned. So soon as I hear the Members are actually named I shall lose no time in putting my self more immediately under your Excellencys Orders.

From every observation I have made I cannot perceive that the state of Pensilvania have taken the least Step towards recruiting their Regiments for next Campaign, what this delay can be owing to I can’t Say but Should immagine a Hint from your Excellency to the President might have some Effect. I am with every Sentiment of esteem & respect Dear General Your Excellencys most Obedt & very hum. Servant


DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Philada 29 March 1780


I observe that Congress have by a Resolution of the 25th Inst. deferred the Consideration of any new Arrangement of the Army, till the 1st of December next; the Regiments in the Line of the different states will therefore remain on their present footing, being compleated, more or less, by their respective States, but what is to be done with the several Additional Regiments & Corps, remain yet to be decided, These Regiments being in general too much reduced to remain on their present Footing, & the only means of Completing them by recruiting being at this Time impracticable, I would propose that power be given to Genl Washington to draw together such of those Corps as are not to the southward, & by incorporating the Regiments, or otherwise, as he may judge proper to form them in such a manner as may appear to him most Conducive to the public service, I would, by no means be understood to incorporate them into the Regiments of the different states, On the Contrary, I am of opinion, such a manner would have a Very bad Effect, Especially at this Juncture, as the greatest part of the Officers must in that Case be disbanded. I cannot help taking this Opportunity to represent to the Board, that a general Dissatisfaction prevails in the Corps on Acct of the disadvantages they have hitherto laboured under, compared with the Troops of the Several States, for tho’, by a Resolution of Congress, the Several States have Credit for the Men Serving with these Corps, Yet they have never received any Benefit from that Resolve, Either in receiving recruits or Supplies of any Nature whatsoever—The only means to remedy this, is in my Opinion, to appoint a Commissary to supply them with Cloathing & such other Articles as are furnished by the different states to their Troops, the extra prices of which Should be charged to the several states who have credit for the Men, as part of their Quota in the Field.

The supplies furnished the Canadians & others belonging to no particular state, to be Charged to the Continent.

Some means should also be found for Supplying the Artillery, Cavalry, & others who are in the Same disadvantageous Situation.

With respect to the keeping up the Additional Regiments, the only means that Occur is to give them Liberty & furnish them with Money to recruit; the Promotion of the Officers should take place in that Line, in the same manner as in the Lines of the different states.

The little time We have before the opening of the Campaign, will no doubt induce the Hon. Board to lay these matters before Congress as soon as possible—I am &c.

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