George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Huntington, 4 October 1780

Philadelphia October 4. 1780


Your Excellncy will receive herewith enclosed the Copy of an Act of Congress of the 3. Instant, containing a new Arrangement of the Army.

You will please to observe, that, if in your Opinion there shall appear no material Objection to this Plan of Arrangement, it is the Pleasure of Congress that the same be carried into immediate Effect.

Congress are extremely anxious, not only to avoid the Embarrassments heretofore experienced, by Delays in recruiting the Army until the Opening of the Campaign; but to establish a permanent Army, of Troops engaged for the War, to consist of such Numbers as may probably be adequate to the Service; and at the same Time not exceed the Ability of the States to raise, recruit and constantly maintain, fit for Service. To accomplish this desirable Purpose, it is but too obvious, that every practicable Retrenchment of Expences, and the greatest Oeconomy is indispensably necessary.

Under these Considerations, having but a Choice of Difficulties, Congress have adopted the Plan enclosed, as subject to the least Objections of any that could be devised.

Should your Excellency’s Opinion coincide therewith, the Returns of Deficiencies in each State may be laid before their respective Assemblies; most of which meet before the End of this Month, which may enable them to facilitate the recruiting Service in proper Season, to comply with the Intentions of Congress. I have the Honor to be with the highest Respect your Excellency’s most obedient humble servant

Sam. Huntington President

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


In Congress Octr 3rd 1780

Congress took into consideration the report of the committee on the letters from genl Washington, and thereupon came to the following resolutions.

Resolved, That such of the sixteen additional regiments as have not been annexed to the line of some particular State and all the seperate light corps of the army both of the horse & foot, and also the german battalion be reduced on the first day of Jany next: that the noncommissioned officers and privates in those several corps be incorporated with the troops of their respective States and that such of them as do not belong to any particular State be annexed to such corps as the commander in chief shall direct.

That the regular army of the United States from & after the first day of January next consist of

4 regiments of cavalry or light dragoons

4 regiments of artillery

49 regiments of infantry exclusive of Colo. Hazen’s regiment hereafter mentioned

1 regiment of artificers

That each regiment of cavalry or light dragoons consist of six troops and that each troop consist of 64 non commissioned officers & privates with the same number of commissioned officers as at present.

That each regiment of artillery consist of nine companies and that each company consist of 65 non commissioned off[icers] & matrosses with the same number of commissioned officers as at present.

That each regiment of infantry consist of nine companies and each company of 64 non commissioned officers & privates.

& That the regiment of artificers consist of eight companies & each company of 60 non commissioned officers & privates.

That the several States furnish the following quotas, viz.

New Hampshire 2 regiments of Infantry.
Massachusetts Bay 10 regiments of infantry &
one of artillery.
Rhode island &c. 1 regiment of infantry
Connecticut 5 regiments of infantry & one
of cavalry.
New York 2 regiments of infantry & one
of artillery
New Jersey 2 regiments of infantry.
Pensylvania 6 regiments of infantry one
of artillery one of cavalry
and one of artificers—
Delaware 1 regiments of infantry
Maryland 5 regiments of infantry
Virginia 8 regiments of infantry one
of artillery two of cavalry
North Carolina 4 regiments of infantry
South Carolina 2 regiments of infantry
Georgia 1 regiment of infantry

That the States select from the line of the army a proper number of officers to command the several regiments to them respectively assigned, taking notice that no new appointment is to be made of a higher rank than that of Lieutt Colo. Commandant.

That the States be and they hereby are called upon in the most pressing manner to have their regiments compleated and in the field by the first day of January next [at furthest].

That it be recommended to the States to fill up their respective regiments by inlistments for and during the war but in case the full quota of any of the States cannot be compleated with such recruits by the first day of December next that it be recommended to such State or States to supply the deficiency with men engaged to serve for not less than one year unless sooner releived by recruits inlisted for the war which they are requested to exert their utmost endeavours to obtain as speedily as possible and in order thereto it is farther recommended that the officers at camp be empowered & directed to use every prudent measure & improve every favorable opportunity to inlist for the continuance of the war such of the men belonging to their respective States as are not engaged for that period whether now in the field or hereafter from time to time joining the army and that a recruiting officer from each corps be kept in the State to which the regiments respectively belong to inlist recruits for the war as well to releive those who are engaged for a shorter or limited term as to supply casual deficiencies.

That two dollars be granted to the recruiting officer for every able bodied soldier he shall inlist for the war who shall join the army & that a sum not exceeding fifty dollars be allowed as a bounty to every such recruit.

That the commander in chief be & hereby is directed to cause returns to be made as speedily as possible to the several States of the number of men they will probably have in the field on the first day of January next that the States may take immediate measures for compleating their respective quotas as above recommended by that time.

That the commander in chief be & he is hereby directed to make a return annually to Congress on or before the first day of Septr of the number of troops from each State in order that Congress may be enabled to make their requisitions from the several States with certainty & in season.

That the cloathing be furnished & regularly served out to the troops as it becomes due and that a full compensation be made for any arrearages of cloathing.

That the regiments of cavalry & artillery and of artificers as they now stand be considered as belonging to the States respectively to which they are or may be assigned which States shall compleat them to the full complements supply them with necessaries and in every respect treat them as if originally raised therein: and that such other States as now have noncommissioned officers or privates in any of the regiments aforesaid be credited in their quotas for such men according to their numbers from time to time for which purpose the commander in chief is hereby directed to specify such non commissioned officers & privates & the States to which they formerly belonged in the returns which he shall make to the States and in his annual return to Congress.

That the regiment commanded by Colo. Hazen be continued in its present establishment & that all non commissioned officers & privates being foreigners belonging to any of the reduced regiments & corps be incorporated therein and all volunteers from foreign States who are now in the service or may hereafter join the American army be annexed to the said regiment.

And whereas by the aforegoing arrangement many deserving officers must become supernumerary and it[s] proper that regard be had to them.

Resolved That from the time the reform of the army takes place they be entitled to half pay for seven years in specie or other current money equivalent and also to [grant] of land at the close of the war agreeably to the resolution of the 16th Septr 1776.


That a copy of the aforegoing arrangements of the army be sent forward to the commander in chief for his opinion thereon and that if there shall appear no material objection the same to carried into immediate effect.

Extract from the minutes

Chas Thomson Secy

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