Alexander Hamilton Papers
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Plan for a Legion, [5–15 July 1798]

Plan for a Legion

[July 5–15, 1798]1

To determine what is proper to be done it is necessary preliminarily to contemplate a fundamental or elementary organisation the aggregate of which constitutes the army.

This element ought to be a legion consisting of

Four Regiments of Infantry

One Squadron of Dragoons

one Batalion of Artillery

A Regiment of Infantry to consist of two Batalions each batalion of five companies (of which one a company of Grenadiers) each company of

1 Captain
2 Lieutenants
8 Sergeants
96 Rank & file

Each batalion to be commanded by a Major and a Regiment by a Colonel.

Each Regiment to have attached to it

one Troop of Dragoons

one Company of Artillery

Each batalion to have two six pounders and One Twelve pounder.

The Squadron of Dragoons of Legion composed of 4 Troops to be commanded by a Major & the batalion of Artillery composed of 4 Companies by a Major also. Every two batalions of Artillery a Regiment commanded by a Colonel. The Artillery aggregately to be commanded by a Major General. The Dragoons aggregately by a Major General.

The army will be the aggregate of these Corps with an additional quantity of Artillery men for Garrisons & the Park & with an additional number of heavy cavalry.

It is not to be understood that the Dragoons attached to the batalions are always to act with them—on the contrary they are to be combined & subdivided according to circumstances—but when a batalion a Regiment a brigade or a legion is to be detached it carries with it its appendages and the service is always performed by entire corps. So always the twelve pounders may be combined and transported from point to point as the service may require.

These corps to be thus further organized. Two Regiments with their appurtenances to form a brigade commanded by a Brigadier. The legion to constitute a division commanded by a Major General.

Two legions to constitute a grand Division commanded by a Lieutenant General.

The army itself to be commanded by a “General in Chief” or “General.”

The Army to have an Inspector General with the Rank of Major General—A Quarter Master General with the like rank—An “Intendant” without rank to to charged with the whole business of supplies—Deputies of course—The Adjutant General should be Deputy Inspector General.

It is understood that the existing establishment consists of four Regiments of Infantry2

2 Corps of Artillery & Engineers3 about 1600
2 Companies of Dragoons4

And it is probable 12 Regiments of Infantry will be added.5

On the principles of the foregoing plan These corps may be considered as forming 4 Legions & Eight brigades.

The appointments of Officers will correspond & there may be immediately a

Major General of Artillery & Qr. Master General. But the provision yet made permits only a Qr. Master General of the rank of Lieutenant Col.6

There being already One Major General7 there would remain to be appointed three more besides the Major General of Artillery.8

AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; copy, in the handwriting of Philip Church, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1H prepared this document after July 5, 1798, when the House of Representatives began to debate the resolutions which became “An Act to augment the Army of the United States, and for other purposes” and before July 16, 1798, when the act became law (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , VIII, 2088–93; 1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 604–05).

2“An Act to ascertain and fix the Military Establishment of the United States” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 483–86 [May 30, 1796]) established the strength of the Army at four regiments of infantry.

3“An Act providing for raising and organizing a Corps of Artillerists and Engineers” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 366–67 [May 9, 1794]) established the first regiment, and “An Act to provide an additional regiment of Artillerists and Engineers” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 552–53 [April 27, 1798]) established a second regiment.

4“An Act to ascertain and fix the Military Establishment of the United States” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 483–86) set the number of companies of Dragoons at two.

5This is a reference to “An Act to augment the Army of the United States, and for other purposes” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 604–05).

6This is a reference to the quartermaster general provided for by Section 7 of “An Act authorizing the President of the United States to raise a Provisional Army” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 558–61 [May 28, 1798]).

7This is a reference to the major general provided for by Section 6 of “An Act authorizing the President of the United States to raise a Provisional Army” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 558–61).

8H wrote on the cover of the copy of this document: “Plan for a Legion not well digested.”

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