George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Officers in the 2d Canadian Regiment, 20 September 1780

From Officers in the 2d Canadian Regiment

Camp [Bergen County] 20th september 1780.

The Memorial of a Number of Officers in Col. Hazen’s Regiment Humbly Sheweth.

That Your memorialists at an early period of the present War, drew their swords for the protection of the Rights of their Countrymen as well as their own individual Liberty, and have never hesitated to partake of the dangers and toils of war when they pointed to the paths that lead to Military Glory.

Your memorialists labour under insupportable grievances, and have applyed to Col. Hazen to join in setting them forth in a memorial, but he Col. Hazen could not concieve that the grievances were real, and was not at liberty to join—Your memorialists therefore beg leave to call Your Excellency’s attention one moment to their very particular situation.

Your memorialists (by a Resolution of Congress) have been unfortunately excluded from the most remote prospects of promotion. The basis of all the Military virtues and the common privilege of every soldier.

The same Resolution continued the Regiment upon the original establishment, without pointing out any mode of Recruiting it,1 and the powers of raising men being deligated to the states in the Union respectively, they have passed subsequent resolutions prohibiting the additional Regiments from Recruiting a Man so that the Regiment must eventually dwindle away.

some of Your memorialists have never recieved any advantage from the Resolution of Congress that made them part of the quota of the state Troops to which they severally belonged;2 and wish to hold up the difficulty or even the impossibility of equally sharing the bounties and privileges of the state Troops either in Clothing or stores, when some of them are and probably will be continually detached from the grand-Army, besides we should not be in Uniform but the Regiment as a body would be patched with the Uniform of every state line to which we belong.

Your memorialists have suffered great inconvenience from time to time by the Regiment being upon the original establishment, in consequence of some unexplained powers which Col. Hazen arrogates to himself and have never had the emoluments arising from the Regimental staff appointments by their own choice.

Your memorialists have private reasons for deprecating the appointment of a Commissary to supply them with Clothing or stores even if the state of our public finances would render it practicable.3

Your memorialists have been richly Clothed and Comfortably supplied with Resolutions, and necessity has marked their conduct with “temperance, frugality and perseverance” but the Ignus fatuus is vanished and they are left not only without these articles that are ornamental, but even such as are absolutely necessary for Officers.4

The prayer of your memorialists is that they may either be reduced to the establishment of other Regts and attached to some state line; or that the Regiment may suffer a dissolution and the officers and Men sent to their own states; if the former should take place your memorialists must urge that something should be done for the supernumerary officers. some of those who have made the greatest sacrifices are the least fit for service, and would make much better pentioners than able officers and as the original establishment of the Regiment exists upon their account the Public will have a happy opportunity of convincing the World that they have a disposition to reward the virtuous According to their merits.5

They hope that no promotions may take place in the state lines to their prejudice and relying on your Excellency’s justice, beg your Excellency will point out a method by which their grievances may be as speedily redressed as possible6 and Your Excellency’s memorialists as in duty bound shall ever pray.

James R. Reid Major7


1Congress adopted this resolution on 24 Nov. 1778 (see 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 , 12:1159).

2Congress adopted this resolution on 15 March 1779 (see 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, and John Jay to GW, same date).

4This language drew from a congressional resolution adopted on 12 Aug. (see General Orders, 5 Sept.).

5Continental army reform did not alter congressional reponsibility for Col. Moses Hazen’s regiment (see GW to Samuel Huntington, 20 Aug., source note, and Huntington to GW, 26 Oct., n.1).

6No reply from GW to the officers has been found.

7Seven captains, three lieutenants, and an ensign also signed the document.

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