George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Lord Stirling Alexander, 24 March 1780

Baskingridge March 24th 1780

Dear Sir

I duly received your Excellency’s letter of the 22d accompanied by a Extract of a letter from Govr Livingston with twelve Copies of the Act for recruiting the Number of Men therein Mentioned within this State. I immediately requested all the field Officers in Camp belonging to the three Jersey Regiments to meet General Maxwell at his Qrs in order to fix upon twelve of the most proper Officers to Carry the Law into Execution in the different Counties of this State, which they were to finish yesterday Evening. In the Mean time I drew up the enclosed Instructions, twelve Copies of which were finished and sent with the Laws to Colonel Barber who has promised me to fill up the Blanks and to see the recruiting parties sent of in the best Manner and as soon as possible. I expect they will all be off tomorrow if the weather permits. I hope your Excellency will find the Instructions as explicit as you intended. As soon as I get from Colonel Barber the Return of the Officers Names & Ranks, and the different Counties they are sent to, I will forward it to your Excellency. I have the Honor to be your Excellency’s Most Humble Servant


DLC: Papers of George Washington.


23 March 1780

For   of the   Regiment of New Jersey in the Service of the United States.

By a Law of the State of New Jersey passed at Trentown the eleventh Day of this Instant March Four Hundred able bodied and effective Volunteers are to be inlisted into the three Regiments of this State in the Service of the United States, to continue in the said Service during the present War with Great Brittain, and for the better carrying the said Law into Execution; as soon as possible officers are to be appointed and sent into the different Counties of this State for the Purpose of inlisting and forwarding such Recruits as may engage in the Service.

You are therefore by Order from the Commander in Chief appointed to proceed forthwith into the County of   in this State, and there use your best Endeavours to inlist as many able Bodied Volunteers as you can on the Terms and Conditions of the said Law, a Copy of which you have herewith for the Government of your Conduct in carrying the same into Execution.

You are further to observe that the Men you inlist, be not only able bodied and effective, but streight and well limbed, of proper Heigth, and Shape for a Soldier, not upwards of forty Years of Age, nor under eighteen (unless the Recruit should be of remarkable Strenght and growth) clear of Rupture, Unsoundness or any other Defect, fixt or habitual Disease that may render him unfit for an active Soldier and you are by no Means to enlist any Deserter from the british Army. The Men on their Arrival in Camp will be critically examined by the Inspector General or one of the Sub. Inspectors, and if any one be found defective in any one of these Points, they will be rejected notwithstanding they may have been passed by the County Muster Master appointed by the Act.

You will be furnished with an active Non commissioned officer two Privates and one Drum from the Regiment you belong to, in order to assist in this Business, and in bringing the Recruits to the Regiment whom you are from time to time to send to it as soon as you can make up a Squad of five or six of them with a Return of them to the commanding officer of the Regiment—You will take particular Care that your Party be kept in good order, and of decent friendly Behaviour to the People of the Country, and clean and well dressed as their Circumstances will admit of.

You will observe in the Law before mentioned that each Recruit is to receive a Bounty of one thousand Dollars, exclusive of the continental Bounty and Emoluments—by these last Words are to be understood the Cloathing, Land and such other Benefits, as may be hereafter allowed by Congress to Soldiers serving during the War, you will therefore be carefull to explain it to the Men you inlist that the one thousand Dollars is the whole Bounty in Money they are to expect, and you are to consider the Two Hundred Dollars Bounty allowed by the Law to the recruiting officer for each Volunteer he shall enlist agreeable to the Act as the full intended Compensation for your Trouble & Expense in this Service, however, you and your Party may draw your Rations of Provision from the County Commissary on your Certificate of their Numbers.

On your Arrival in the County of   you are to shew these Instructions to the County muster Master, and the County Pay Master, and request them to communicate the Substance of them, to the Officers of Militia, that such of them as may incline to enlist Men by Virtue of the Act may be informed of the Requisites necessary to quallify a Recruit to be received in the Regiments and that they may act uniformly with you in carrying the Law into Execution.

You are Weekly to inform me, and Genl Maxwell of your Success in this Service, with a Return of the Number you had enlisted by the last Return, the Number since and the Number sent to Camp.

You are to use your utmost Vigilance in forwarding this Service, as the Law giving this Bounty will expire on the 20th of May next, after which Day, you are with your Party and Recruits immediately to join your Regt.

You are while on this Service to use your utmost Endeavours to detect all Deserters from the continental Army and send them to Camp or to their respective Regiments, for which you will be allowed one hundred Dollars each, payable by the Pay Master of the Regiment he belongs to, and all Men on furlough who have over staid their Time, and sick absent who have recovered are to be sent into Camp as soon as possible. Given in Camp near Morris Town This twenty Third Day of March 1780



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