George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Huntington, 14 July 1780

Head Quarters Bergen County July 14th 1780


I have the honor to inform Congress that I have this moment received a letter from Major General Heath dated Providence the 11th informing that the afternoon of the 10th the French fleet arrived off Newport—that the signals of recognizance had been made and the fleet was standing in to the harbour when the express came away.

I congratulate Congress on this important event, and entreat them to press every measure in their power to put us as soon as possible in a Condition to begin the intended cooperation with vigor and efficacy.

I inclose a plan which in conjunction with the Inspector General I have framed for the consideration of Congress—It is indispensible the department should be put in full activity without loss of time—the speedier the decision the better. A large additional allowance at least nominally for the Inspectors is proposed but it is a very imperfect compensation for the additional trouble, and unless some extra privileges and emoluments attend the office it will not be undertaken by Officers of Rank and Abilities. I have the honor to be With the highest respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedt humbe servant

Go: Washington

DNA: Item 152, Letters from George Washington, PCC—Papers of the Continental Congress.


c.14 July 1780

In Congress

Establishment of the Department of the Inspectorship.

Whereas the institution of this department hath been found productive of great utility to the armies of the United States; and experience hath shown that it may be rendered still more useful by an extension of its powers and objects.

Therefore Resolved That the former establishment by a resolution of the 18th of Frebuary 1779 be repealed, and that the department hereafter have the following form, powers and privileges.

There shall be an Inspector General to the Armies of the United States with the rank of Major General, who in all future appointments, shall be taken from the line of Major Generals.

There shall be an assistant Inspector General, who shall be the adjutant General of the Main Army for the time being.

There shall be an Inspector to each Division of the Army one to the Corps of cavalry, one to the Corps of Artillery, one to the independent corps, garrisons and to the militia in service with the Continental Army, to be taken when circumstances will permit from the line of Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels.

There shall be a Sub-Inspector to each Brigade, who when circumstances will permit shall be a Major in the Brigade; besides which there shall be one to the Cavalry, another to the Artillery, and another to the independant Corps, garrisons and militia connected with the main Army—and if thought necessary by the Inspector General, approved by Congress, the Board of War, Commander in Chief, or Commander of a seperate army, one of each of these to every seperate army.

It shall be the duty of the Inspector General to frame a system of regulations for the exercise and discipline of the Troops, in the manual, evolutions and manoeuvres, for the service of Guards and detachments and for all Camp and Garrison duty, and to superintend the execution of these regulations, throughout the Army, as well in the Corps of cavalry and Artillery, as in that of Infantry; except that he is not to interfere with the interior arrangement of the Artillery, in what is peculiar to it as a distinct Corps; but only in those general rules of duty and discipline, an uniformity in which is necessary to be observed throughout the Army.

The assistant Inspector General shall assist in the general duties of the department according to the orders he shall receive from the Inspector General, and in his absance shall have the chief direction of the same—He shall nevertheless continue to have the sole charge of regulating the details of the Army—of collecting and digesting the returns, of Issuing the general orders, and shall perform all the other duties incident to his office of adjutant General as heretofore.

The Inspectors shall superintend the execution of the regulations established for the Army in their respective divisions; at all times performing the duties of adjutant General to the same, and when a detachment of more than one division is sent from the Army, the Inspector oldest in Office shall act as Adjutant General to the detachment—as shall also be the case in a seperate Army—They shall receive their instructions relative to the department from the Inspector General and assistant Inspector General.

The Sub. Inspectors shall keep rosters of the Battalions of their Brigades—regulate the details—take care of the formation and March of all Guards detachments &c. receive the general and division orders, communicate them to the commandants of Brigades and Regiments, and, through the Adjutants, to all the Officers, and in general Inspect the police of the Camp, the discipline of the Troops, and the order of the service within the Brigade. He is to receive his orders relative to the department from the Inspector General, Assistant Inspector General and Inspector of the division or detachment to which he belongs.

Agreeable to a resolution of Congress of the 12th of Jany last for annexing the Mustering department to that of the Inspectorship—The Inspector General and his assistants shall review and Muster the Troops and militia in service, at such times and in such manner, as shall be hereafter specified; at which reviews, he, or they shall inspect the number and condition of the men—their discipline and exercise, the state of their arms, accoutrements and Camp equipage—the rations they have drawn since the last review, rejecting such recruits as are unfit for the service, discharging or Transferring to the invalid corps such as by disabilities contracted in the service have become unfit for it, noting all alterations which have happened since the last review or muster, and as far as possible, in what manner; reporting them with the deficiencies, neglects and abuses to the Commander in Chief, or Commanding Officer of a detachment and to the Board of War.

There shall be a review or muster once every month, and at every Muster, three rolls shall be made out, by the Commanding Officer of each Troop, or company, sworn to and signed by him in the manner hereafter directed; one of which rolls shall be returned to him, certified by the mustering Officer—one shall be retained by the mustering Officer, and the other shall be delivered certified by him also, to the Regimental Pay Master to be affixed to the Pay rolls.

Each Brigade shall be mustered by its Sub Inspector under the Superintendency of the Inspector of the division, who shall also be responsible for the exactness and fidelity of the Musters.

The Sub Inspector shall deliver an abstract of the Brigade Musters regimentally digested to the Inspector of the division, who shall digest them into division abstracts, in the same form and transmit them to the Inspector General.

All detached Corps and militia in service shall be mustered in the same forms, by the Officers heretofore appointed for these purposes, according to the directions of the Inspector General, to whom they shall transmit their abstracts.

The Inspector to a seperate army shall receive all the abstracts of that army, deliver one copy to the Commanding Officer of the Army and transmit another to the Inspector General.

The Inspector General shall transmit once every month a copy of the abstracts of the Musters of the whole army to the Commander in Chief and an other to the Board of War.

No Commanding Officer of a Regiment shall solely muster the Regiment he commands; but another shall be appointed to do the duty, by the Inspector General, in such manner as not to interfere with the regularity of the abstracts here required.

The oldest Inspector, in a seperate Army, shall exercise the same duties in that Army, respecting the Musters, as the Inspector General in the whole Army, according to the instructions he receives from him and the orders of the Commanding Officer of such separate Army.

All the muster rolls, or Inspection Returns, shall be made out, agreeable to the forms the Inspector General shall from time to time prescribe.

The Commissary of Issues shall be obliged to deliver monthly to the Inspector General an abstract by Brigades of the rations actually Issued and an abstract of the rations Issued to the Independent and other distinct corps and to the Garrisons—All muster rolls directed to be taken shall be sworn to before the Inspector and Sub Inspector, who is hereby empowered to administer the oath, and a certificate thereof shall be given on the back of each muster roll—the oath and certificate to be in the words following—"I A. B. do swear, that the within muster roll is a true state of the company, without fraud to these United States, or to any individual, according to the best of my knowledge.


Captain or Lt Commandant

Sworn to before me this   day of   17  

The mustering Officers shall be empowered and directed to require from the Officers whose Troops are mustered, all papers and vouchers relative to the inlistment and muster.

As the duties of the Inspector General will be very numerous, laborious and important, he shall be allowed two Aides De Camp in addition to the two he is intitled to as Major General, taken from the line in the same manner and on the same terms.

The Inspectors shall keep accounts with the Officers Commanding Regiments of all the Arms and accoutrements delivered their Regiments and returned in by them; for which purpose, no arms or accoutrements shall be delivered by the Brigade conductor without an order from the Inspector of the division to whom returns for Arms and accoutrements wanted shall be made in the form directed in the Regulations for the order and discipline of the Troops of the United States.

All the Officers of the Inspectorship shall retain their rights of command and promotion, in the same manner as if they had not assumed the Office; but as the duties of this department are very extensive and demand great attention, they are to suspend the exercise of their respective commands, except when they happen to be the superior Officers in the divisions, Brigades, or regiments, to which they belong, or when they are appointed to execute any particular service, by the Commander in Chief, or Commanding Officer in a separate Army—They are to be exempted from common Camp and Garrison duties to attend more carefully to those of the Inspection; and in time of action when not in actual Command, are to be employed to assist in executing the Field manoeuvres directed by the Officers commanding the divisions and Brigades, to which they are attached.

The Inspector General, in all that relates to the Inspection, shall be subject to the orders of Congress, the Board of War and the Commander in Chief only; but the Inspector and Sub-Inspectors shall also be subject to the Officers Commanding the divisions and brigades, to which they are attached.

The Inspector General as often as circumstances will permit shall visit every part of the Army and review the Regiments himself to see that uniformity prevail throughout the Armies of the United States.

The Inspector General shall keep books in which the returns &ca passing through his office shall be registered. He shall be charged with collecting into one or more volumes all the Resolves of Congress and regulations of the Board of War relative to the Army.

To serve as an escort in his journeys and convey his orders, he shall be allowed when Circumstances will permitta Non Commissioned Officer and four Dragoons.

The travelling and other expences incident to the Office shall be defrayed by the Board of War, according to arrangements which shall be made from time to time.

He shall be furnished with a covered Waggon and four horses to convey the papers Books &ca of the Office; and the Board of War shall furnish the Books and papers or assign a sufficient fund for the purchase of them.

In consideration of the various and extensive duties of the Office, the assistant Inspector General shall receive four hundred Dollars month in addition to his pay as Adjutant General, the Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors shall be intitled to the following privileges and emoluments, the Inspectors to receive three hundred Dollars month and Sub-Inspectors Two hundred Dollars month, in addition to the pay & subsistence of their respective ranks, to commence the first of February last at which time the mustering department began to be exercised by the Officers of the Inspection.

The Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors shall be allowed three rations of provisions and forage; those attached to divisions and Brigades to receive their rations of provision & forage from the Commissaries of their respective corps; the others to receive them from the Commissaries for the Staff.

Each Inspector shall be allowed when the Circumstances of the Army will permit a Marque and a common Tent, each Sub-Inspector a horsemans and a common Tent.

For the security of their papers each Inspector and Sub-Inspector shall have a Sentinel at his Tent to be furnished by the nearest guard.

Each Inspector and Sub-Inspector shall be allowed a small covered Waggon with two horses to transport their Books papers and baggage.

All the regulations respecting the objects of this department shall be finally approved and established by Congress—But the exigency of the service requiring it, temporary ones may from time to time be introduced by the Inspector General with the approbation of the Commander in Chief and transmitted to the Board of War with all convenient dispatch, that being examined and reported by them to Congress, they may be rejected altered or amended or confirmed as Congress shall deem proper.

Plan for conducting the Inspector’s Office Read July 17. 1780 To be considered on Thursday next.

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