Jersey huts Jan’y 31st 1783
When I was last at head quarters, I intended to have spoken to your Excellency on the subject of the expected reduction of the Jersey regements, but having neglected that opportunity, I take the liberty of conveying my ideas in writing.
Should a reduction of the line be unavoidable on the first of March next, as the legeslature of New Jersey have taken no effectual measures to recruit a certain number of men, I beg leave to propose the following formation.
First—That the regement consist of no more than 500 rank & file including one half the number of those troops in other corps, for which the State receive credit.
Second That the remainder of the troops, which will be about 300 rank & file, be formed into a Battalion of six companies, commanded by a Lieut. Colonel Com[r] & Major together with the established number of company officers. The Adjutant, Qr master & Pay master to be taken from the company officers.
An argument that pleads greatly in favor of retaining six companies, altho they may not be equal with the establishment, is this. There are not less than 5 or 600 deserters from the line, in different parts of the State of New Jersey, a considerable number of which may be recovered by proper exertions. If one commissioned & one non commissioned officer of each of the companies be sent into the several counties of the State for the purpose of recruiting, as well as apprehending deserters, I am well persuaded, a sufficient number of recruits could be obtained & deserters apprehended to complete the six companies against the first of June or July next, very nearly if not quite to the establishment.
I would however, but with perfect submission, beg leave to quere if it would not be most consistant with sound policy, to suspend the reduction until the first of June next. Probably against that time, Congriss may be enabled to determine with some degree of accuracy, whether a reduction or an increase of regements be most expedient; if an increase; the legislature of the State will be then siting, who possibly may comply with a requisition for that purpose. I am sir, with perfect respect & esteem your Excellency’s very humble servant
F. Barber Lt Col.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.