The Administration of the American Revolutionary Army

By Louis Clinton Hatch | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI.

SUPPLYING THE ARMY.

IF the troops were to be kept in a state of efficiency, there was need of a well-organized system of procuring supplies. An attempt to live off the country near the camp was certain to fail unless the army moved from district to district, a course which strategic considerations must often prevent. Moreover, the people were unused to military exactions, and a system of foraging would alienate them from the American cause. Accordingly, when Congress took control of the army, they provided for a quartermaster-general to superintend transportation and a commissary-general to purchase provisions. 1 Later a clothier-general was added. In the British army, though the soldiers purchased their own clothing, the government furnished many of the articles and deducted the price from the soldiers' wages. Some such arrangement quickly became necessary in the American army. In the fall of 1775 Congress ordered a committee to purchase a large quantity of clothing, and directed the quartermasters to resell it to the soldiers at prime cost and charges, plus a five per cent commission to themselves for their trouble. 2

In 1776 Congress promised to give each man enlisted for the war, a suit of clothes every year.3 The States also endeavored to purchase clothing for their troops, but they often found great difficulty in obtaining it. Assistant-Inspector Fleury, who was sent to drill Smallwood's Marylanders, informed Steuben: "Most of the recruits are unprovided with shirts, and

____________________
1
Journals of Congress, i. 121, June 16, 1775.
2
Ibid. i. 205, September 23, 1775.
3
3Ibid. ii. 4o4, October 8, 1776.

-86-

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The Administration of the American Revolutionary Army
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • HARVARD HISTORICAL STUDIES i
  • Title Page iii
  • PREFACE. v
  • Contents vii
  • Chapter 1 - FORMATION OF THE ARMY. 1
  • Chapter II - CONGRESS AND THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF. 18
  • Chapter III - APPOINTMENT AND PROMOTION. 35
  • Chapter IV - FOREIGN OFFICERS. 47
  • Chapter V - PAY AND HALF-PAY. 71
  • Chapter VI - SUPPLYING THE ARMY. 86
  • Chapter VII - MUTINIES OF 1781. 124
  • Chapter VIII - NEWBURG ADDRESSES. 142
  • Chapter IX - MUTINY OF 1783 AND DISBANDMENT OF THE ARMY. 179
  • APPENDICES. 197
  • INDEX. 217
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