The Administration of the American Revolutionary Army

By Louis Clinton Hatch | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX.
MUTINY OF 1783 AND DISBANDMENT OF THE ARMY.

A PRELIMINARY treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain was concluded at Versailles, January 23, 1783; the news reached Philadelphia March 23, but Congress took no action until they received an official notification from the American envoys. They then, on April 11, issued orders for a cessation of hostilities, but gave no directions concerning the discharge of the men enlisted for the war. The soldiers, however, had become suspicious that Congress was planning to detain them after the expiration of their enlistments; and Washington feared that they would not distinguish between a cessation of hostilities and a definitive peace, and would become still more discontented. For this reason he thought of suppressing the resolution of Congress; but all the generals advised against such a course, and he directed that the cessation of hostilities be solemnly proclaimed on the following day, April 19.1 In his order he warmly thanked and praised the " patriot army," and reminded them that nothing now remained "but for the actors of this mighty scene to preserve a perfect unvarying consistency of character through the very last act, to close the drama with applause, and to retire from the military theatre with the same approbation of angels and men, which has crowned all their former virtuous actions."2

At the same time Washington wrote to Congress, begging them to decide what should be done with the soldiers enlisted

____________________
1
There was a delay of one day, so that the conclusion of the war might be announced exactly eight years after it had begun.
2
April 18, 1783, Washington, Writings ( Sparks), viii. 568.

-179-

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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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