Category Archives: Continental Army

Item of the Day: Appendix to the Canada Papers (c.1779)

Full Title: Appendix to the Canada Papers, Relating principally to the Convention Army after its Arrival in the Neighbourhood of Boston, in the Years 1777 and 1778. [Caption Title]

Philadelphia, 8th Nov. 1777.

Dear Sir,

By Lieutenant Vellancy, who arrived here on the 31st of October with your dispatches from Albany, I received with infinite concern the particular account of your misfortune.

The loss of your services with the services of General Phillips in this country, I exceedingly regret, and since the fortune of war has thrown you both out of that line, I shall request the Admiral to send a frigate for you, and necessary transports for the conveyance of the troops, as soon as they can be got ready and victualled: but as there is little prospect of light transports being able to get round to Boston at this late season of the year, it is thought most adviseable to send them with the frigate to Rhode Island, from whence you will be advised of their arrival, and I hope, on the above consideration, you will get permission to embark from Newport or some convenient port in the sound; otherwise it will be impossible for the troops to be embarked before the spring.

With the most perfect respect,

I have the honour to be,

Dear Sir,

Your most obedient

And most humble servant,

W. Howe.

Lieut. Gen. Burgoyne, at Boston.

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Philadelphia, 14th November, 1777.

SIR,

The season of the year not permitting the transports to proceed to Boston, they are dispatched to Rhode Island, at which place I flatter myself you will obtain permission to embark with your troops, as the spirit of the Convention will not be infringed in the smallest degree by their embarking at that port instead of Boston; and under these circumstances I am hopeful you will readily prevail in your application. But should it be refused, I can by no means object to your returning to Europe, leaving your troops under the direction of Major General Phillips, with orders for the foreign troops to prceed from thence to Plymouth, and the British to Portsmouth in Great Britain, with all convenient dispatch after the arrival of the transports. And if you should not obtain permission to go to Rhode Island, where you will find a frigate to receive you, by sending a letter to Sir Peter Parker, commanding his Majesty’s ships at that place, the frigate will be sent round to Boston.

With the most perfect respect,

I have the hnour to be,

SIR,

Your most obedient servant,

W. Howe.

Lieut. Gen. Burgoyne, at Boston.

_________________

State of Massachuset’s Bay.

Head Quarters, Boston, Nov. 8th, 1777.

Major General Heath commanding the Eastern department being disposed to treat Lieutenant General Burgoyne and his officers with politeness and generosity, and the soldiery with humanity and care, expects the utmost attention of General Burgoyne and his officers to cultivate and observe strict order and discipline among the British and Foreign troops, especially in the following particulars, which are laid down as standing orders, viz.

1st, That if any officer shall exceed the limits of his parole, it being a forfeiture of his honour, he is to be immediately confined within the limits assigned for private men, or if the General shall think proper, on board the guardship.

2d, All officers under the rank of Field Officers are to repair to their quarters, and not to absent them after nine o’clock in the evening.

3rd, As the legislature of this State, in order to accommodate the Officers and to prevent imposition, have appointed commissaries to supply the officers and soldiers with various sorts of provisions brought to Boston market, which are to be sold to them at the same prices as were given for them, and care has been also taken that the officers should be supplied with liquors at the market price, until they can be procured by themselves from the town of Newport on the island of Rhode Island, or such other place as may be fixed upon for that purpose; no officer or soldier is to purchase any article whatever either by himself or others, except of the commissaries and grand sutler, who are appointed as aforesaid. But in case the Council or General Assembly shall think proper to discontinue the supplying the officers and soldiers in the manner above-mentioned, or shall think fit to make any alterations in the mode of supplying them, this article to be void as far as their order may extend.

4th, The officers will carefully avoid disputes with and every kind of insult or abuse to the inhabitants; should they receive any they are to enter regular complaints.

5th, The servants belonging to the officers who are on parole are not to stroll from their master’s quarters; they may be sent to the commissaries or to the grand sutler, or ride to wait on their masters when they shall think proper to ride out, if they shall be found otherwise, they will be taken up and confined.

J. Keith, D.A.G.

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Filed under 1770's, American Revolution, Canada, Continental Army, Massachusetts, Military, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: In the House of Representatives, April 11, 1776

In the House of Representatives, April 11, 1776. [Massachusetts]

 RESOLVED, That the following Officers and Seamen be appointed for each of the Vessels now building by this Colony and the Pay per Month allowed them, agreeable to the Sums affixed viz.

Captain, Eight Pounds,

Lieutenant, Five Pounds eight Shillings,

Second-Lieutenant, Five Pounds,

Master, Four Pounds,

Mate, Three Pounds,

Boatswain, Three Pounds,

Boatswain’s Mate, Two Pounds four Shillings,

Steward, Two Pound eight Shillings,

Gunner, Two Pounds eight Shillings,

Gunner’s Mate, Two Pounds four Shillings,

Carpenter, Three Pounds,

Carpenter’s Mate, Two Pounds four Shillings,

Surgeon, Seven Pounds,

Surgeon’s Mate, Four Pounds,

Quarter-Master, and Master at Arms, Two Pounds ten Shillings,

Pilot, Two Pounds eighteen Shillings,

Cook, Two Pounds four Shillings,

Drummer, Two Pounds, four Shillings,

Sixteen Boys, at tweny Shillings each,

Eighty Seamen and Marines, at forty Shillings each.

All of which Officers, Seamen and Marines, shall furnish themselves with a good effective Fire-Arm, cartouch-Box, Cutlass, and Blanket.

And be it further Resolved, That the Captains be appointed as soon as may be; which Captains, when chosen, shall return a List of Persons suitable for the other Officers, and shall proceed to inlist the Number of Seamen, Marines and Boys proposed. And for further Encouragement to said Officers, Seamen and Marines; –It is Resolved, That they shall be entitled to one Third Part of the Proceeds of all Captures that shall be by them made, and finally condemned, to be distributed in such a Manner as this Court shall hereafter determine. And the said Vessels shall be armed and mounted with at least twelve Carriage Guns, all of one Size, viz. Six Pounders and with a proper Number of Swivels and Cohorns: And the honorable Council are hereby desired to commission them to cruise against all British Property, agreeable to the late Resolves of the honorable Continental Congress.

Resolved, That for further Encouragement to Seamen to inlist into the Colony Sea-Service, one Month’s advance Wages be paid to the said Seamen, at the Time of their passing Muster; and also that their Wages be paid at the End of every three Months, or as soon afterwards as they shall arrive in some Port of this Colony.

Resolved, That the Officers of said Vessels be, and hereby are allowed to inlist Men out of the Companies raised for the Defence of the Sea-Coasts; and the Officers of said Companies are hereby directed to permit any of their Men to inlist into the Colony and Continental Sea-Service only, and to inlist others to suppply Vacancies occasioned thereby, as soon as may be.

Resolved, That the Committee appointed to build and fix out Armed Vessels, or any one of them, muster the Men raised for the Armed Vessels of this Colony, and pay them their advanced Wages, and receive out of the Treasury, a Sum agreeable to an Abstract to be returned for that Purpose.

Resolved, That such Men as shall be inlisted for the Sea-Service of this Colony, and are not able to furnish themselves with Arms, agreeable to a former Resolve of this Court, be furnished with the same by this Colony; and that twelve Shillings be deducted from the Wages of each Man so furnished.

Resolved, That the Uniform of the Officers be Green and White, and that they furnish themselves accordingly; and the Colours be a white Flag, with a green Pine Tree, and an Inscription, “APPEAL TO HEAVEN.”

Resolved, That the Commanders of said Vessels receive their Orders and Instructions from a Committee hereafter to be appointed by this Court, and to be conducted as secretly as possible.

Resolved, That the Rations or Provisions allowed to the Officers, be the same as is or shall be allowed to the Officers of the same Rank in the Continental Service.

Resolved, That the Committee to be appointed as aforesaid, furnish each of the Commanders of the Armed Vessels of this Colony, with Instructions to regulate their Conduct, agreeable to the Resolves of this Court.

Resolved, That one Third Part of the Monies (after the Charges of Condemnation are paid) arising from the Captures that may be made by any of the Armed Vessels fitted out on Account of this Colony, and shall be finally condemens in any Court of Justice erected for the Trial and Condemnation of such Captures, shall be distributed among the Officers, Seamen and Marines, . . .

Sent up for Concurrence.

JAMES WARREN, Speaker,

In Council April 27, 1776.

Read and concurr’d.

PEREZ MORTON, Dep. Sec’ry.

Consented to,

JAMES OTIS

WILLIAM SEVER

BENJAMIN GREENLEAF

WALTER SPOONER

CALEB CUSHING

BENJAMIN CHADBOURN

JOHN WHETCOMB

JAMES PRESCOTT

ELDAD TAYLOR

MICHAEL FARLEY

JOSEPH PALMER

SAMUEL HOLTEN

BENJAMIN WHITE

MOSES GILL

JEDEDIAH FOSTER

A true Copy. Attes. PEREZ MORTON, De. Sec”ry.

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Filed under 1770's, American Revolution, Continental Army, History, Massachusetts, Military, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Privateers

Item of the Day: New Travels through North-America (1784)

Full Title: New Travels through North-America: In a Series of Letters; Exhibiting the History of the Victorious Campaign of the Allied Armies, under His Excellency General George Washington and the Count de Rochambeau, in the Year 1781. Interspersed with political and philosophical Observations, upon the genius, temper, and customs of the Americans: Also, Narrations of the capture of General Burgoyne, and Lord Cornwallis, with their Armies; and a variety of interesting particulars, which occurred in the course of the War in America. Translated from the Original of the Abbe Robin: One of the Chaplains to the French Army in America. Boston: Printed by E. E. Powars and N. Willis, for F. Battelle, and to be sold by him, at his Book Store, State-Stree, M,DCC,LXXXIV.

[Excerpted from Letter III.]

Camp, at Philipsbourg, August 4, 1781.

. . . Such are the ideas that arise in the mind, at the sight of this great man [George Washington], in examining the events in which he has had a share, or in listening to those whose duty obliges them to be near his person, and consequently can best display his true character. —In all these extensive states, they consider him in the light of a beneficent God, dispensing peace and happiness around him. —Old men, women and children, press about him when he accidentally passes along, and think themselves happy, once in their lives, to have seen him–they follow him through the towns with torches, and celebrate his arrival by public illuminations. —The Americans, that cool and sedate people, who in the midst of their most trying difficulties, have attended only to the directions and impulses of plain method and common reason, are roused, animated and inflamed at the very mention of his name; and the first songs that sentiment or gratitude has dictated, have been to celebrate General Washington.

It is uncertain how many men his army consists of exactly: some say, only four or five thousand, but this General has always found means to conceal the real number, even from those who compose it.  Sometimes with a few troops he forms a spacious camp, and increases the number of tents; at other times with a great number, he contracts it to a narrow compass; then again by detaching them insensibly, the whole camp is nothing more than the mere skeleton and shadow of an army, while the main body is transported to a distant part of the country.

Neither do these troops in general wear regular uniforms; but the officers and corps of artillery are obliged, without exception, to such distinction. Several regiments have small white frocks, with fringes, which look well enough; also linen over-alls, large and full, which are very convenient in hot weather, and do not at all hinder the free use of the limbs in marching: with food less substantial, and a constitution of body less vigorous than our people, they are better able to support fatique, and perhaps for that very reason. This advantage in dress, I believe, has not been sufficiently considered in France. We are apt to consult the gratification of the eye too far, and forget the troops were designed to act, and not merely to show themselves and their finery. The most proper apparel would be that, which being as little burdensome as possible, would cover the soldier best, and incommode him the least. The regiment of Soissonnais has in all this tedious march, had the fewest stragglers and sick of any other; –one of the principal causes was, without doubt, the precautionof the Colonel, who, on purpose for the campaign, had linen breeches made for his whole regiment.

The American military habit, although easy to be soiled, is nevertheless very decent and neat; this neatness is particularly observable among the officers: to see them, you would suppose they were equipped with every necessary in the compleatest manner, and yet upon entering their tents, where perhaps three or four reside together, I have often been astonished to find, that their whole travelling equipage and furniture would not weigh forty pounds; few or none have matrasses; a single rug or blanket, stretched out upon the rough bark of a tree, serves them for a bed; the soldeirs take the same precaution never to sleep on the ground, whilst ours prefer it to any other way.

Their manner of living is very simple, and gives them but little trouble; they content themselves with boiling their meat, and parching their corn, or baking unleavened dough, made of Indian meal, upon the hot embers.

In some regiemnts they have negro companies, but always commanded by the whites. . . .

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Filed under 1780's, American Revolution, Continental Army, Military, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Washington