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the works and retired to the high lands. General Clinton erected the fort anew with superiour fortifications, and placed a respectable garrison in it, under the command of a Brigadier General.
Congress embraced this occasion, by an unanimous resolve, to thank General WASHINGTON for the wisdom, vigilance and magnanimity with which he conducted the military operations of the nation, and particularly for the enterprise upon Stony point. They also unanimously voted their thanks to General Wayne for his brave and soldierlike attack, and presented him with a gold medal emblematical of the action ; and they highly commended the coolness, discipline and persevering bravery of the officers and men in the spirited assault.
During this summer, Spain joined France in the war against England. General WASHINGTON expecting substantial aid from these powers, and unwilling to waste any part of his small force in partial actions, contented himself with the defence of the country from the depredations of the enemy, that he might be in readiness with the greatest possible numbers, to cooperate with the allies of America in an attack upon the British posts. But the fond hope of effective aid from France proved delusive ; and the expectation that the war would this season terminate, as a dream passed away.
Effectual measures were not yet adopted by Congress to establish a permanent army.
The of ficers generally remained in service, but a great proportion of the privates were annually to be recruited. By the delays of the general and state governments,
the recruits were never seasonably brought into the field. At different periods they joined the army ; and frequently men totally unacquainted with every branch of military service, were introduced in the most critical part of an active campaign.
At the close of this year, General WASHINGTON, not discouraged by all his former unavailing endeavours, once more addressed Congress on this subject, which he deemed essential to the welfare of the union. In October he forwarded to that body a minute report of the state of the army, by which it appeared, that between that time and the last of June the next year, the time of service of one half the privates would expire.
With the report he submitted a plan, by which the recruits of all the states were to be raised and brought to head quarters by the middle of January of each year, that time might be given in some measure to discipline them before the campaign opened.
“ The plan I would propose," says the General in the address, “is that each state be informed by Congress annually of the real deficiency of its troops, and called upon to make it up, or such less specifick number as Congress may think proper, by a draught. That the men draughted join the army by the first of January the succeeding year. That from the time the draughts join the army, the officers of the states from which they come, be authorised and directed to use their endeavours to inlist them for the war, under the bounties granted to the officers themselves and the recruits, by the act of the 23d of January last, viz. ten dollars to the officer for each recruit, and
two hundred to the recruits themselves. That all state, county and town bounties to draughts, if prac. ticable, be intirely abolished, on account of the uneasiness and disorders they create among the soldiery, the desertions they produce, and for other reasons which will readily occur. That on or before the first of October annually, an abstract or return similar to the present one be transmitted to Congress, to enable them to make their requisitions to each state with certainty and precision. This I would propose as a general plan to be pursued ; and I am persuaded that this or one nearly similar to it, will be found the best now in our power, as it will be attended with least expense to the publick, will place the service on the footing of order and certainty, and will be the only one that can advance the general interest
to any great extent.”
This judicious plan was never carried into effect. Congress did not make the requisition until February, and the states were not called upon to bring their recruits into the field before the first of April. Thirteen foreign states exercising their respective independent authorities to form a federal army, were al. ways tardy in time and deficient in the number of men.
On the approach of the inclement season, the army again built themselves huts for winter quarters, Positions were chosen the most favourable for the defence of the American posts, and for covering the country. The army was formed into two divisions. One of these erected huts near West Point, and the other at Morristown in New Jersey. The head
quarters of the Commander in Chief were with the last division.
Great distress was felt this winter on account of the deranged state of the American finances. Gen. eral Green and Colonel Wadsworth, gentlemen in every respect qualified for the duties of their
respective stations, were yet at the head of the Quarter Master and Commissary departments, but the credit of the country was fallen, they had not the means to make prompt payment for articles of supply; and they found it impossible to lay up large magazines of provisions, and extremely difficult to obtain supplies to satisfy the temporary wants of the army.
The evil was increased by a new arrangement introduced by Congress into the Commissary department. A fixed salary in the depreciated currency of the country was given to the Commissary Gener. al, and he was authorised to appoint a certain num. ber of deputies, whose stipends were also established, and no emolument of office was allowed. Deputies competent to the business could not be obtained upon the terms established by Congress, confusion and derangement ensued through the whole department, and in consequence Colonel Wadsworth was constrained to resign his office.
Before the month of January expired, the sol." diers were put upon allowance, and before its close, the whole stock of provision in store was exhausted, and there was neither meat nor flour to be distribut. ed to the troops. To prevent the dissolution of the army, the Commander in Chief was reluctantly driven to very vigorous measures. He apportioned upon
each county in the state of New Jersey a quantity of meat and flour, according to the ability of each, to be brought into camp in the course of six days. At the same time he wrote to the magistrates, stating the absolute necessity of the measure, and informing them, that unless the inhabitants voluntarily complied with the requisition, the exigency of the case would force him to obtain it by military exaction.
To the honour of the inhabitants of New Jersey, harassed as their country had been, the full quantity of provision required was cheerfully and seasonably afforded.
To Congress General WASHINGTON expressed his sense of the heroic patience, with which the troops bore the privations of clothing and provisions through this winter of unusual severity. The ex. tent of these privations will be seen in an extract of a letter written by the Commander in Chief to his friend General Schuyler.
“ Since the date of my last we have had the virtue and patience of the army put to the severest trial. Sometimes it has been five or six days together without bread; at other times, as many days without meat; and once or twice, two or three days, with. out either. I hardly thought it possible at one period, that we should be able to keep it together, nor could it have been done, but for the exertions of the magistrates in the several counties of this State, on whom I was obliged to call, expose our situation to them, and in plain terms declare that we were reduced to the alternative of disbanding or catering