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This is almost extinguished now, and certainly will not outlive the campaign, unless it finds something more to rest upon. This is a truth of which every spectator of the distress of the army cannot help being convinced. Those at a distance may speculate differently; but on the spot an opinion to the contrary, judging human nature on the usual scale, would be chimerical.
“ The honourable the Committee of Congress, who have seen and heard for themselves, will add their testimony to mine ; and the wisdom and justice of Congress cannot fail to give it the most serious attention. To me it will appear miraculous, if our affairs can maintain themselves much longer in their present train. If either the temper or resources of the country will not admit of an alteration, we may expect soon to be reduced to the humiliating condition of seeing the cause of America, in America, upheld by foreign arms. The generosity of our allies has a claim to all our confidence, and all our gratitude ; but it is neither for the honour of America, nor for the interest of the common cause, to leave the work entirely to them.”
After assigning his reasons for the opinion that Great Britain would continue the war, he proceeds,
“The inference from these reflections is, that we cannot count upon a speedy end to the war; and that it is the true policy of America not to content herself with temporary expedients, but to endeavour, if possible, to give consistency and validity to her measures. An essential step to this will be immediately to devise a plan and put it in execution, for
providing men in time to replace those who will leave us at the end of the year, and for subsisting and for making a reasonable allowance to the officers and soldiers.
“ The plan for this purpose ought to be of general operation, and such as will execute itself. Ex. perience has shown that a peremptory draught will be the only effectual one. If a draught for the war or for three years can be effected, it ought to be made on every account; a shorter pericd than a year is inadmissible.
" To one who has been witness to the evils brought upon us by short inlistments, the system appears to have been pernicious beyond description ; and a crowd of motives present themselves to dictate a change. It may easily be shown that all the mis . fortunes we have met with in the military line are to be attributed to this cause.
“ Had we formed a permanent army in the beginning, which, by the continuance of the same men in service, had been capable of discipline, we never should have had to retreat with a handful of men across the Delaware, in 1776, trembling for the state of America, which nothing but the infatuation of the enemy could have saved ; we should not have remained all the succeeding winter at their mercy, with sometimes scarcely a sufficient body of men to mount the ordinary guards, liable at every moment to be dissipated, if they had only thought proper to march against us ; we should not have been under the necessity of fighting at Brandywine, with an un. equal number of raw troops, and afterwards of see.
ing Philadelphia fall a prey to a victorious army; we should not have been at Valley Forge with less than half the force of the enemy, destitute of every thing, in a situation neither to resist nor to retire ; we should not have seen New York left with a handful of men, yet an overmatch for the main army of these states, while the principal part of their force was de. tached for the reduction of two of them ; we should not have found ourselves this spring so weak, as to be insulted by five thousand men, unable to protect our baggage and magazines, their security depend. ing on a good countenance, and a want of enterprise in the enemy; we should not have been the greatest part of the war inferiour to the enemy, indebted for our safety to their inactivity, enduring frequently the mortification of seeing inviting opportunities to ruin them, pass unimproved for want of a force which the country was completely able to afford; to see the country ravaged, our towns burnt, the inhabitants plundered, abused, murdered with impunity from the same cause.
“ There is every reason to believe, the war has been protracted on this account. sition being less, made the successes of the enemy greater. The fluctuation of the army kept alive their hopes; and at every period of the dissolution of a considerable part of it, they have flattered themselves with some decisive advantages. Had we kept a permanent army on foot, the enemy could have had nothing to hope for, and would, in all probability, have listened to terms long since. If the army is left in its present situation, it must continue an encouragement
to the efforts of the enemy ; if it is put in a respectable one, it must have a contrary effect, and nothing I believe will tend more to give us peace the ensuing winter. It will be an interesting winter. Many circumstances will contribute to a negotiation. An army on foot, not only for another campaign, but for many campaigns, would determine the enemy to pacifick measures, and enable us to insist upon favourable terms in forcible language. An army insignificant in numbers, dissatisfied, crumbling to picces, would be the strongest temptation they could have to try the experiment a little longer. It is an old maxim, that the surest way to make a good peace, is to be prepared for war.”
Congress having at length resolved to new model the army, determined upon the number of regiments of infantry and cavalry, which should compose their military establishment, and apportioned upon the several states their respective quotas. The states were required to raise their men for the war, and to have them in the field by the first of the next January : But provision was made, that if any state should find it impracticable to raise its quota by the first of December, this state might supply the deficiency by men engaged to serve for a pe. riod not short of one year.
This arrangement of Congress was submitted to the Commander in Chief, and his opinion desired
He in a respectful manner stated his objections to the plan. The number of men contemplated was, he conceived, too small, and he
proposed that the number of privates in each regiment
should be encreased. Instead of distinct regiments of cavalry, he recommended legionary corps, that the horse might always be supported by the infantry attached to them. He deplored the necessity of a dependence on state agency to recruit and support the army, and lamented that Congress had made provision for the deficiency of any state to procure men for the war, to be supplied by temporary draughts ; because, he conceived that the states upon the urgent requisition of Congress, would have brought their respective quotas into the field for the war; but the provision for deficiency being made, their exertions would be weak, and the alternative gener. ally embraced. He warmly recommended honourable provision for the officers.
The repeated remonstrances of General WASH. INGTON, supported by the chastisements of experi. ence finally induced Congress to lay aside their jealousy of a standing army, and to adopt a military cstablishment for the war.
The expected superiority of the French at sea failing, the residue of the campaign passed away without any remarkable event. The hostile armies merely watched each other's motions, until the inclemency of the season forced them into winter quarters. The Pennsylvania line wintered at Morristown; the Jersey line about Pompton on the confines of New York and New Jersey ; and the troops belonging to the New England States at West Point and its vicinity, on both sides of the North river. The New York line had previously been stationed at Albany, to oppose any invasion that might be made from Canada, and here it remained through the winter.