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Instructions for Recruiting Officers


Saturday, April 20, 1776.

The Congress met according, to adjournment.

The Committee to draw up Instructions and Orders for the Recruiting Officers, reported as follows:

1. They are to inlist none but able-bodied men, fit for service, capable of marching well, and such whose attachment to American liberties they have no cause to suspect. Young, hearty, robust men, whose birth, family connexions, and property, bind them to the Interest of their country, and well practised in the use of fire-arms, are much to be preferred.

2. They are as much as possible to have regard to moral character, particularly sobriety.

3. They are not to inlist any imported servant, nor, without the leave of his master, any apprentice.

4. They are to be careful in inlisting such men for Sergeants and Corporals, whose ability, activity and diligence make them fit for that appointment; they are also to appoint a Fifer and Drummer.

5. They are to exert themselves to complete their companies, and punctually to report to their Colonels.

6. That the soldiers be allowed one shilling per day each for their subsistence till they join their Regiment.

7. They are to take notice that the Colonel of their Battalion, or some Field-Officer appointed by him, are to inspect their men, and to reject such as are not fit for service.

8. They are to furnish the subaltern officers of their Companies with a copy of their instructions.

9. They are to inlist their men according to the following form, viz:

10. I have this day voluntarily inlisted myself as a soldier in the American Continental Army, and do bind myself to conform in all instances to such rules and regulations as are, or shall be, established for the government of the said Army; as witness my hand, &c,"

11. That they inlist no soldier under five feet four Inches high, able-bodied men, healthy, strong-made, and well-limbed, not deaf, or subject to fits, or ulcers on their legs, or ruptures.

12. That they pay to each soldier they shall inlist forty Shillings bounty, and three Pounds advance; and that every recruit take the following oath: "I — do swear, that I will be faithful and true to the United Colonies; that I will serve the same, to the utmost of my power, in defence of the just rights of America, against all enemies whatsoever; that I will, to the utmost of my abilities, obey the lawful commands of my superior officers, agreeable to the ordinances of the Congress, and the articles of war to which I have subscribed, and lay down my arms peaceably, when required so to do by the Continental Congress. So help me God."

The House taking the same into consideration, concurred therewith.