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Report of the Committee


Report of the Committee appointed to go to the Camp, brought in OCTOBER, 1776, respecting the Artillery.


The following hints for the improvement of the Artillery of the United States is humbly submitted to the Committee of the honourable Congress now in camp;

That there be one or more capital Laboratories erected at a distance from the seat of war, in which shall be prepared large quantities of ordnance stores of every species and denomination.

That at the same place a sufficient number of able artificers be employed to make carriages for cannon of all sorts and sizes, ammunition wagons, tumbrels, harness, &c˙,&c.

That as contiguous as possible to this same place, a Foundry for casting brass cannon, mortars, and howitzers, be established upon a large scale.

And as officers can never act with confidence until they are masters of their profession, an academy established on a liberal plan would be


of the utmost service to the Continent, where the whole theory and practice of fortification and gunnery should be taught; to be nearly on the same plan as that at Woolwich, making allowances for the difference of circumstances, a place to which our enemies are indebted for the superiority of their Artillery to all who have opposed them.

That these and all other matters respecting the Artillery and Artillery stores be under the direction of a Board of Ordnance, whose business shall be the regulation and management of the affairs of this department, and to whom returns shall be made.

The corps of Artillery now in the service of the United States is exceedingly insufficient for the operations of an extensive service. It consists of a little more than six hundred, officers included: of these nearly one hundred are in the Northern Army, where their numbers are very unequal to the service.

His Excellency General Washington has, to supply the deficiency of this corps, drafted from the different Regiments six hundred men, and General Gates a proportionate number. This is a temporary remedy, attended with a variety of inconveniences.

There ought to be a respectable body of Artillery established, which shall be equal to all the services of the war. In proportion to every thousand men in the marching regiments there ought to be one company of Artillery of sixty men, including officers. This number will be found to be small when the various contingencies of the Artillery shall be considered. Supposing, then, the Army to consist of eighty battalions of seven hundred and twenty-six men each, which will make nearly sixty thousand, the number of Artillery requisite will be 3,360. These may be thrown into two or three battalions, as shall be thought best.

If any circumstance shall happen to render the movement of this Army necessary, one hundred covered wagons will be wanting to transport the stores, reckoning one ton and a half to each wagon and six horses.

Three hundred strong horses to draw the travelling artillery.

All the heavy artillery on garrison carriages and the heaviest stores are not included in the above estimate. Wagoners and drivers for the above; a Wagonmaster to be established for the Artillery; also a Quartermaster for the horses and wagons, whose business shall be to purchase hay, horses, &c˙, as may be wanted,

Exclusive of the artificers at the fixed laboratories, there must he an hundred, of different branches, attached to the Artillery, to repair carriages when broken, make platforms, and a thousand other matters belonging to the Artillery.

Besides the Commissary of Stores it will be necessary to have a Deputy Commissary, who shall be a capable, active man. The number of conductors and clerks to be twelve; if the service should require more, they to be added during the pleasure of the Commander-in-Chief.

The commanding officer of Artillery to have a clerk attached to him, for the purpose of collecting, arranging, and disposing the various returns of cannon and stores.

The following brass field-pieces are wanting; and, as there is a considerable quantity of copper collected, it is to be wished that the founder might be employed to cast some of them immediately, viz: 18 six-pounders, 18 three-pounders.

Henry Knox, Colonel Artillery.