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Opinion of Brigadier-General Greene


Opinion of Brigadier-General GREENE, in answer to Queries of OCTOBER 5, 1775.

Question 1st. What number of men are sufficient for a winter' s campaign?

Answer. Twenty-five Regiments, amounting in the whole to thirteen thousand one hundred and thirty men, including Battalion officers; to be posted, nine Regiments on the right division, nine on the left, and seven in the centre. To act offensive and defensively, thirty-eight Regiments to be distributed as before mentioned.

Question 2d. Can the pay of the privates be reduced?

Answer. No. Because a sudden reduction would impede the filling the Regiments to such a degree as would possibly weaken the lines at the expiration of the old establishment. The people have not, as yet, felt the necessity of entering the service for the support of themselves and families. They will consequently refuse enlisting for a time, with the view of reducing the Congress to the necessity of raising the wages.

Question 3d. What rations should be allowed the men?

Answer. As the rations do not enter into the nature of the establishment, but are variable at the pleasure of the Commander-in-Chief, I do not think it eligible to make alteration, at this time, of the present provision.

Question 4th. What regulations are further necessary for the government of the Forces?

Answer. As to appointments, a Provost-Martial is wanted; as to martial laws, treason against the United Colonies, committed in the Army, should be clearly designated, and the punishment expressed.

Question 5th. What is the most eligible method of clothing a new-raised Army?

Answer. The clothing should be procured by the Continent, and delivered to the men at prime cost and charges; to be paid for by monthly deductions; each deduction amounting to twelve Shillings, lawful money.

Question 6th. How are the men to be paid?

Answer. I esteem monthly payments the best calculated to quiet the minds of the soldiery, who must frequently contribute to the support of their families. To this purpose, regimental abstracts should be made, signed by the Colonel or commanding officer of the Regiment, who should apply to his Excellency for a warrant to the Paymaster-General. The Colonel should deliver the money to the Captains of Companies, who will be accountable to the Colonel, who will be answerable to the Paymaster-General.

Question 7th. What sized Regiments upon the new establishment?

Answer. The Regiment should consist of five hundred


and twenty-six men, including officers; one Colonel, one Lieutenant-Colonel, and one Major; eight Companies to each Regiment; one Captain, one Lieutenant, and one Ensign; three Sergeants, three Corporals, one Drummer and one Fifer. Staff Officers: one Chaplain, one Adjutant, (being a sub,) one Quartermaster, (being a sub,) one Surgeon, and one Mate.

Question 8th. Can the best officers be retained without impeding the enlistment.

Answer. It is a matter of great delicacy, and, to accomplish it with propriety, I feel the want of military knowledge; however, I beg liberty to propose that the officers now in the service receive enlisting orders: first, to engage all that are fit and willing, now in service; then every one who shall have leave of absence by furlough, as well as the rest, be directed to engage, for the establishment, as many effective men as possible, (each Government or Colony having a certain number of Regiments assigned to it,) and, when the whole number shall be raised, his Excellency will retain such officers as he shall think best qualified, after receiving recommendations for the Field-Officers from the Brigadier-Generals, and of the Commissioned Officers from the Colonels or commanding officers of Regiments, and also from the Brigadier-Generals.

Question 9th. For how long a time should the men be engaged?

Answer. For one year, unless sooner discharged by the Continental Congress; because every contract should be fixed and certain in all its parts; for men esteem confinement, (of which the service partakes,) without any fixed period to its duration, a boundless gulf, where the fruitful imagination creates ten thousand nameless horrours. They will therefore startle at visionary ills, (supposing their enlistments during the pleasure of the Congress,) not considering that the importance of the contest should banish every private consideration which may rise in competition with the publick good.