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General Washington to General Ward and Other General Officers




Head-Quarters, Cambridge, October 5, 1775.

SIR: In a letter from the Congress, dated September 26th, information on the following points is required:

What number of men are sufficient for a winter' s campaign?

Can the pay of the privates be reduced? How much?

What rations should be allowed the men?

And what regulations are further necessary for the government of the Forces?

To the above queries of the Congress I have to add several of my own, which I also request your opinion upon, viz:

For how long a time ought the men in the present Army (should we set about enlisting them) be engaged?

What method would you recommend, as most eligible, to clothe a new-raised Army with a degree of decency and regularity? Would you advise it to be done by the Continent? In that case, would you lower the men' s wages, and make no deduction for clothing, or let it stand, and make stoppages? And how much a month?

As there appears to be great irregularity in the manner of paying the men, and much discontent has prevailed on this account, in what manner and at what fixed periods would you advise it to be done, under a new establishment?

What sized Regiments would you recommend under this establish merit; that is, how many men to a Company, how many Companies to a Regiment, and how officered?

Is there any method by which the best of the present officers in this Army can be chosen, without impeding the enlistment of the men by such choice and preference? Under any complete establishment, even if all the privates in the Army were engaged again, many of the present officers must be discharged, as there is an over proportion; of course we ought to retain the best.

Your close attention to the foregoing points, against Monday, ten o' clock, at which time I shall expect to see you at this place, will much oblige, Sir, your most obliged humble servant,